July 4th, 2015 by Clint Kandle
People change, grow and develop into new people. And though family and close community can be wonderful, they can also stifle us or tempt us to stay where we are instead of stepping out on the path that Jesus has set. If you spoke to people from my hometown, they would likely paint a completely different picture of who I was as a Christian in years past than who I am now. I always viewed foreign missions as a distraction from the work we need to do here. Mind you, I did very little work here, but in my mind, it was always local work or foreign work, us or them. My entire view was predicated on human understanding, not God’s economy. In the past several months, God has been showing me just what John Wesley meant when he called for “both/and” not “either/or”.
Why the change? I see needs being met on both sides of the ocean, and people growing in Christ because of the relationships being formed. Suddenly, it is not a choice. We are called to action simply because of life’s demands locally, but our vision can become stilted and distorted without a larger perspective. We are providing material support, educational and financial assistance to a small degree, but they are offering us so much in return. Their natural penchant for community and family can help us regain our priorities in Christ. Our clergy and lay people coordinating the training describe to a person the harmony and spiritual refilling that they experienced in the process. Though tired, they are returning recharged.
Join us Sunday as Bishop Carl, Father Ivan and Sheryl share their adventures. As they describe the fellowship and relationships that they experienced, ask yourself how these lessons will help us better serve those around us. Do not look at the pictures and videos as exotic, far-off events but as family photos and home movies. Think I’m getting carried away? Come Sunday and look for the picture of Bishop Sospeter in his home, surrounded by the visitors to his diocese. He is in the background, in his bare feet, eating a banana. You might miss it because the moment is fleeting, but he has the look of a father, pleased by the interaction of his growing family. The Canon of Kibondo recently shared the prayer concerns for the diocese. They are praying for our specific needs and sharing their concerns. Little by little, we are beginning to connect in meaningful ways. How much more will we be able to connect with those within our reach if we allow those an ocean away to help shape our perspective and priorities?