Local Time, 24-Hour Style: 18:57
Celsius Temperature: 27°
New Missions Staff to Orient: 39
Continents Where We’ll Be Working: Three (Asia, Africa and Europe)
Denominational Backgrounds: Many
God to Serve: One
Greetings from Minnesota! I’m writing from my second (and last) night of TeachBeyond New Staff Orientation, which I’ve “stopped by” on my way to work on summer staff at Tauernhof Bible School for the summer.
Coming to orientation meant leaving Seattle on the same day that I finished school at Ingraham. Though this made for a stressful week leading up to departure, I am truly glad I was able to participate. I’ve met many interesting people from all over the world, all of us sharing in common the main activities of the next year or so of our lives. At dinner tonight, I sat with a family going to serve at a school in Niger. “That’s so cool!” said another new staff member, heading like me to BFA, “Now we know these people from everywhere!” It’s true. Spinning a globe will now bring to mind the faces of people that I’ve met briefly here. But it’s more than meeting; these days have been about stories and prayer, about faith and calling. Sharing such thoughts in common, the experience has been an incredible encouragement.
One of our presenters, Jay Adams, urged us to open our eyes while abroad, specifically in Germany, to get to know “the universal Church.” It’s a term I haven’t heard in a while, but the exhortation rings true for me here. I am, and continue to be, amazed by the uniting power of sharing Christ in common. Here we are, 39 people coming to the faith from different cultural, ethnic and educational traditions. We worship differently, think differently, vote differently, and perhaps even interpret Scripture differently.
Yet we share a love of Christ, a passion to follow Him. Of course this community is temporary; in two days this physical group will return to email form, as we evaporate back or onward to our next steps. But here, for a moment, I remember that the bonds that unite us are greater than those that divide, and see in our group the universal Church that Jay encouraged us to seek.
I like it. And I’m excited to keep looking when I leave North America tomorrow. God is everywhere, and the Church is far bigger than I sometimes think.
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While in Helsinki I attended an English church in the International Evangelical Church in Finland. There I felt every Sunday exactly that “one church” idea! It was always so refreshing to realize I was really worshipping with people from every continent. Our interactions were easier in the coffee hours, because there was an automatic common ground (God, one body of Christ) to cling to during initial small talk and later in our friendships.
🙂 Thanks for this post (and all your posts). Very encouraging!