Learn to Listen
God always gets there before we do, whether 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 each and every situation before we get there. The first thing we must do in any mission context is to listen. I never tire of 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, we must understand their questions, hopes, aspirations, dreams, cultural values, and 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, sorrow, suffering, doubts, and uncertainties before we ever dare to speak. Thus in Jesus Christ, silence becomes the way of meaningful listening, compassion and prayer.