For GCMI, we want to always reach out to internationals with a focus on building bridges back home. For example, one grad student explained that every week when she called her boyfriend in China, she shared what she was learning in Bible study. Another scholar is now in a house church in Taipei. Yet another shared that when he traveled home he explained to his parents that the stories in the bible communicate what is true and that Jesus has changed his life. Currently, we are saying farewell to international students who are leaving NYC for the Summer with plans to consider discipleship and baptism while visiting with their families in Asia.
A few years ago, I was excited as I sat across from an international student volunteering with our ministry. "I'm so excited you're working with us," I said, "let's go to the Chinese community and find people who will listen to us sharing the gospel." But his response caught me a little off-guard, "Oh I can't do that." "Why not?" I replied. He answered honestly, "Because I only know how to talk about Christian things in English. It would feel weird talking about them in Mandarin."
Often, when American Christians win someone to Christ, we are thrilled -- as we should be -- but too often we are so excited to win that one that we forget to adjust our methods so that bridges are more easily built to back home. Therefore, for GCMI missionaries, when we study the bible, we want to encourage them to read it in their own language, and we even encourage them to wrestle with the discussion questions with one another in their own language as well. (They can then recap for us what they discussed). We want to facilitate them internalizing the gospel within their culture & language. And we encourage them to meet with friends in a small group or house church while in the city reflecting what it might be if they open the bible with friends or family back home. We don't want to make them American Christians; we want them to choose Jesus and be a bridge to their culture and to their family.
Pray with us for bridges of the gospel to extend to family and friends from global cities to countries around the world. Pray with us for those who hear the gospel to embrace it and to mature in the Spirit. Pray for us that we might share the good news boldly but also with wisdom so that we are always building bridges across cultures.
By: J. Looney in NYC