This is a message we received recently from a visitor at Karanda:
I’ve been back stateside for a little more than two weeks now and what strikes me the most is how quickly I’ve readjusted to American culture. Seemingly unlimited electricity + water, finally driving on the right (literally) side of the road again, not having to worry about cobras and black mambas walking home in the dark, using my 3-4 credit cards endlessly again, Starbucks’ red cups officially serenading the holiday season -> the list goes on and on.
Yet, things are not the same. As I’m being served wine/champagne while wearing my business suit at yet another emergency medicine interview evening reception, I recall how sweet water tastes in the African sun, have a vivid picture in my mind of Shona women being up at 5:15AM pumping water from the well, and think fondly of my good ole’ water filter at Karanda in protecting me from who knows how many terrible infectious diseases. I walk around trying to decide where I want to eat, then remember how I’d ration my fruit and vegetables to make them last as long as possible. I miss the male ward doctor/med student dream team and leading games and teaching Bible verses during AWANA.
While I think it has been important for me in not adopting a judgmental attitude, feeling guilty, or ridiculing Western culture for the excesses of life, I do think it has been healthy to challenge myself with the parable of the talents Jesus tells in the Gospel of Luke (a Gentile physician no less). Am I multiplying the numerous blessings God has bestowed upon me to love on His people? Or am I utilizing this plethora of blessings for myself, to build my own kingdom? If you are reading this email, chances are that God has given you a fair number of talents (character traits, skills, finances) as well. How and what are you using them for, especially this holiday season?
Before leaving Karanda, I spent time talking with one of the long-term missionaries, Jon Christiansen. I asked what he thought were the best ways in which I could continue to support their ministry and honor Karanda. His general answer ->
“It’s been a blessing having you here at Karanda and I hope that you may come back again one day soon. There are many ways to support the missionaries here (financial giving, etc), but perhaps the most important way is also the simplest: remember us. It’s not just you + your church; it is much bigger than that. Remember that you are part of the global body of Christ and that you have brothers and sisters around the world working hard and sacrificing it all to advance God’s kingdom on this Earth. Don’t forget us. Remind us that we are not alone.”
I was really moved by his challenge, which I pose to you. Do you have friends/church members/family working in difficult environments to bring God’s love to different people worldwide? Being missional doesn’t only include that person living in Africa/Middle East/China – how about that social worker friend working in Los Angeles you haven’t talked to in a while? Or that investment banker friend who is trying to fix his/her gaze on Jesus in a sea of corporate suits and temptations of money? All it takes is a quick email or Facebook message to remind them that you care and haven’t forgotten them. Or a quick prayer in the morning before work. We are all in this together…maybe we should start acting like it.