To say that education and Christianity have always been a part of my life is a fairly literal truth. I was born to educators who were serving at a school in Belize. I’m sure they would agree that there were years when the value of those influences on my decisions was questionable at best. My teenage years were rife with shortsighted, selfish choices, and I had a bad taste in my mouth for what I would later describe as the high-beams of religiosity. When, in an instant, I was brought to my knees in humility and a fresh, personal understanding of God, I tried to not forget just how it felt to be a non-Christian surrounded by Christians.
How exactly did it feel to me? It’s been awhile now, but I’d liken it to how a mule must feel in a herd of unicorns. That may not be how the unicorns would see it, but that, in my mind, was itself part of the problem.
This influenced my decision to go on a walk, throughout the US Midwest, when I was 19 years old. Logging over a thousand miles, I stopped at dozens of churches in small towns along the way. The plan was simple, and I went with a letter from my home pastor. Find a church, ask permission to use some of their green space for my tent, and talk to them about joys and challenges in their town. I was too young to give any advice, but just the right age to think I had plenty to give. Still, I was aware of my role in this homespun experiment/adventure as the conversationalist. I carried all that I needed on my back, asked for no rides, water, or food. I just wanted to talk. You may be surprised by the number of churches that didn’t give me enough time for an elevator pitch. I was walked off, backed off, and turned away because they didn’t take “vagabonds”. That was [insert organization’s name’s] job, and I should go talk to them.
Mule among unicorns.
I ended my walk after a couple of months because talking to churches was starting to make me bitter toward Christians. Nonetheless, it solidified my faith in God and the Church. For those months, I was largely by myself, but never alone. I was forced to confront Need, and my needs were always met. I saw good, and bad, regardless of where the owners of those actions would find themselves on Sunday morning, and I found that no matter what, the Church is still God’s body. Broken? Yeah, we are. Sometimes we’re unaware of our brokenness, even belligerently so, but still God hangs on. His grace is enough, more than, a fact that’s hard to really comprehend when all is going well.
So, as we set our eyes on Kandern, on what God has in store for us there, we go with our eyes wide open. The Church has its struggles, and Christians don’t always represent the way they should. Have I blinded people with my high-beams, or driven right past without them even knowing I was there for lack of any light? What impressions have I left behind? Still, God is doing good things, with good people, and we want to help. We’re excited about what BFA is doing, and we’re humbled to join them as they support and serve missionary families.