Learning to be a Learner

This past week I spent four days in Norcross, Georgia to complete my Greenlight internship training.

And it was INCREDIBLE.

While I could regale you with hilarious stories about the four of us who were there for training, I will hold back. Instead, I want to share three things I learned that stood out to me the most.

1. Be a learner

All four of us girls are going to live in cross-cultural environments for two months this summer. That’s an exciting prospect, as well as stress-inducing. Thailand and Peru might sound a bit more exotic, but Clarkston has been dubbed America’s Most Diverse Square Mile by Time Magazine. Point being, we will all be in places where we are unfamiliar with the culture. We were given the advice to approach this experience as a learner. We aren’t there to sell anything, we aren’t pushing agendas, we are simply there to learn.

2. Everyone should be able to follow Jesus within their own culture and their own language. 

It’s sad to me that this seems like a radical statement. Christianity is generally given the face of the white North-American. This is hardly true. Christianity looks like this:

And this.

The term “Christian” has garnered a negative connotation over the centuries, from the Crusades to Jim Jones. If the message Jesus taught is true, everyone should be able to follow him without giving up their culture and their language. As the author Darrell Whiteman said, ‘”Jesus” is God spelled out in a language humans can understand’.

3. Prevenient Grace

God is already in Clarkston. I am not taking him there. I am going to find him there. In the midst of transition, fear, and unknowing, God is there. It seems to me Jesus always had a knack for showing up where he was least expected, and where he was most needed. I have no doubt he has already been working in the lives of those I am going to meet this summer. And I am so honored and thrilled to go with the purpose of learning and sharing their stories.

This post was a bit wordier than I like, but I felt so strongly that I should share what I have been learning recently. And this is just a portion.

What do you think? Have you ever had a cross-cultural experience? I’d love to know what you think about missions or cross-cultural work. Get the conversation started! You know you want to.

P.S. We had fun exploring Atlanta, too. Pardon the crappy phone quality. I think the quality of the subject makes up for it. ;)

Piedmont Park | Atlanta

Piedmont Park | Atlanta