Growing up, every fall was filled with a predictable parade of overseas missionaries. The blue carpet of our church’s platform would bloom with Moroccan djellabas, Mexican sombreros, and then usually some poor guy from Ireland who couldn’t figure out how to appropriately bring a Guinness on stage.
We’d hear their best stories, see their slide shows, and then gather in the gym to taste a little bit of their food.
Each dish came with a side of guilt.
If you were a serious Christian, you became a pastor. But if you wanted to really impress God, you obviously lived in a tent on the Serengeti.
As I grew, I began subconsciously rejecting this thinking (along with the curry). America needs Jesus just as bad as sub-Saharan Africa. I think I’ll stay here, start a career and a family, live my dream, donate some money, and let the crazy spiritual psychopaths do the “ends of the earth” stuff.
But now, on my journey from musician, to accountant, back to musician, turned church planter, I find myself less than 24 hours from once again boarding a plane to Honduras. My wife, 12 year old daughter, and a team of CityCom’ers will be spending a week in impoverished neighborhoods finishing a building, playing with kids, and investing in relationships.
Sitting here in my air-conditioned office this morning, I can come up with a lot of solid, theological reasons.
Jesus told us to “go into all the world.”
Christians can’t avoid confronting poverty.
We can tangibly become the hands and feet of Christ in a broken part of the world.
But as we frantically scuttle about finishing last minute details, I’m pondering something perhaps a little more practical.
There is something transformational about seeing the Gospel at work in a culture starkly different than your own.
As much as some would like to convince us, God isn’t American (although I will debate his preference for the NFL over World Cup soccer, say what you want). But He’s not South African, Chinese, Romanian, or Honduran either. His Kingdom is a culture of its own. It’s not a way of life, it is life itself.
Nothing illuminates that truth like watching the redemption of Christ do its work outside my natural context and perspective.
The goal for La Ceiba, Honduras is not to make them more like Americans. It’s to bring Christ’s Kingdom to life here on earth. We’re definitely taking it with us, but my experience tells me we’ll encounter a bit more of it for ourselves there, too.
Stay tuned. I’ll be posting updates, pictures, and video from La Ceiba next week as internet connection allows. We appreciate your prayers.