504 Java Profile

504 Java Profile
Two of my favorite things

Sunday, June 6, 2010

On thinking about the Great Commission

I have a lot to learn. I know that the leaders of our convention are good men with hearts for God and with a passion for the message of redemption in Jesus to be known across the world. I believe that the mission field is ripe for harvest, both in the United States and abroad. I believe that there are “unreached people groups” in every corner of every city, county (parish), and state in the USA as well as in every country in the world.

This is on my mind because I am in the airport in Cancun, waiting to catch a plane for Havana, Cuba where I will (with my co-laborer in ministry Tim Searcy) work with Cuban students who are also professors and pastors. They will take my notes, such as they are, and translate them, correct the cultural difficulties, and make them their own. Then they will take their lessons and teach pastors, youth ministers, children’s workers, and laypersons all over Cuba. So far, over 1800 followers of Christ in Cuba have been trained by Cuban professors.

As we had to get to the airport 4 hours ahead of our flight in order to buy a ticket on Mexicana Airlines, we were able to sit in a coffee shop and watch the worship service at my church, FBC of New Orleans via internet streaming. Our waiter looked over our shoulders and Tim was able to witness to him and to lead him in a prayer of decision for Christ. A lady from TGI Fridays (Selena) walked out where we had found a plug to recharge computers (where I sit now) and Tim was able to witness to her in Spanish as well.

My point is this. What if instead of making such a big deal about redirecting funds to the International Mission Board (which I do not necessarily oppose), we spent our personal funds and energy simply learning another language? It is said that if you speak three languages, you are trilingual, and if you speak two languages, you are bilingual, but if you speak only one language, you are an American. I can converse enough in Spanish to tell the security lady who just came by that I am boarding a flight in an hour. But I do not know enough to share the Gospel and respond to her questions. And that is to my shame.

I wonder what might happen if I–if all of us–pick a language and learn it well. I need to pick up both Tagalog (Filipino) and Spanish which are used in the two places that God has seen fit to allow me to minister the most. I have seen faces light up when I tried to learn the language–it is a sign of respect and a pathway to sharing the Gospel.

Rosetta Stone, here I come.

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