Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Getting out of your comfort zone (3)

As I’m writing about this topic, there are so many stories that I remember. There was often a lot of humour involved, but perhaps I should make that a new topic sometime in the future.
Shortly after we arrived in Swaziland we had our annual Easter Conference. In Africa, Easter is the most important time in the church. From all over the country people congregate for their Easter Conferences – each denomination having its own conference. I had the task to move through the country with our 10-ton truck to collect people from our church for this conference. With my wife, my 8-month old son and myself in the cab of the truck, I started driving through the country from congregation to congregation, collecting people. After about eight hours on the road we arrived at our destination. Most of the places where we went to that day, I had never seen before in my life. Arriving at our destination, we learnt that our family would stay with one of the Swazi evangelists and his wife. This was our first experience staying in the home of someone from a different culture than our own.
What a wonderful experience! These two people just showered their love and care upon us. The conference was held in a rural area, which meant that houses have no electricity or water. We had a gas lamp for light but no way of heating water. In the morning and evening hot water appeared as if by magic so that we could wash ourselves and our son could be bathed. These people just opened their home and their hearts so that we could be comfortable and have a positive experience being with them. What a lesson we learnt in hospitality!
Looking back on our years in Swaziland and thinking of how we had to move out of our own comfort zone, then I see that Easter weekend in 1985 as one of the times that God really prepared us in a very gentle way for our years in Swaziland. And I think that this is something which has to be said – God certainly wants us to move out of our comfort zone in order to become more usable for Him. There is no doubt in my mind about this. But God tends to work in a gentle way with us. God knows that we come from certain backgrounds and cultures. He knows our circumstances better than we know it ourselves. If we are willing to move forward with Him, we don’t have to fear this process of getting out of our comfort zones. This is a journey (a very exciting and adventurous journey) that we are going on with Him as our partner.

A last remark: I have added a new topic on the right in my blog: Books that I’m reading. I think that I can be officially categorised as a bibliophile! I seldom read only one book at a time. But some of you may be interested in this.

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Monday, July 9, 2007 - Posted by | Comfort Zone, Mission, Theology

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