It’s been some time, now, when we were in the middle of preparations to leave the country for three short, but seemingly long, months.
Training. Cultural awareness. Emails. Keeping friends and family updated. Medical appointments and appropriate immunizations. House sitters. Business client arrangements. And the list goes on.
A recent, and random, conversation opened a door for my nostalgic yearnings. This woman began by telling our gathered group about her receiving a special educational recognition for a thesis on the underground church – in China. Of course, my ears perked up hearing “China” mentioned. After our conversation ran it’s course, I went back to her comment….asking, “When were you in China? Where did you spend your time? How long were you there? What did you do there?”
When she told me the cities she visited, I was elated that I ‘knew’ what she was describing! I learned she participated in work similar to something my husband did at one time…in the same area. An area I also enjoyed seeing through my own eyes.
“It changed my life,” she said. She was there 19 days, fifteen years ago. She still yearns to return.
Yes, short-termers are impacted by the unique experiences that gives appetite for more.
It’s different than the tourist appeal. Seeing the sights of a new and foreign place are fascinating and full of curiosities. But, what my new friend and I experienced was more than a tour. It’s the interaction of living and engaging with those who live there. To share our lives and our Good News with anyone who asked.
A love for the people grows. The place warms our heart. We stand in awe of the privilege we received first hand… not from a tour bus…but getting off the bus and to experience blessings beyond description.
“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.“