WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR THE BOOK?
Really it was two-fold. First, we wanted people to start out well in a new place, especially cross-culturally overseas. How you start often determines how you finish. It tends to set the tone, shaping your perspective and attitude toward that place. We wanted people to not just survive, but thrive. Second, we have spent tons of time with expat marketplace workers and their spouses, along with study-abroad students and teachers. Over time we learned to help them start well, from day one. Out of that experience, we felt like we had something to offer in the conversation. There weren’t a lot resources out there, so we decided to list out thirty teaching points and activities. It very easily became a book.
WHAT DID IT LOOK LIKE FOR YOU TO STRUGGLE WHEN GETTING STARTED SOMEWHERE? TO EXCEL?
For us the struggle looked like paralysis. Everything was so foreign and new that we just didn’t want to leave our apartment. It was safe and easy to stick together inside. We had to force ourselves to go out and embrace the unknown. Later, we learned to excel by not just getting out, but by getting involved in things. We found ways to connect our hobbies from America to the new culture, and to do it as quickly as possible. I (Larry) played basketball, Susan played tennis, Parker played soccer, and Megan took horseback riding. By joining things in the community, things we naturally enjoyed, it helped us to look forward to getting out there. It helped us love the new place.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE THE BOOK WILL ACCOMPLISH?
We hope it allows people who love Jesus and are abroad to share him in an intentional way. Just living overseas can be a great adventure, and we want people to enjoy it. But it will be so much more meaningful to them and to the world if they are living as sent ones with a purpose. We’re more and more convinced that marketplace workers are absolutely integral to God’s mission, but they’re often treated like second-class missionaries. Hopefully First 30 Daze can encourage them to live on the frontline as faithful, effective witnesses among people whom traditional missionaries would never reach.
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