Contact Us in the UK
- Phone: 01302 811319
- Mailing Address: 24 Elmfield Road, Hyde Park, Doncaster, South Yorkshire DN1 2BA
Contact Us in the US
- Phone: 202.468.4571
- Mailing Address: PO Box 5188 Wheaton, IL 60189-5188
Posted by Matt Barton. Matt is sent by his church in Oklanhoma, USA to live and work in Kosova. He reflects on the experience of being immersed in a culture not his own.
Foreigner – alien – stranger – outcast – exile. All of these terms have a negative context in the world which we live in today. However, having become Children of God we are called to a “citizenship in heaven” Phil 3:20. God has blessed me with the fortune to travel outside of my culture extensively and with this I find myself perplexed to see where I fit. The more of His creation he shows me the more I am amazed at his grace and mercy. I see the beauty of a creative and loving God in all cultures. I am challenged to understand what parts of myself are His and what portion is me that must be refined. My inclination is to think that my American mentality towards doing things is always the best and the most appropriate in all situations, alas it is not.
I think God is using this experience of living in Kosova to break the mold I have made around myself and the comforts I have in all the areas of my life. I am learning to let go of the pride and the arrogance that comes with my western citizenship. I am relating to the passage in Hebrews 11 that says all of these great people in scripture have become “strangers or exiles on the earth”. I very much feel a little part of every culture that I have experience and seen through the love of my heavenly Father.
The challenge is feeling all alone. Like there is no one else on the earth like me who has seen what I have seen and had purified from themselves by God what He has driven from me. The other challenge is to seek deep within myself and ask myself what parts of my character and beliefs are from Him and not from me. Which are my culture and which are from scripture. What does Christianity look like from another culture without any Western influences. Please do not mistake the meaning of this. I am proud of my country and it’s freedom and beliefs. I consider it an honor to get to be “America” to the people he allows me to minister to, but I consider it a greater representative to be “Christ Ambassador” 2 Cor. 5:20 and I do not want the former to get in the way of the latter.