Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Break blog

Christmas Break update:
So I’m home for Christmas break! I’ve been home about a week and a half now. It’s been great so far! It’s so strange being back in the states though. I would have never guessed there’d be a culture shock in coming back to where you’re from, but when you’re in an entirely different culture for a while and come back to something/ anything completely different- it does throw you off a bit! 
So yes, I’m back in the states, where there is heaps of fast food and easy, cheap things! Where you can drive around on the right side of the road and drive thru restaurants; where denominations matter a whole lot and churches are on every corner. I sort of did miss seeing churches everywhere, come to think of it. I never realized how unchurched Australia was when moving there, but compared to the states, it is so obviously different in every sense. But, my Heart for the country is that others will realize it’s still a mission field even though it’s not a 2nd or 3rd world country. 1st world countries need Jesus just as much as the rest of the world. 
The difference is how witnessing and ministry is gone about.
In the south, practically every person, if not everyone, has heard about Jesus and knows or recognizes a bible story or two. So ministry here, in my opinion, is tweaking people’s views on God, Jesus, the church, and Christians so that we share the True view and true points about our God and what we believe, hoping our actions line up with the preaching they've heard. It most likely looks like helping people-reaching out for the people that need to be drawn to God through community and sharing love.
In places where Jesus is more unheard of, it’s about basic simplicity of sharing the Gospel in understandable language; for the unchurched people in a society where talking about God, Jesus, or bible stories isn't as common don’t need big, religious words they haven’t heard of or know the meaning. They need Jesus and they need to know why they need Jesus. 

Oh dear, don’t know what exactly what started that bit, but I guess through this Journey I’ve been finding my passions, more about the world, and being more aware about knowing  the culture/people/society/issues of the environment you are currently in. No matter where you are, it is important to question: what is the most I can do here, how can I get involved, and how can I help?

 For West Monroe, I’d say 3 things are quite important: 
1. With the incredibly heart wrenching number of suicides in the parish just during 2011, it is vital to help be the change in this “trend”-more like epidemic.  Since there’s no one thing to pin point suicides to, God is our only answer, and prayer should be our first response. 

2. Bringing the body of Christ together as a whole and looking past denominational differences is a major goal that should be worked towards so that WE as God’s church, together as one, have no dissension among ourselves. We should love our friends and family despite any differences on how we “do church” or worship, for our love for God should be enough to continue to lift up each other despite any personal preferences or convictions. Who wants to be part of a religion that fights among itself? What kind of body is that?

3.I don’t know if I feel so strongly about this subject because I’m occasionally (when I lived here) involved in helping the homeless, but it’s SO OBVIOUS to anyone even going through the Ouachita parish area that there is a relatively large number of homeless people. Anyone driving for more than 5 minutes is sure to see someone either sitting on the corner of the street asking for a lift, money, a job, or food. There is just about always people walking around with large backpacks or things (or sometimes nothing at all) that is the entirety of their belongings, walking from place to place-to either get to work or just wandering.  If you have any spare change to your name at all, you are considered to be in the top 8% of the wealthiest people in the world. You just bought a $9 meal at chick-fil-a, and then say you don’t have a dollar to give to the man and wife walking right beside your car starving? (now of course, I know good judgment should be used before giving someone a ride or something like that, especially if you’re female-that’s common sense, but there are so many things you can do to help out besides that- volunteer at a shelter, a soup kitchen, under the bridge ministries, etc.) 

Anyways, basically, there’s always more that can be done. 
You can talk less trash,gossip, negative comments to your church friends about “oh them Baptists… oh those pentacostals… the ___(insert any denomination here)”… other people that aren’t Christians hear it.They do. 
And there are always prayers to be prayed for the friends and family that are permanently left with the aftermath of a suicide. Praying that there are no more certainly helps, but I personally pray more for peace of mind and heart of the friends and family of the person.  
And there’s always a little bit extra you can do to give to or help the homeless and needy in the area. 

Your mission field is not only whatever location God has put on your heart to do missions abroad, but as a Christian, your mission field is anywhere you are standing. 

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