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?
Let me first start from the past. God at work from satellite to apps.
In 1985, Dr. Bill Bright, founder of our ministry, had the vision to bring 30,000 students from all over the world to one place for an intensive evangelism training week to help fulfill the Great Commission. It became Explo 85. Bailey Marks, pictured with me, was assigned to bring the 30,000 students to the US for this mega training. The logistics, visa process, and air transportation with a budget of $60 Million was an overwhelming task.
The late Dr. Bill Bright and Bailey Marks and their team took the challenge to the Lord in prayer. While praying, Bailey Marks heard the word ‘Satellite’ which he had no clue at that time what it meant. He investigated and it took him a while to get the right person who knew how satellites worked. There was no Internet to Google and get instant results at that time. ?
The voice Bailey Marks heard from the Lord changed the outcome of the Explo 85 campaign. God changed the plan of bringing 30,000 students to one place, into more than 300,000 participants in 98 locations world wide (with a $ 6 Million total budget) by using Satellite technology. God is Amazing!
Today God is still using technology and countless digital platforms and Internet services for His glory. Just in 2015, we saw a total of 35.5 million users interacting with our 7 different digital platforms we have in Cru.
As in Bailey Marks’ story from the past, God is also doing amazing things in our movement with apps and websites. Check out these five life changing mobile apps developed by our digital strategy team.
1. GodTools: The God Tools app provides a clear, concise and easy way to present the gospel and offers the opportunity to receive Christ in over 58 languages.
2. Voke: Voke is a video-sharing app that uses short videos to help you start spiritual conversations with your friends. Get Voke and share what matters.
3. Jesus Film: The Jesus Film Media app allows you to share a variety of films about Jesus, both in person and online, in over 1,500 languages.
4. MissionHub: MissionHub is an app that is designed to help you organize, track and grow the relationships you have with others.
5. EveryStudent.com App: The Every Student app helps you answer real questions about life and faith from anyone God brings your way and shows them reasons to begin a relationship with God.
What are your favorite apps you use to share the gospel with others? I love to hear from you.
I have encountered three more Uber drivers who showed a keen interest in what I have to say about Jesus. These divine encounters and some of the seminars I attended at Cru 17 reminded me of a well-known entrepreneur woman I met on the plane in one of Global leadership Meeting trip before I moved to Orlando.
I was upgraded to business class, I was looking forward to a good time of rest, but I had no idea what opportunities were ahead of me. As the plane took off, the lady sitting next to me asked me "What is Indigitous?" She noticed it from my wrist band. I explained what it meant and how I got involved in digital ministry.
Her next question was "How do you share Jesus digitally?" How can I think of sleep when asked such a question? I excitedly showed her the GodTools app on my phone asked her "Have you heard about the Four Spiritual Laws?". She shook her head, and together we read through the laws up to Law three. She was interested but asked me to pause and continue later.
After a few hours, our conversation restarted, again with a question. This time she asked, "how did you get involved in such ministry and when?" I told her that I got involved in high school, and told her about some of my experiences.
Then we resumed on Law three. The third Laws says " Jesus Christ is God's only provision for man's sin. Through Him, you can know and experience God's love and plan for your life." She couldn't accept Jesus is the only way. She believes all good ways have to lead to God. We had a long discussion about that. I felt pity for her. She has incredible knowledge about the Bible and Jesus, even the basics of having faith. But it was not easy for her to accept Jesus as her Savior. Her many ideologies and interest in other religions have caused her to see Jesus as just one of the many ways to God.
I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to share my faith with her, that was my part, and now I leave the results to God. It's my prayer that one day she will clearly understand who Jesus is and accept Him.
This fall our team is launching Indigitous Hack events in 30+ cities around the world. Indigitous is a global community engaging with ideas and each other to advance God’s Kingdom through innovation.
Would you pray for funding, logistics, and God to move through this digital mission mobilization on October 20-22, 2017? Thank you.
Serving with you,
Miheret T. Eshete