I have to say that it has been a relief to get some Bible study going. For all our desire to be holistic in our work, it is no easy thing to make expressions of faith a seamless part of the activities that are less religious per se. Perhaps that will come with practice, but for now we rely upon the reading and study of Scripture to be the primary point of departure for religious discourse. By always making ourselves available to anyone interested to talk, pray, or study at any time, we create a lot of open doors for those who are already friends. No pressure, just availability, and service in the mean time. So far God is blessing this lifestyle.
We are asked from time to time how exactly we are evangelizing. While I take issue with the definition of gospel proclamation that the question usually implies, I understand what the inquisitive are getting at. For the better part of this first year, the answer has been simply that we were not yet. Try having a conversation about things that actually matter in a second language some time. It’s a riot. On top of that--and I fear too many of us will have already tried this--go ahead and attempt the conversation with someone who doesn’t know you and has no reason to trust you, much less listen to your thoughts on the subject. No, our first year has been about language and culture learning and relationship building. While God has the right to speak when and where he will, we ambassadors must earn the right to speak and then proceed carefully.
The answer now that we are to the point of more programatic verbal proclamation is that we are studying the Gospel of Mark with anyone who is willing. We have a Tuesday Bible reading session at the community library, a Thursday study with our friends at the Hotel Roble you’ve heard about before, and a Saturday night study with the McKinzie’s house owners (the whole family). At each of these we are working through the story of Jesus according to Mark. It’s a wonderful study that I hope to write more about elsewhere. Suffice it to say here that we are hoping God will call these people to follow the Jesus they come to know through Mark. It has been a joy to experience the way students want to bring friends into the study.
In addition, we’ve had the privilege to continue studying on Wednesday nights with our non- denominational friends and their contacts. We’ve completed the whole book of Mark and begun Acts. We look forward to all of God’s work through the message of his kingdom and grace. I am so thankful to have the riches of the biblical witness.