My job this summer has been such an unexpected blessing. I work for conference services at my university and during the summer my school basically turns into a hotel where groups and camps stay. Occasionally, we get a chance to talk to some of our clients and I’ve had some of the most interesting conversations about Christ, sin, culture, politics, religion, ect. It’s been such as good thing and I’m always surprised when it happens.
I was monitoring in the theater tonight for Worldview, and I started talking to a man about traveling, studying abroad, and my experience being an exchange student. He told me has also traveled most of his life and has met people from all over the world. We started talking about the differences between cultures, particulary French and American, and how Americans are more public about their personal lives while the French are more private. As we were talking about this, he began to tell me a story about a Russian girl at his church who told him that Americans just give their smiles away and it means nothing, but when Russians smile they are giving you their whole heart; a part of themselves. He explained to her that when Americans give a smile, we are acknowledging you as a fellow human being. In this moment they both shared a common understanding and respect of each other’s cultures. But the last thing he said was, “Isn’t it amazing that despite where we come from, we as Christians share a common foundation. And that’s Christ. Because we make an effort to understand each others’ cultures, we understand that forming those relationships will be different or slower-paced than we are used to, but the same goal is there for both of us. The goal is to share Christ.”
Such a thought-provoking statement, and one that stirred my heart and prayers for those sharing the gospel in foreign countries. The same need for Christ is there, and I pray that the Sprit will break down those cultural barriers so the truth can be proclaimed to all the nations.