First and foremost, I want to apologize for not updating this page in a long time. Life got hectic leading up to midterms a couple of weeks ago, but I am going to bring everyone up to speed with this post and the next ones after this!
Week 6 was all about how the Gospel is perceived by different cultures and people groups. Depending on which culture each team is going to (European, Asian, etc.) there will be different ways people there look at it and perceive it. Some may not understand and be completely against because they have beliefs that contradict it (Muslims) or some may be curious because they have never heard Jesus’ name before (Buddhists).
Because our teams will be coming from an American culture, we are used to communicating in certain ways and perceiving things in certain ways. Those ways will have to be downplayed or reduced in some way while we are there. If we do not let go of our own ways of doing things, including sharing the Gospel, then it will be nearly impossible to overcome the barriers that will be in place (language, cultural, spiritual).
But the speakers wanted to emphasize that there are ways we can bridge the gaps between our two very different cultures.
One advantage of the Asian culture is that it is a very relational society. The people find relationships to be the most important thing in life. In fact, relationships are viewed as so important that everyone will want to get to know us as quickly as possible. They will do this by asking us very personal questions (what is your age, what do you do for a living, how much money do you make). But this can be a good thing for us because people in that type of culture will not listen to what you want to tell them unless there is a relationship of some kind that is present.
By establishing relationships with the people, and abiding by their cultural rules, we will be able to share the Gospel more effectively.
During the training session, I was hit once again with the reality that I really am going to a foreign country to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I am going to share His love and sacrifice with people who have never even HEARD of His name. It is a heavy realization. But it is also an honor. What of me, what of my team, that God would choose to place us together and send us to another country to expand the family of God, to bring more people into this One glorious body?
It will be a challenge to overcome fear, to overcome human imperfection, and let God shine through us. I can become very fearful sometimes, and it causes me to lose my fire and determination to say something. I do not want that to happen at all. I want to speak boldly, courageously and with love. I do not want anything to stop me. I want to trust God completely in this season, and I want to be transformed and stretched in ways I have never been stretched. I want to come home rejoicing and praising His name, and shouting His love from the rooftops.
I know that no matter what happens in Tokyo, God will be with us and He will use us. He will prepare us continually. God does not call the equipped, He equips the called. He will help us overcome every obstacle.