A Piece of the Puzzle
7 Jul 2021
My cross-cultural journey began as a teenager, when my family moved to a hippie commune in NSW. The alternate community was a cultural group, full of spiritual seekers needing the gospel. We spent Sundays at the local markets, and had church in our living room with a handful of other believers. Outreach meant visiting friends in other communes and sitting in one-of-a-kind home-made houses, talking about faith, art and life.
From my youth, God put it on my heart to tell others about Jesus. A missionary had visited a Church I attended and said that there was no church in their city. Everywhere I had lived in Australia, there had been churches and so it seemed obvious that if I were to tell people about Jesus, I needed to leave Australia.
In university, I studied languages in preparation for mission. I later married my wife and we left for East Asia with our son. In Asia, I learned about unengaged and unreached people groups – people groups with few or no believers, and no missionaries to reach them. Naturally, that is where we went. Outreach meant driving up into the mountains to make new friends, eat strange foods, pray, and share about Jesus as much as they would listen. Just like my experience in the hippie communes, I was now sitting in strange home-made houses, surrounded by nature, eating home-grown food, and pointing people to Jesus. I think that is basically what cross-cultural ministry means – meeting people where they are, on their terms, and leading them to Christ.
For most of my life, I avoided getting a smart phone or using social media. I don’t like email. I like peace and quiet. I like “real” life and being real with people.
Last year, coronavirus meant we couldn’t physically go… anywhere. At the same time many unreached youth around the world were doom-scrolling their life away, desperately needing good news. A friend showed me a “how-to” video about running gospel ads among unreached people, through social media. So, I did something very unnatural to me – I opened a social media account, uploaded a gospel video in a local language, paid $15 dollars and waited. Thousands of people saw it. People heard about Jesus in their own language for the first time! They “liked” it and even shared it with their friends.
Rome built roads that enabled the spread of the gospel. The internet is a bit like the roman roads. It gives special access to otherwise inaccessible places. For that reason, I’ve invested long hours over the past year, building a witness online. I fully expect this will enable many to know Christ. But I also know that my $15 ad, is just one piece in the puzzle. I must use everything I have, and do whatever it takes, to see people saved. I still need to “go”.
– J.S, a Pioneers worker serving in Asia
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