I mean, we all know the overarching answer, obviously. We are commanded to tell the world about Jesus, about the beauty of relationship with Him, about His victory over sin. Additionally, if we are doing it right, we are inviting people into a camaraderie of family and the joy of fellowshipping together.
But the Lord showed me something new today; a glimpse of His heart that I had never seen before.
Today I hosted some of my dear friends who are visiting America from Kazakhstan. My daughter and my sons and I planned for weeks. We invited everyone who knew the family, plus anyone else who wanted to fellowship, to come. There were more than 50 people in and out of my house over the course of the day. It was loud and chaotic...and completely wonderful.
I've said before that its hard to explain how attached you become to people you meet in other countries. And I still think that's true. But the reason I used to think it was true...has shifted some.
There is great friendship to be found when you're working alongside local believers to advance the Good News in a country.
But...I've come to realize, over the day, that the heart of God Himself is made more clear as we step outside our own culture and embrace another.
He is the one who made us all so wonderfully complex and diverse, after all. And there is something about His heart that we simply cannot know unless we set foot on another continent, and clasp hands with a Christian from the other side of the world. There is a depth of love that is undeniable, unexplainable, when you are side by side with a person, and the words you can share are few, but your spirits resonate together in perfect communication.
I saw it, today, in my 9 year old son. He has become fast friends, pals forever, with a little boy from Kazakhstan, a boy he met only a few days ago. They can't talk easily...but they are knit together in heart. I cannot ever describe the way my own heart aches with happiness when I realize that these little ones are seeing, and recognizing, the Spirit of God within each other.
I come from a family where missions, both foreign and domestic, is a deeply rooted passion. As far back as Hudson Taylor, there are missionaries in my ancestry. But until I became a missionary myself...until I went to the other side of the world and kissed the cheeks of my sisters there...and prayed for them and was prayed for by them...and sweated alongside them...and wept with them...and laughed, and ate, and traveled, and sang...I didn't know that piece of the heart of my God.
The part that loves us so greatly that He made us with gaps in our souls. Gaps that find fulfillment in the knowledge that we are all together, all one, in Him. We can eat foods we aren't familiar with, and learn new games, and butcher the pronunciation of each other's words...and its precious. It's priceless. Its the most cherished thing.
Look at the faces. Look at them. Can you see His heart? Can you see their joy in each other's company? The strengthening of spirit that comes as they sit together?
Isn't He clever, our God? The blessing of obeying His call to missions isn't only about preaching the gospel after all.
It's about seeing Him in the eyes, in the hearts, in the smiles of your true family. His family.
|Coffee and dessert, and a discussion of culture, ethnicity, and the Lord|
|Gabe and his new best friend, Ansat|