I attended a Perspectives class tonight as a visitor with a family friend who is part of a team that presents it at a local church. I saw some familiar faces, and a lot of new ones…there were probably 100 people in attendance. This week’s class was focused on building bridges of love, and just how to do that culturally in the mission field.
The speaker, Frank Schattner, has a huge heart for missions – specifically for the Hmong people in Thailand. He and his family have been sharing the Good News there for about 25 years! He is the International Coordinator for the Jonathan Project which is an organization whose objective is to plant multiplying churches among the least-reached people groups on the planet.
Three major things stuck out at me tonight:
a) When trying to build relationships in a new place, do not ask “What can I do?” Rather, ask “What needs to be done?” and then pray, asking God to help you help them fill their needs. This was a different attitude of servanthood than I’ve ever considered, and I appreciated the perspective. Heh!
b) Always be a student. Even if you think you know something, play ignorant. This nugget is huge when you’re trying to relate the gospel to their world – which is most likely extremely different than the one you’ve been living in. A story he recounted was about visiting in a villager’s home and learning about the different spirits that they believe in – specifically asking about the one that is over the door on the red fabric. They told him that it is a spirit of prosperity, and that at every Hmong new year they sacrifice a pig to it. Now, they always complain about how poor they are, and he brought that to their attention by asking some questions. He asked about how many pigs have been sacrificed to this spirit?
They said that there were too many to count, they’d been practicing this tradition for more than one hundred years. He then asked why it is that they’ve sacrificed countless pigs to the spirit of prosperity, and yet you are poor? Their eyes were opened – the mother of the house looked at him and said, you’re right! Why do I sacrifice perfectly good food to a spirit who doesn’t provide for my family? What are you saying? Is there another way to live?
Dun dun dun . . . Good News time! Why, yes. Yes there is. Let me tell you about a man named Jesus!
c) Revival is SIMPLE. We try to make some complicated thing of it, but really all it requires is people nailing their sins to the cross and believing Jesus washed them clean, and then to be a very enthusiastic Christian! And with a God like ours, who isn’t enthusiastic?!
At the end of the three hour long class I felt extremely overwhelmed. Jon, my friend who had invited me, encouraged me by sharing a nugget from the first class that had stuck with him. We can’t always see in front of us, it may be really foggy. But we walk forward until we can no longer see, and that’s faith. Now, God has shown me Ukraine, and the mission field where He’s sending me, and even though I don’t have any idea about what will happen after Ukraine, that’s not important right now. I just need to walk in faith in the direction God is leading, even if the future is densely foggy. I trust that my adventurous journey with God isn’t over, He’s got lots more in store for me. I’m willing.
HERE I AM, SEND ME!
I met this really sweet gal who was sitting at our table tonight, her name was Heidi. She stopped me as I was gathering my things and wanted to know why I visited the Perspectives class. I shared my story and she asked if she could pray for me. Prayer is so extremely important! And I know people are praying for me, but to have a new friend lay her hand on my shoulder and pray was such a blessing. As I drove home I found a new passion for life and what God is calling me to. I had to hear a specific worship song, I opened up YouTube and played “I Will Run” by Misty Edwards.
All I want is You
All I crave is You
I will run the race set before me
I will seek Your face as the prize of my life