Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Representing Christ in the world (2)

A good friend who had been a missionary in Russia for a number of years returned to South Africa last week. Today I received his newsletter – the last one from Russia. In this letter he shared an experience he had shortly before leaving Russia which I found a good example of what it means to represent Christ within the world at all times and by all means. A visitor from the USA to their mission became ill and had to be hospitalised. Due to a shortage of personnel (and also due to the language problem) my friend was granted permission to remain in the hospital to help take care of the man. The staff were, like typical Russians, stern and very official when they initially arrived there. But through the way that these two acted their attitude gradually changed and he writes that many perceptions which they had about Christians were changed. When the visitor was released from hospital, they not only left hospital staff behind, but true friends.
But the letter does not end there. My friend also had to travel by train on two occasions between Samara and Moscow during the past few weeks – a seventeen hour trip in each direction. Just so that you can understand: the trains with which the missionaries travel are third class carriages. Although there are cubicles with beds, as this is an overnight trip, there are no doors and more than fifty people (mostly Russians) move up down the corridor and unless if you want to read or sleep for seventeen hours, you inevitably become part of this community. He then writes that, while on these trips, he made use of the ample time and opportunities given to him to share the gospel and his testimony to those travelling with him.
To know when to do what, when to keep quiet and when to speak, is not always that easy. But to be a witness means that we have to do both, sometimes emphasising one, but always reflecting the glory of God within the situation.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - Posted by | Mission

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