Saturday, February 28, 2015

International ministry

Those of you who know me well, know how much I love international refugee ministry - learning from other cultures... being in community with people who are incredibly generous and hospitable even when they have very little in material possessions... offering help and hope to people who have experienced great trials and suffering... and witnessing the amazing dignity, strength, perseverance, and love that they hold on to... It's one of my greatest passions; it makes me feel so alive! My heart leaps at the sound of a foreign language, I can't help but smile when my eye catches a brightly colored African robe, and even the sour smell of tamarind recalls beautiful memories for me.

I've come to realize there are many people who don't reach out to international people, simply because they don't know where to begin. What if I can't speak their language? What if I accidentally offend them? What if I don't know how to greet, eat with, or even sit with them? Worst case scenarios can develop in our imaginations, and fear or prejudice or insecurity or ignorance can keep us in our safe, mono-linguistic, uni-ethnic, cookie-cutter world. Because of this, we miss opportunities to learn, serve, receive, give, and grow... and we have a very limited perspective of what God is doing in the world.

So I've decided to write a series of blog posts, with the goal and purpose of encouraging and informing people in how to make international friends. Maybe you don't know where to find them, or you just don't know how to connect with those around you. Maybe you have met some people, and feel helpless in knowing what to do to develop your friendship. I hope that as I share stories, strategies, and bits of truth that I've learned over the past few years, you will feel more confident and excited to reach out, build bridges, and cross cultures, wherever you are.