Christianity Across Cultures
By Ashley Binnebouse
“Missions Month” was one of my fondest Sunday school memories. Although the missionaries that our church supported were talked about all year long, during that time we got a more in depth perspective. Within that month, there would always be one Sunday where our classrooms were transformed to resemble different countries. By doing so, we were able to travel around the “world” learning about other cultures, sampling food, and praying for their communities. I understood that there were Christians, just like me, around the globe.
With time though, the similarities can begin to fade and the disparities grow. Instead of using words like “us” or “we”, people can become preoccupied with “me” and “them”. With such attitudes, missions opportunities gradually dwindle and our relationships can dissipate. Without connection to our brothers and sisters in Christ cross culturally, we can become divided. So inwardly focused, we miss the point entirely. We become blind to the beauty in both acknowledging our differences, yet understanding the depth of our unifying faith.
I’ve served close to home and abroad. In every place, I’ve grown in faith. In every place, strangers have become family. In every place, I’ve seen the struggle of sharing Christ within our communities. In every place, I’ve anticipated the diversity of heaven with excitement. In every place, I’ve seen heartbreak and pain. In every place, I have been encouraged to continue serving. In every place, the Holy Spirit has moved.
My experiences on mission trips have allowed me to have interactions with the global church that not only impact me, but impact others. I pray for my brothers and sisters now more than ever, and I know they pray for me as well.