I live in a house that has 7 nationalities together around one table. I go to class at an international hub of students with Spanish being our sole common denominator. My friends are German, Irish, Norwegian, Dutch, Chinese, Swiss, French, Japanese, and Italian. With every new friend made, comes differences. Different likes, dislikes, normalcies, values, morals, questions, answers, and yes, even different ways to eat spaghetti. With each different conversation, comes new ways to see the world. With each different way to see the world, comes a new hurdle; How do I speak Truth to this specific different?
I have had a 3-hour conversation with an Irish agnostic that ended with him saying, “ I wish I could believe that such a faith were real, but I can’t.” I have had to try and explain the entire Bible in three minutes to a person from Holland who has never stepped foot into a church of any kind. I have friends here who are eager to learn about Truth, those who are passive about it, and those who have rejected it.
Every time it is different.
“Listen well, reason slowly”. Wise words from my dad that, along with everything that I learned and experienced during my time at Impact 360, has kept my heart, mind, and feet from being swept from underneath me as I encounter the different. It was at Impact 360 that I learned the value of questions. To know what I believe, and to learn about what others believe. To critically think through a different worldview through the lens of Biblical Truth. But not just think about it, to interact with it. Because of the discipleship that I received from Impact 360 and its faculty, I am able to adapt, without conforming. To, just like 1 Peter 3:15 says, “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” To ask questions, to listen well, reason slowly, and respond with confidence because I know my God.
As I look back on the last 45 days and look forward to the next, I am aware now more that ever of how big this world is, how much work there is to be done, and how little I am. But as I look, I also see how benevolent, steadfast, and present the Lord has been. As I continue forward, amidst the woes of learning a different language and dealing with everything that surrounds cultural shock, I will want to walk with timid steps. These people and conversations I have had were not planned or foreseen, and it is often way easier to stay quiet and not barge into uncharted territory. But, the Gospel compels me to something different; To boldly take, without fear, holding fast to the One who transcends every difference, the next step into a glorious unknown.