By April Terry (personal blog http://faithwarming.blogspot.com)
The doorbell rang yesterday afternoon and I opened it to a group of three well-dressed women standing there at the door with bibles in their hands. It was Saturday so I knew who they were. The youngest of the three then raised her voice and shyly asked, “Do you speak Spanish”?
“No.” I was a bit confused by the question. Clearly, the young woman spoke English and so it seemed an odd question at the outset. So, I went on, “Why? Are you only looking for Spanish speaking people for your message?” I started to giggle a little at the idea of such highly selective evangelism, and the young girl smiled a little as well. She must not have gotten that question before, but then, she probably got a lot of doors slammed in her face.
“No,” she replied, “It’s just mostly a Spanish-speaking congregation.”
“Oh, I see,” She went on to ask me if I had any Spanish speaking neighbors, and they went on their way.
I probably reacted totally differently than most people. Most probably just want to get rid of door-knocking evangelists as quickly as possible. It wasn’t that I wanted to engage them, but that I was just so surprised to find I didn’t fit the mold for those people whom these folks were specifically targeting.
I’ve spent a lot of time both here in DE land and in my real life practicing ways to make meaningful connections with people, and it honestly has never occurred to me to target any specific group or culture. In fact, I spend my time trying to find ways to widen my spectrum of colors, castes, and cultures, but I wonder how often in our lives we unconsciously limit our connections to those who look, speak, and act the way we do.
Are we sometimes, philosophically speaking, knocking on doors and unconsciously asking for only the specific person we expect to see or are we open to whoever opens the door? I’m sure that most of us have a narrow spectrum by degrees according to our own comfort and safety zone. My goal is to broaden that spectrum every day a little bit more.
In our ministry, our final service of the day has several non-English speaking ladies in it. My language limitation is a struggle, but it doesn’t keep me from making every effort to try. One lady will ramble on to me as if it were the most natural thing in the world for me not to understand her and for her to not understand me. I know a few words, and I translated one verse of “The Old Rugged Cross” into Spanish for that service, but beyond that, I am understandably limited by my miniscule Spanish ability and yet, I don’t feel all that limited. I sense that these ladies have an affection for me because I make an effort to communicate with them in spite of our language differences. I sense that they know that I have an affection for them as well.
I believe that there is something spiritual that goes beyond language and culture and creates relationship without limitation. Understanding someone comes through the eyes and from out of the heart, not from the tongue. Loving and caring for others is universal and can be done in a moment, a day, or for a lifetime, but there is much to be learned by opening ourselves up to the various beautiful cultures that God has created in the world and making an effort to love those who are different from us. The world is a colorful rainbow and we should find ways to be inclusive and open to whoever is beyond the next door.
February 4th, 2013 · 1 Comment
Categories: DE Thoughts