Knocking on Immigrant Doors in Atlanta
When I signed up for the Reach Atlanta trip, I was very skeptical. I mean, it's three days long. Who has ever heard of a 3 day trip.... especially one that wasn't a camp or a weekend Bible Club? What could I possibly accomplish on a 3 day mission trip? But off I went on Friday, trusting that God had some awesome things in store. I can honestly say, He did NOT disappoint! I spent three days in Clarkston - less than 72 hours - and Jesus showed up in incredible ways.
One of the most impactful experiences I had on this Reach Atlanta trip with my fellow GFCers was some great teaching about cross-cultural missions. 2.8 million people unreached. 6,500 people groups unreached. Less than 10% of missions work is done with these people. Whoa! Those are some incredible numbers, and I don't mean incredible in a good way. We walked through the Bible with an emphasis on the whole world, all the nations. We learned about unreached and unengaged people groups. We learned to steward our money well. And we got to do it all in community with fellow believers.
Imagine knocking on doors of people who may or may not speak your language, just to see if they need anything. When is the last time you knocked on your own neighbor’s door? I have to say that I have never even met my neighbor! What can you say to someone who had to flee their homeland as a child, and has yet to find stability and a true sense of the word "home.” During our visit to the local Hindu temple, I found myself overwhelmed. Imagine watching people worship idols and grasping desperately to beliefs that are far from the one true God. Despair and hurt and a longing for something more is so evident. Learning about this culture will help me better relate to those of the Hindu faith.
Saturday, it rained. I'm not talking about a drizzle. I mean a full on pouring rain. So I had big reservations about going out into the community. If we found no one to invite us into their apartment, we’d spend two hours in the rain - not my cup of tea. Here we were - cold, soaked strangers with a different skin tone standing awkwardly at the door, knocking. As I stood there, I couldn't help but selfishly hope for an open door somewhere - not for the opportunity to share Jesus, but just the opportunity to get out of the rain. Yet God seems to work even in our selfish times. We knocked and though there was an extreme language barrier, we were ushered inside to dry off in the home of a Hindu family. Before my time at the temple that very same morning, I would have been totally clueless about their faith. I'm not saying I am a scholar after sitting through one ceremony, but I definitely felt as though I could better relate.
We began by helping the youngest son with his English and Math homework. Then his mama really opened up. We bonded over matching blue toe nail polish, and she told us their story in broken English. They were refugees from Nepal. They had been in Georgia for 5 years. Three years ago, the father had been in a terrible accident and now he has very little mobility on his left side. He also suffers from diabetes. So this sweet mama-who stood at maybe 4'5"-was the provider and caregiver for her family.
After spending about an hour with them, we began to leave to see another family we had met the previous day. The father would have none of that, because unbeknownst to us, mama had went to fix us tea. This sweet family, who had so very little and depended on one small income, took the time to prepare tea for three complete strangers. We visited for another half hour over the hot tea-quite welcome on the cold rainy day.
As we began to leave, we asked if it would be okay to pray with them. They welcomed prayer, and our group was able to pray with these people-people we know to be of the Hindu faith. I can't say they came to faith over this simple meeting, but once again, I am reassured that a seed was planted. I have faith that God with cultivate it.
In answer to my original question: What can I do on a 3 day mission trip? Nothing. I can do nothing. But my God is great and mighty, and He can do remarkable things. I was incredibly blessed by my time in Clarkston!
Posted on Thu, September 26, 2013
by Grace Fellowship Church filed under