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By: John Herrington on: November 27, 2012
Story Type: Story    

Avoiding Homogeneous Blobs

As a new missionary preparing to go to the field, you live a life of transition. You have one foot in everything you know and one foot out the door. This is where my family finds ourselves this fall. The Lord has been unbelievably faithful in providing support for our ministry, and after six years of serving on short-term trips, we’re finally able to labor with and for our brothers and sisters in Rio Hondo, Guatemala.

But in transition, we are learning to hold things loosely. Whether it is relationships, possessions, or comforts, we are learning to let go and embrace new beginnings. This is no small feat when, like me, you’ve lived in one city for practically your entire life. Even more difficult with grandparents who have to say goodbye to their first grandson.

It’s tough, but it’s worth it. We’re leaving one family to join another. We leave behind friends and family in Dallas, but we gain hundreds of Guatemalan children that are poverty-stricken, desperate for attention, and starving for hope. Thankfully, we bring good news.

In preparation for the field, we’ve been attending Perspectives, a class on God’s heart for the nations, and we’re learning a ton of valuable lessons. One of the most recent is based on assimilating into the Guatemalan culture versus imposing our American culture upon them.

We’re learning that we are to “become like” the culture we bring the gospel to, while helping those who believe to “remain like” their people, socially and culturally. We “become like” so they can “remain like.” This is what we’re called to do, to make disciples in every tribe, tongue, and nation — not to create another conservative Baptist from Dallas who loves playing ultimate frisbee, listening to gospel rap, and eating Mexican food.

God doesn’t want a homogenous blob of believers. Instead, he desires the unique worship that can only come from each and every tribe and tongue.

What does that mean for my family as we prepare to move to another country? Well, for starters, maybe we should leave our wardrobes in Dallas and buy local Guatemalan garb. Maybe wearing shorts should be reserved for playing sports instead of any day that it’s comfortable for me. If my family is to “become all things” to our Guatemalan brothers and sisters in Rio Hondo, then our personal comfort and enjoyment is not ultimate — God’s glory is.

Deeper than my desire to wear shorts on a daily basis is my longing to see the kids and teenagers in Rio Hondo plant their own church, extend the love of Christ to their village, and one day take the good news of Jesus to the Middle East.

Jesus, the Son of God, became like us and experienced life as we do when He wrapped himself in flesh and walked among us. With Christ as our model, we can “become like” those whom we serve, and more effectively share with them the good news of true, lasting transformation in Jesus.

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