Get Your Feet on Foreign Soil

MCC is huge on helping people of all cultures take one step closer to Christ.  Recently we had a team in Alabama with Samaritan’s Purse.  This week we have a team finishing up in Haiti.  They have been leading 1000 kids in VBS.  Yesterday we sent a small team to Henryville, Indiana to continue recovery efforts there.  Additionally,  we invest in our local community through several initiatives.

Over the years, I have had the privilege of working in the US and other countries.  I believe that every Christian should put their feet on foreign soil at least once in their life, all to help people move one step closer to Christ.   In an odd twist, what often happens is that my life takes a step closer to Christ as well.  I often end up changed in one way or another.

When I returned from my last trip to Africa, I wrote some thoughts on cross-cultural experiences.  Here is  how foreign soil is changing me:

Perspective.  I am able to see the kingdom of God from a global perspective.  The movement of God is bigger than our church, city, state, language, or traditions.  It is mind-blowing and reminds me that God and his movement are big; and that I am small.

Passion.  I see the laziness of much of our US culture.  “I wasn’t really into worship today because the sermon didn’t hold my attention.” In Congo, Ed Buell and I taught for 4 ½ hours to a group of Pastors who never left their seats.  I want to be hungry like that.

Happiness.  I am realizing that poverty does not equal depression.  When walking through a village in Guatemala, I heard laughter coming from a mud house with a thatched roof and dirt floor.  Someone had forgotten to tell them that they could not possibly be happy.

Manners.  Many people in developing countries are much nicer than Americans.  They shake your hand, look you in the eye, speak to you and actually care more about you than the tasks they have ahead of them.

Dance.  I want to dance.  Especially in Africa, people dance.  It is incredible to watch.  I want to join in.  I want to get in the middle and get my move on.  My soul wants to dance.  However, my body has as much rhythm as a five month old Labrador.  I am banking on my new body in heaven being able to dance.  You might want to look for me when you get there.  I will have a lifetime of non-dancing to make up for.

There is a bond that crosses all cultures.  In every culture I have been in, I quickly bond with people who are Christ followers.

 The Jones are fools.  Forget keeping up with the Jones in America.  They are upside down and many  live with debt and depression.   Some people think you can’t live in a small house with one bathroom.  Tell that to the guy I met who lives in a house with a dirt floor.  He has one bathroom.  It is a hole outside.

I am still being changed.  It is amazing that when you serve in the cause of Christ, you try to change others and end up being changed yourself.

If you have not ministered on foreign soil, you should give it serious consideration.  You could change part of the world.  And part of the world could change you.

Note: Later this month I will be with a small team of people in Uganda, Africa.  We will be working with the Pastor’s Discipleship Network, teaching and training Pastors in two different conference.  Stay up to date on the conference by following me on facebook, twitter, and by adding this blog to your rss feed.

Has involvement in missions changed you?  I’d love to hear.  Comment below.




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One thought on “Get Your Feet on Foreign Soil

  1. I’ve been changed in too many ways to count, but the first one that came to mind is similar to some of what you’ve said in your post. My interactions and experiences have challenged me to identify what aspects of my faith are sourced from my culture of origin and what aspects of my faith have their roots in scriptural and theological foundations. I’ve found new practices that have informed my relationship with Jesus (dancing is a great example) as well as identifying perceptions and practices that I thought were rooted in Christ but were ultimately more of a cultural expression than a true reflection of Christ. Some things I once valued I value no longer, and things that I didn’t value before, now have great value.