A few weeks ago we had a fantastic Cru17 staff conference. In my new adventure of living in the US, I enjoyed the session discussed on ethnic diversity and how that is very important for our organization to help full fill the Great Commission. This topic could not have come at a better time as I am now living in a new culture, very different from mine.
God is a God of diversity! There is no duplication in His creation. He created us differently, with different colors, languages, cultures, and values. Often in ministry, we think one model, product, or strategy fits all. However, history has proven that such assumption is not the best way to do almost anything.
Here is one example. Coca Cola is available everywhere except for two countries in the world. It is the most recognized brand worldwide. Recently, they tried something new with one video. Moreover, that brought opposition in some parts of the world for example in Kenya.
Let me get back to missions. God's mission is all about life transformation. Paul was very instrumental when it came to taking the gospel beyond boundaries and connecting with the gentile world. Peter and others found it difficult to relate to the foreign cultures, that is why Peter had to see a vision three times before he got to meet Cornelius the Centurion.
I am learning these three points that will help me to be successful in serving cross-culturally:
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8I tell myself that I need to be a good learner of different cultures, not just for the sake of discovering but first and most to love people who are different from me. For example, one of the countries I prayed for and is learning about is Bhutan. I was very challenged just learning about them through this video on Prayercast movement.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, James 1:19I want to grow in becoming a good listener. My social media use perspective was changed after I discovered how I could use it as a platform to connect with people I do not know. That was by paying attention to things people are sharing and posting on social media and then share relevant content. That helped me when I conducted training in different places. I have grasped some connections points before hand to connect well with the people I get to meet in person.
Recently, I had a Skype call with a stranger I met on Linkedin. First, I read his profile, watched YouTube videos, and updates on projects he is working on in Ethiopia, and I found it fascinating we met online. I intentionally follow technology news and progress in Africa.
Depend on the power of the Holy Spirit
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8Moreover, finally, with my eight years ministry experience and travels to many countries, I found loving with compassion and listening well does not come automatically or just because of experience. It comes from being dependent on the Holy Spirit. To become witnesses for Jesus to reach the end of the earth it requires the power of the Holy Spirit.
I pray that I become a lifelong learner of people and would allow the Holy Spirit to teach me and guide me in this process.
If you have served or are serving in a new culture, what are three things you learned in your experience?
Miheret T. Eshete