God Always Gets There Before We Do
God always gets there before we do: whether that is in the jungles of West Papua; the streets of Melbourne; the tenements of Glasgow; or the boulevards of Los Angeles. God does not leave himself without a witness. Thus, there is a genuine sense in which we must engage in mission in reverse because the Spirit is present in every situation before we get there. The first thing we must do in any mission context is to listen. I never tire reminding students that they must listen, and then listen, and listen, and listen, and then listen some more. I say that because the women and men God has called us to engage are and must be our teachers. If we are to engage them seriously, then we must understand their questions, their hopes, their aspiration, their dreams, their cultural values, and their understanding of God. So, we must avoid speaking or attempting to share our faith too soon. So, listening must be our starting point in our journey of mission. We must first understand their pain, their sorrows, their suffering, their doubts, and their uncertainties before we ever dare to speak. Thus, in Jesus Christ, silence becomes the way of meaningful listening, compassion and prayer.
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