BEYOND MY CULTURE
The missions service was in progress. In the middle of my presentation, I noticed the pastor’s wife quietly weeping. Soon she arose and slipped out of the meeting. What was this all about?
After the service, the pastor invited me for refreshments. Seated at the kitchen table with him and his wife, I asked her, “Why did you leave during the missions presentation?”
She replied, “When I was a child, the Lord called me to be a missionary. Then in Bible school I met and married my husband. His call from the Lord is to be a pastor, so we never applied to go as missionaries. Consequently, when I am in a missionary service the need overwhelms me and I feel so guilty for having never obeyed God’s call to missions. I couldn’t sit there any longer listening to the appeal for individuals to get involved in missions. I had to walk out.”
“Let me show you something,” I responded. I turned to Matthew 28:19-20, pointing out that according to the Greek, panta ta ethne (all nations) means “all ethnic groups.” Then I asked, “How many ethnic groups do you have here in your small town?” She consulted with her husband and they thought of three distinct language/cultural groups in their community.
As we discussed the possibility of sharing the gospel with them, her eyes lit up. It dawned on her that by crossing a linguistic barrier in their midwestern U.S. town, she would be fulfilling the Great Commission. “When you lead a Hispanic sinner into the kingdom of God in your community, it is just as ‘missionary’ as when I take a flight to Lagos, Nigeria, and lead a Yoruba to Christ,” I affirmed.
Within weeks, this couple launched a Hispanic ministry in conjunction with their Anglo-American church. They became active participants in going beyond their culture in complete obedience to the Great Commission.