Jul 15 2008

Top 10 Things I Learned on our Trip to South Asia

Published by at 3:41 pm under General Peacemaking

Wow, we had a great trip, and now it’s great to be back!  I had the chance to share about our trip (which Ken wrote about earlier) at staff devotions last week, and I wanted to pass on what I shared while it’s still (relatively) fresh!

 10. Christians everywhere have more in common than we have differences.

Pictured below is Ken teaching the Slippery Slope, which we’ve found connects almost everywhere!  In tropical places, we just have to change the metaphor of standing on a hill of ice to, say, a hill of mud or sand.

9. People everywhere have more in common than we have differences. 

Christians in this region are a definite minority, and yet we were amazed to see the ways that they partner with and serve people from all sorts of backgrounds and religions.  Pictured here are orphans from a variety of backgrounds welcoming us to the conference.

8. Humor is universal … and God has a great sense of humor.

Pictured here are Karl and Ferdy — notice the rope in Karl’s hand!  This is right after the rope demonstration that Ken described in his post.  One of the things that made this demonstration so effective was that, in the gravity of the situation, people still made humorous comments that would give us a little breath of fresh air.

7. A little bit of pressure on the church can be a good thing.

We in the United States live such comfortable lives; it’s amazing to see and even experience the sacrifices and risks that people take because of their belief in God’s power and his worthiness.

6.  Loving your enemies is an incredibly powerful “weapon.”

This is true whether you’re talking about macro-issues, like ethnic or religious conflict, or micro-issues, like your ongoing frustrations with an elder in your church.

5. God is more powerful than we often give him credit for being.

I noticed that in the worship songs and the prayers of our hosts, there was a strong emphasis on God’s power.  I think that our churches in the United States have lost our awe of God’s power because we emphasize God’s love to the point of seeing him as our “buddy.”  It was refreshing and challenging to realize that these two perspectives can come together to give us a more robust understanding of God’s character.

4. Conflict is universal, and the answer (or Answer) is universal.

This is the cover of the conference guide — and the front of the auditorium was filled with a HUGE banner that looked like this!

3. Inconveniences are not the same as suffering.

As you can tell from the scenery, we weren’t suffering much at all!

2. Things are almost never as they first appear.

Whether we are considering a brother or sister in our church or a movement on the other side of the world, I’m reminded that there is a lot going on under the surface that we are often not aware of.  We don’t see their true struggles, but we also don’t always see the amazing things that God is doing in drawing individuals or entire groups of people to himself with his reconciling power and love.


 

1. Just being with people sends a powerful message.

God doesn’t always call us to be active and “doing” things, which our American pragmatism tells us we need to be doing in order to feel productive and useful.  We enjoyed rich fellowship, worship and teaching which was just as important “ministry” as the teaching and coaching that God allowed us to do.  Oh, and we also enjoyed some fantastic food :)

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