How not to be a missionary

During our Africa Based Orientation they had a wonderful children’s program.  They snapped a few pictures of the kids.  Here is one of them.

100_2435Here Andrej is demonstrating some great evangelistic techniques.

I wonder what lesson God wants me to learn from this behavior?

The actual story we got was that the girls were dancing and putting up their hands completely oblivious to Andrej who happened to be playing with a stick.

Patience

I think the thing that is most frustrating as a parent is the lack of patience children have.  They always want something right now, and if they do not get it now, it might as well be never.  Babies are born with absolutely no patience.  It has to be a completely learned behavior.  Once again, as a parent, seeing something that causes me pain reminds me to look at myself.  How does my Heavenly Father see my patience?

Why is patience important?  Why do we have to learn to wait?

I was reminded of this as we sat in a room of high school student leaders at a boarding school here in Machakos.  They each told their name and their story to us (the honored guests).  They talked slowly and in quiet voices.  I almost felt as if I wanted to drag the words out of them.  Then I realized that in the slowness and in the choice of words, God was speaking to me.  “What is the rush?  Where do you have to go?  These are my children, listen to them.”

I believe we miss out on almost all the non-mandatory things that God wants to tell us because we are too busy and do not have enough patience to hear Him.  Start asking the questions of yourself.   Does God really come first, all the time, or is it just when we set aside stuff for Him.  Are your priorities such that you are willing to let something “important” go because of a still small voice?

What is a cross?

What is the theme in all these 5 verses?

And he that doth not take his cross and follow after me, is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:38

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Matthew 16:24

And he called unto him the multitude with his disciples, and said unto them, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Mark 8:34

And he said unto all, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23

Whosoever doth not bear his own cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27

What is a cross?  What does a cross mean to you?

All of these quotes from Jesus come long before He was crucified.  A cross was a terrible means of torture and death.  What impact do you think that had on the disciples?  “Take up our what?!”

Do not let the meaning of mercy and grace embodied by a cross to overshadow the impact of those statements Jesus made.  We must be willing to follow Him into the worst most painful situations, even leading to death.  Am I willing?

Cultural Derivative

In a past post I mentioned culture and how things need to be translated.  However, I now see that it goes much deeper.  We have to see beyond culture.  The cultural derivative (like the moral derivative) is the world view.  What you see is a product of what you do not see.  You cannot successfully address what you see.  You must engage what you do not see.  However, you must first learn and understand what you cannot see.  You have to understand what informs the behaviours and actions you observe.  Do not say, “Why do they do that?”  But rather, ask, “What are the values cause them do choose that?”

What is right and wrong in a certain context?  Who is it that determines that in that context?  What informs that determination in that context?  It is only then that you can begin to rightfully address the situation.  However, you also must first come to an understanding that all of your observations are colored by your world view (which is probably not biblical either).

Africa Based Orientation

We have been spending the last few weeks attending Africa Based Orientation at Scott Theological College in Machakos, Kenya.  It has been a great experience and we have been learning a lot.  Some of the learning has been basic everyday life things, but a lot of it has had a lot deeper roots.  Many of those roots I would like to investigate deeper in some future posts.  We have very limited and unreliable internet access, so hopefully I can get them out in a timely manner.