Navigating Cultural Diversity

Personal Testimony, MY Experience As I walked across the campus during my time at Asbury Theological Seminary, several students kept asking me, “What happened to your head?” They were looking at my scarification. Some of my friends saw my scar as funny or they said, “I am so sorry for your accident on your head.” I said, “Dude, this is not an accident, it is my cultural norm.”The Problem- devaluing a person through devaluing their culture is dehumanizingThey asked me again: “Would you please tell us what happened and why?” I would tell them that it is my pleasure to talk about this; that it blessed me to discuss it. I would say that far from being an accident, this is a cultural norm among the Dinka tribes of South Sudan.The Need - Understanding through Conversation: Meeting people within their own cultureJesus meets people within their own culture, He does not devalue people because of their culture, rather He illuminates their value through their culture. We all must be aware of cultural differences when we speak to others. It's all to easy to force our cultural norms on others, and to question them for being different than our idea of normal. Why Did I Write a Book?My classmates' confusion about scarification and my culture caused me much anguish. My book is the solution. The Lost is Found: A "Lost Boy's" Story of Faith, Hope, Charity, and Love tells my story of becoming a "Lost Boy," when Muslim militias raided my village in what was then Sudan in 1987, when I was 7 years old. It details my years of running for my life, living in refugee camps, before being brought to the US in 2001. It describes a great deal about my life in Sudan and answers the questions about this lesser known culture. It tells a great deal about Dinka society, including marriage customs, the scarification rite of passage, and describes the rituals in detail. Great news! Jacob’s book, The Lost is Found, is now available in print and eBook format. All proceeds from his book go towards funding his mission to his own people, South Sudanese refugees, especially orphan children, in Uganda.EBooks are available from Amazon, as are print copies. However, if you make a gift of $50 to Africa Sunrise Communities, you will receive an autographed copy. Special thanks to www.EABooksPublishing.com. Thank you much for your generous support.Jacob Thon GuotExecutive Director and FounderAfrica Sunrise Communities