Free book by April Gardner!

Each month from now until March 2024, I’ll give you a link to a free book by another author. During one month of that time, my book will become free for my subscribers. Scroll down to find out more about this month’s free book.

 On July 2, our church in New Zealand celebrated our annual International Day. In the last ten years our church has begun to fill with international people who have come to New Zealand to study or to build a new life for their families. They are a vital part of our church. We use this special day to celebrate the diversity of people who call our church “home.” You can see by the flags that we have people from the UK, USA, India, Indonesia, Fiji, New Zealand, the Philippines, Korea, Ukraine, and China.

You may remember that my husband, Art, and I are Americans who have served as church-planting missionaries in Taiwan (1980-1996) and New Zealand (1998 until the present.) God has used our experiences to prepare us for the very international ministry we have today. We’ve learned about the different ways international people do dishes, dress, and interact socially. Western cultures often emphasize independence and individuality, whereas Asian people emphasize doing things in large groups. Kiwis (New Zealanders) value independence and a do-it-yourself attitude toward jobs around the house. They celebrate sports stars, push their children to achieve in sports, and often learn a trade. On the other hand, Asians tend to value education very highly. They push their children to achieve academically, so they can qualify for highly skilled jobs. Overall, Asian culture places less value on sports.

Living cross-culturally teaches you to look at life with different eyes than someone who has only lived in one culture. Ideally, it makes you look for the best in other cultures. It teaches you to communicate in a way that is easily understood in different cultures. You learn to value the strengths of different cultures and to be comfortable interacting with people who have a different background than you have.

Most of the books I’ve written, whether they are written for adults or kids and youth, deal with cross-cultural issues and come from my experience or someone close to me.

  • New Beginnings Series: Americans partner with New Zealanders in church planting ministry
  • Art Spotlight Series: an MK from Taiwan works with some Chinese characters in the US
  • Careful Enough? (written under my pen name, Dillon Forbes) features a ministry in China
  • Two Sides to Everything: an American boy goes to live with relatives in New Zealand
  • Peanut Butter Friends in a Chop Suey World: an American girl becomes an MK in Taiwan

What cross-cultural experience have you had? What did you learn from it? Feel free to reply in the comment box below.

Today I’m featuring Author April Gardner.

April spent the first two years of her life in Japan while her dad was in the military. When she was ten, she moved from America to Spain with her parents who were, by then, missionaries. At eighteen she returned to the States for college. Two years later, she married and followed her Air Force husband to Germany where they lived seven years. Next, they moved to England for four years and then back to the States where she has lived since 2009. Recently she lived short-term in Italy for a study abroad program.

I think we can safely call her a *TCK (Third Culture Kid.)

 When I heard about April’s cross-cultural experiences, I immediately had two questions and got good answers for them.

 Q1: What languages do you know and want to know?

A1: I speak English, Spanish, and I’m actively working on Italian. Not quite fluent yet with the Italian but getting there! My mid-life brain doesn’t appreciate that I’m throwing a third language at it, especially one that’s so closely related to language #2, but I’m wrangling it into submission. After Italian, I’m donzo.

 Q2: Would you like to share any amusing situations you’ve been in or cultural insights you’ve learned?

A2: During my recent stint in Italy, I learned from Italian friends that it’s not cool to drink cappuccino after 11 (ish). When I ordered one as an after-lunch coffee at a restaurant, they cringed (all but shrinking in their seats with embarrassment), then went into a playful (but totally serious) rant about all the reasons it’s wrong, wrong, wrong. Apparently, a cappuccino is a meal (breakfast.)

“Why would you order a meal after eating a meal?! This is absurd.”

When I asked how a cappuccino could be considered a meal, they answered with a question. “What do babies drink for their meals? Milk! There you go.”

This was all said with the typical animated Italian gestures, which put a beautiful bow on this enlightening conversation. It’s one of my best memories of that semester in Italy.

*In case you wondered, a TCK’s are people who were raised in a culture different from their parents’ culture or the country of their nationality, especially during a significant part of their growing-up years.

Beautiful in His Sight

It’s 1917, and Halifax is at war. Silas Quinn, street sweeper and army reject, remains on the home front, shunning God and society as religiously as they shun him. But the night he stumbles across a half-frozen prostitute, his eyes blink open, and his greater purpose is born: preserve and protect.

There’d been a day when shop girl Helen Fraser was desperate enough to believe a few nights in a brothel would cure her troubles. By some miracle, Major Jack Gordon deemed her worth saving, but Helen knows her meticulously recreated identity cannot last. What she doesn’t expect is for its destruction to come about, not by a john or one of the madam’s goons, but by a force great enough to flatten a city and bury her alive.

Set against the backdrop of the Halifax Explosion, Beautiful in His Sight is a WWI Christian historical romance that explores unequivocal grace and identity in Christ.

Get this book free for subscribing to April’s newsletter.

Find out more about April here.

Deb Brammer’s book, Short Poppies is currently featured in Sheep Gate Digital Magazine along with these Christian books: The Wedding Standoff by Evangeline Kelly, Tender Love by Juliette Duncan, Three Confess by Luana Ehrlich, and The Billionaire’s Teacher by Elizabeth Maddrey. Janet W. Fergeson is the featured author.

 You can find the  authors featured in Sheep Gate and their books here.

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