I find myself feeling discouraged all too often, asking the same question over and over again, even though it has been answered for me a million times. How can I make a difference in this ministry? It’s funny how quickly we forget, how quickly we fall back into helplessness, and how quickly we try to take things upon ourselves, instead of letting God lead and control. One of the craziest things that I have learned since being a part of GCMI is that the number one way to build relationships is simply to talk. Crazy, I know. Ministry can be messy and confusing and full of blurred lines, but all of that comes later. It’s the first part that I see myself, my Equip team, and others struggling with. If we would just open our mouths and invest in the millions of people that we see every day, change would surely have an opportunity to show its face. We would see a change of heart, a change of life, and a change that only God can bring; hope in the faces of those we come into contact with, building relationships, bringing life, and restoring what has been lost by the power of the Holy Spirit.
My husband and I have been reaching out to a guy the same age as us. He is from Yemen and works at a corner grocery store. He told my husband a few days ago that he trusted us, because we let him talk to and interact with our sixteen month old daughter. Most of the women that he sees with children shun him when he tries to talk to their babies, but he simply loves children because they are very prized and valued in his culture. He is constantly calling our daughter an angel, admiring her friendliness and beauty. The relationship that we have with our Yemen friend has developed through many conversations, leading to a friendship that is definitely beginning to shift from superficial, small-talk to deep conversations about real life, God, and burdens. And to think that something as simple as hello could be the gateway to a real and beautiful friendship! Our friend is Muslim and my husband is now having conversations about his religion and culture; something our friend is very eager to talk about. As the friendship deepens, we will hopefully begin to introduce the idea of a God who loves and desires a relationship with him. Maybe our friend will quickly accept the Gospel or maybe it will take years for him to allow Christ into his heart or maybe he will stay Muslim for all of his life. But, whatever happens, we will pray for our friend and trust that God can move in his heart, revealing the salvation that we find in Christ.
Sometimes it seems like ministry is for the brave, the strong, and the wise, but even the simple and weak can make a difference. God has given us the ability to have a relationship with Him that is full of beauty, grace, hope, and restoration. Why then would we not extend that same kind of relationship to others? That’s what we all long for, right? To be known, valued, heard—so it only makes sense that we would be investing in those around us, showing love and interest in who they are as individuals.
Talk. It’s something we do every day. Starting a real relationship with someone takes time and lots of investing, but the first step doesn’t have to be anything profound or grand. We simply have to step up and step out, loving others with our words and actions, being willing to initiate with a simple “hello” or “how are you?”