Family Matters

Here are some basic misapprehensions people have about Westerners in general and Americans in particular:
  • Parents don't love their children
  • Children don't love their parents
  • People don't care about the elderly
  • Family is unimportant
  • Strong family connections do not exist
Do you see a theme here? I do. I had a long conversation with an Iranian girl last week, about culture, crossing culture, culture shock, and homesickness. I talked with her about how my family's faith in God helped to tie us together and give us stability when we came back from Africa, and I talked about how the shared crisis knit us together and gave me a really strong bond with both my parents. Do you know what impressed her? Not the comments about God. She was impressed that an American existed who loved her parents and was willing to live with them after eighteen. She had always heard that American families didn't love each other.

Sharing the gospel can be challenging in any situation, but it gets especially complicated when people equate Christian and American, and when people run into areas of our culture that we accept even though they are unscriptural at heart. People are not remotely interested in our God when our God allows us to live unloving lives and when we ignore or minimize the basic bonds of human existence.

Western Christianity is also often more western than Christian. It simply doesn't answer questions people are asking. The girl wanted nothing of my perceived western Christianity and western God, but she was thoroughly interested in eastern mysticism. The gospel must be de-westernized and de-Americanized if it is to be communicated with others at all.

  • I have gotten to share the gospel with several people in the past few weeks. This is in the context of ongoing relationships, where we have the opportunity to dialog and ask each other questions. It is really neat to see people begin to ask questions about the faith.
  • God seems to have provided a neat partner in ministry for me. She lives really close to a large Iranian community, and she is Iranian, with a passion for reaching her own people. She has introduced me to a couple of other girls, and we have started to build some relationships.
  • My landlord and I have been able to broach a little of her spiritual interest.
Prayer Requests
  • Pray for the Iranian church. They have just received some devastating news that has really hurt them and has offered God's enemies a great opportunity to mock Him. Pray for healing and protection within the church, and that God would bring them through what seems like an impossible situation to recover from.
  • Pray for the contacts I have been able to witness to. Pray that the Word would show them the thoughts and intents of their hearts. Pray for continued opportunities to witness and that God would shine His truth through to them, regardless of the western culture they are now encountering.
  • Pray for wisdom for me in how I relate the gospel to others. Pray for creativity and sensitivity in sharing the message of Jesus.
  • Pray for me and my Iranian partner. Pray for more partners and that God would open more doors to witness. I would like to start a Bible study with her help but have yet to broach that topic with her. Pray for wisdom in dealing with Bible study in two languages. She is learning English, but there is nevertheless a language barrier.
  • Please continue to pray for my landlord.
Thank you guys! I am sorry my update is so late!

No comments: