For the last two weeks I’ve had the privilege of a slower pace with time to reflect on Scripture as I prepared, reviewed and led two different groups of global workers in spiritual life conferences.
A few observations about context:
- Gracious people with whom I can’t really communicate
- The cultural differences–everyone selling the same products, even grouped together by same products, rather than finding a unique environment
- Poverty and materialism intermixed
- All the physical idols–at least one at every house or business
- The smell of incense
- Because of Chinese New Year–the evidence of superstition as people sacrifice to the gods–placing physical representations for what they wish will be true of the coming year
A few observations about those I came to serve:
- One group fairly new to their contexts
- Much uncertainty
- Learning language and the reality that communication is much more than words–one must understand culture
- Another group fairly seasoned, many in second fields
- Very educated and very bright
- One group with general freedom to be open about their beliefs
- Another group in not only difficult contexts but dangerous ones (all know multiple workers who have been killed for their work)
- All very compassionate to the needs of the people around them
- All passionate about reproductive discipleship (discipling individuals to disciple others and so on)
- All want to see more harvesters added
- Some want to see peace in their region, so that people can gather to worship, which they dare not
A few observations about me
- I am humbled by the way God chooses to use me.
- I’m humbled to see the commitment, dedication, sacrifices and love these people have both for the Lord and those they are seeking to reach and realize I don’t love as I should.
- I’m humbled by their passion for reproductive discipleship–helping others come to know the Lord, grow in Him and repeat the process with others. I used to do this more, so I need to carve more time out.
- I truly am an introvert who needs solitude to be reenergized.
Having grown up overseas I can at times related to what global workers experience. But this trip gave me a great empathy. During one of our prayer times earlier in the week some were sharing the burden for grown children not walking with the Lord, the challenges of aging parents and the helplessness that distance creates in both situations. (And on top of that, having negative feeling expressed by family members who don’t appreciate the commitment they have to the Lord and do share frustration/hurt over perceived lack of commitment to extended family.)
I can also better empathize with the helpless feeling of being overseas when a family crisis is occurring back home–my Mother’s massive heart attack and a 12 hour difference make for difficulty in communication. But thankful for the ability to communicate, though frustrated when it doesn’t work as it should all the time. (My mother is progressing and the Lord is answering prayer in amazing ways. Thank you for praying.)