Saturday, August 19, 2006
Thoughts From my Recent Venture
Tonight I sit down to tell you my thoughts/reflections from my recent trip to the country of X. (In obedience to previous instructions and for the safety of certain people, that country shall remain nameless). I've been thinking for two weeks of things to say about the things that struck me, and the things that changed me.
First, I learned a little regarding the lives of those who are spreading the gospel in foreign lands. It was a life that I had never really paused to consider. I suppose I assumed that their lives were extremely different...strange, holy, exciting, romantic, adventourous...everything but normal. In a sense, however, I found out the opposite. Life as an ambassador for Christ in X is just like living life for anyone anywhere. Sure, there are cultural things to get used to: changes in diet, manners, etc. But really, it's the same kind of life with above average occurences of the same kind of problems that we face. I knew that, but yet...I didn't really realize it. Until now.
Lesson #1: Missionaries are normal people.
Another thing that struck me was that one of the workers who was with our group asked the following question a few times: "For the sake of the gospel, would you be willing to ___________?" That question sunk deep, because it was again, something that I hadn't ever really thought about...what was my view of the worth of the gospel?
This question sort of floated around my mind for much of the trip, then began to culminate one night in a large city. We were out walking to get some pictures of a famous building lit up at night, and I was listening to one of the workers describe a difficult, frightening situation with the police that had happened recently. The story made me feel frightened and angry...how could anyone live in this kind of environment? We were walking in between two mosques, and suddenly the call to prayer began, echoing back and forth between both buildings. It was long, loud, mournful, and piercing. I thought to myself, 'This is why they live in this country. This is why, "For the sake of the gospel" they go through difficult circumstances. It is for every unbeliever in X who needs to hear about Jesus Christ."'
Lesson #2: The gospel is infinitely more valuable than any difficult or unpleasant happening in my life.
Finally, it was with a sense of joy that I arrived back home in Washington D.C. But also with a sense of sorrow. I thought back to how careful of our words we had to be in X. I remembered to how careful the workers had to be in spreading the gospel. Then I pondered that here in my homeland, I don't have to be careful about where and how I mention the name of Christ. Which lead to a question: do I make use of the freedom so graciously bestowed by God to forward the purpose of Christ's kingdom?
Lesson #3: I need to take the opportunity to evangelize in one of the only countries in which I am free to do so.
Those are my thoughts for right now...I'll probably come up with more. But those are a few of the insights that I'll probably never forget, and they are just a few of the reasons that I'm grateful for opportunity to go to X.
For His glory,