The Apostle Paul said to the people of Colosse, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Col 4:5-6).
Apostle Paul is speaking to believers and reminding them of the outsider’s perspective. When you are in the “inside” it is easy to forget about what the outsider is feeling. Being in Indonesia has reminded me once again what it feels like to be an outsider. Trying to learn a new language, getting adjusted to a new culture, and transitioning to a new place all fuel the feeling of being an “outsider.”
In fact, Christina and I talked about how our hearts are growing for international students. We have talked about some of the things that we can do for them when we get back to Ann Arbor. Isn’t it amazing how being in someone else’s shoes and having an “outsider’s” perspective increases our understanding and love?
Even though the process of trying to be an “insider” is taking some time, I don’t know if being an “outsider” is completely a bad thing. It is opening up so many opportunities for me to talk with people by asking questions. There have been divine opportunities where God is allowing us to build relationships. I don’t know what it is, but I am surprised at the number of awesome connections that we have had just by following God’s lead.
I have already built some great relationships with our neighbors. I have built some relationships with the securities guards at various places, since I am the official driver for my family and the team. I also built some relationships with some college students who are back in the area for summer vacation (yesterday I had a great conversation with one student who gave me insights to this culture). I have reconnected with our alumni. I have met some new people who fall into the target group that we are trying to reach (expats, Indonesian who studied aboard, and Indonesian who speak English).
The harvest is truly plentiful.
The other day, the team and I went into a cafe to get on the internet. As the evening went on, the cafe quickly turned into a bar and a place for live music and dancing. As we were finishing off and the band was playing, they were calling different people to come up and sing. I saw this as an “opportunity” and therefore talked with the person in charge and asked if someone from America can sing. I was surprised that they were open to it, so we had one of our team members go up and sing. I started to get some ideas of an outreach event in the future 🙂
The opportunities are endless if we are sensitive enough to listen to the Holy Spirit’s leading. This is how we want to keep on doing ministry. It is just more fun this way!
Some of the women on our team connecting with one of our alumni
Sam building relationships at our informal church gathering
Irene getting an opportunity to sing in the open stage
We visited an Indonesia church on Sunday to get a feel of the spiritual climate here
The intensity of team members when using the internet… now if they can be like this for evangelism 🙂