The glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God, is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe. God will continue to save souls even though we seek to proclaim this gospel with all our inadequacies. Ray and Jan Downing, contemporary missionary doctors serving in Kenya, recently identified some of our inadequacies as: the wrong use of our resources, an unhealthy focus on differences, and our attitude that we have all the answers and therefore cannot listen or learn from others.
Resources will always be part of mission, but they do not have to be barriers. The gap they create can be narrowed by "keeping our resources from stealing the show so that we can truly do what we are sent to do." We are sent to evangelize and disciple.
The gospel we bring is a gift from God to them although it is wrapped in our human person and expressed through our limitations and culture. Presenting this gift will lead to "... hours of making friends, hours of unwrapping the gift together. For when we unwrap it together we can decide what to do with the wrapping and together we might be able to see the gift we are becoming to each other." Thus we will appreciate our human differences and commonalities which in Luzbetak's words "will go a long way towards reducing our ethnocentric tendencies. Our attitudes make it hard to listen to those we go to help. If we listen, the people there will tell us what doesn't fit, where, and even why. Yet we are willing to listen to the summaries of anthropologists and researchers if we have the chance. These people write their summaries by listening. Then why can't we listen ourselves and learn? Perhaps the people we go to are not worth listening to, for they are not like us (Downing, 1996).
This gospel of Jesus Christ is relevant to all ages, cultures, and peoples, but its communication must be contextualized in order for it to be experienced as the living message of God. It is the wonderful news to all the people of the world, who finally may come to God and to life without hindrance. It remains our task to so closely follow the Spirit of the risen Christ that we do not hinder His work in our complex age.
"And Thine is the Kingdom," oh Lord!!!
Ever in His mercy,
Joy and Cyprian
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