God has given me the privilege of visiting many different countries in all my years of doing missions. It seems as if in every country, God teaches me a different lesson; but at the same time, they are lessons that have a lot of common threads. As I give this more thought, there are several commonalities or traits that unite all the experiences together. No matter what country or culture, these traits open up opportunities for relationships and ministry.
2) LANGUAGE. I find it interesting how people find it endearing when we are able to speak their language. Even though it is just several phrase (with horrible pronunciation), they are encouraged when they see us trying. It shows that we want to enter into their “world” and there is an instant connection. Recently, with the youth of Lampung we taught them the word, “holla!” (bringing a little bit of gangsta flavor). Then we made it into a response to “Pugi Tuhan” (praise the Lord). It was an instant hit!
3) LOVE. The language of love is universal. It comes in all different forms – love for the host country’s food, love for the people, love for the culture, and etc. It is incredible to see the things that God accomplishes when this language of love is spoken. It becomes a bridge for strong relationships. It becomes the avenue for new opportunities. It becomes the gateway to a person’s heart. This is one language we need to be fluent in.
4) LIFE-GIVING. Whenever we go into a country and meet various people, we want to be a life-giving missions team. To be “life-giving” is to simply be an agent of bringing the hope of the Gospel and the blessings of God to an area or to a person. As we come with this kind of attitude, it has always brought a kindred spirit with people. People want to always be around other people who are living with hope, faith and love.