There is a lot of history where I now live. Stone carvings, giant monuments, a full river, churches, temples, mosques, caves, parks, and desert places, the list goes on for literally 1000s of years. In a couple weeks since arriving, I’ve been reflecting on the gradual adjustment of calling this place home and my team home and this culture home. I think home is found in faith and as fun as it is to explore and share the places I’m now surrounded in, beginning to live here has instead been more about learning a way of life different than what I know while developing my faith to have discernment about the differences I’m encountering each day.
There are the physical differences like more dust, noise, trash, dust, public transit, pollution, dust, and more dust. The U.S. has these things, but not as severe. Then you pick up on different nuances like people here care a lot about each other, everyone has a god, modesty, generous hospitality, and more I’ve still yet to learn about. Are these nuances actually differences between people here and the U.S.? What would you consider is like Jesus, what is not?
Just the other day my team discussed how we might ought to live according to scripture and how God intends for us to think about this new place. Genesis 10 lists the whereabouts of mankind around the world following the flood of Noah; this could also be referenced as the Table of Nations. It talks about how different nations were created although these people all came from one common origin. If we understood the importance of the Table of Nations, how might differences between nationalities play out differently? In regards to new relationships, I think we would have a different attitude than we may usually be inclined to think about someone different than us, “go back to where you came from.” Rather, because we are actually all from the same place, we would have the attitude of “alright, you’re here, lets figure this out.” How easy it might have been for me to gloss over this part of the Bible, except I am now the one placed in a position where I need to figure this out. I am not a local or citizen or native to the region and am now asked where I come from. I mean, the beard helps, but I guess I still walk like an American.
I’ve learned, based simply on the nation you’re from, it is easy for people here to judge who you might be and what matters to you. For example, when I say I am from California I am greeted with a smiling face everytime. In church here, countries like Egypt, Israel, and Rome were referenced as the most powerful nations during biblical times, whereas “today another country, I won’t mention which one, has all the money and food that everyone wants to immigrate to...” Unfortunately, smiling faces might be all I see if I do not learn the way of life here. A smiling face does not always reveal the matters of the heart. Forming deep relationships that honor the Lord means we remember where we all came from, repent about what we should not have done, and pray about where we are going, it is about loving someone for who they are no matter what.
I live in a different place than where I once was and although it is dusty and has much to be explored, learning how to live life differently with others while sharing the Gospel and growing in faith together is the real adventure.
Yours in Christ.
Please be in prayer over some technical difficulties, my laptop is broken and I am trying to get it fixed, I’m currently borrowing a friends to write this blog. Settling in and choosing a language school is a lot of pressure because it’s a large part of my ministry work for the next year, pray the Lord will give me wisdom in choosing the best choice. Prayer for cousins here in the country as I begin meeting them throughout the day and that they may ask the tough questions so we may ask God together in prayer.