Look at this image and realize that people in the highlands of Papua New Guinea still ceremonially dress like this…yes, for most of us, this is a completely different world. It is a world separated from most of what we would know as "culture" not only here in the western world but what most people would encounter just about anywhere around the globe.
Our faith community had the HONOR of hosting a Missionary Conference (called a "bung") over the weekend for past, present, and future missionaries to PNG. In addition, we hosted 18 native Papua New Guinea-ans (is that a word?). What a HUGE blessing! I can't even begin to share with you how blessed I was simply to listen to their stories and open MY heart to have these "missionaries" come into my life with THEIR message of salvation and the Jesus that has made Himself real in their lives and in their context. At our worship celebration today, I challenged each person who attended to do three things:
1 – Acknowledge that it is a miracle that God has brought these brothers and sisters to Monroe and that we have an unprecedented opportunity to meet them…so personally meet one of our family members from PNG…
2 – To ask them three questions – what is God doing in your life? What is God doing in your country? And would you have a word for me or us about what we can do to follow Jesus more faithfully?
3 – Lastly, to look for a blessing from these people before they leave our presence. I reminded people that we had been talking about looking for a "person of peace" (based upon Jesus' words Luke 10) that would be welcoming them to build a relational bridge into our community SO THESE PNG missionaries are doing the same…they are looking for relational bridges, a person of peace to welcome them so that they could bring US their gospel!
What a wonderful and blessed day we had! Conversations lasted for a long time after worship and people were genuinely seeking a touch of the Spirit in a new and frest way as we celebrated being a Christ centered family of those gathered from around the globe. Truly a taste of God's Kingdom…again!
Friends, we don't OWN God…God is moving everywhere. And to have some brothers and sisters come from other places in the world and have the opportunity for them to share THEIR experience of the Gospel has enriched my life and my journey with Jesus more than you can imagine. These people live a different life – one of community, conversation and simplicity of time and space that I can not only envy but pray that I can experience. I am SO glad that they were led by the Lord to my doorstep. PNG Missionaries…wow! I know that is NOT the prime reason they came to our community…but that's the way that I have experienced their presence.