Celebrate and Mourn

No culture is better than another. And, all cultures have characteristics that are worthy of celebration and mourning. Take a minute and ask yourself how you feel about your Trek culture, and United States culture – for each, are you celebrating or mourning, or both?

Read this quote from a Kolkata participant. Do you see yourself in here?

“I feel like I'm suffocating here all the time. It's really hard for me to deal with my bitterness toward the lukewarm culture of the American church. It's so hard for me to worship here. I want to hear from God…I just want to hear his voice, but I haven’t…God is the same here as He is there, and when I was there I was almost paralyzed with weakness. But the intimacy I had with Jesus there was so deep. I cried out to him, I knew my need for him, I was in constant prayer. I was so aware of my own spirit and knew when I was weak and prayed for strength…I want to be in prayer constantly. I want that deep spiritual reality. I want that longing for Jesus. I want that intimacy. But it is so hard here in this culture. I feel misunderstood and I’m not able to describe to people everything that I felt and tasted of God and the intimacy that I had with him. I can’t formulate my thoughts and feelings in ways that they understand.”


Take a few moments to journal or talk with a Trek buddy about these questions.

Where are your current areas of dissonance or frustration? It could be frustration with American Christianity, disappointment in your lack of spiritual fervor, or any number of things. Maybe you’re confused and you don’t know why.

What are some areas of celebration in your life? Maybe you’re excited about promoting more of a justice focus in your InterVarsity chapter, or you’ve been experiencing God’s presence as you’ve prayed for the country/people you got to know this summer.



In the United States, sometimes we do not know how to mourn well. Set aside a few hours to mourn. This can be with a friend, if you want. Some ideas: Create a memorial to your summer, such as a rock, a candle, or something artistic that you create. Light a candle and pray for those suffering. Fast. Sit in silence and let yourself cry. 

Do the same for celebration. Celebrate your summer in a tangible way. Some ideas: Have a party with your fellow Trek participants. Play a favorite song from the summer. List all the highlights from the summer. Rejoice in all the beauty of the culture you were in this summer.

Do the same with the United States! Celebrate and mourn your experiences here. If you usually lean towards more celebration or more mourning, challenge yourself to process all aspects of your home culture.