United in Love
Missionary serving in media
In my first term overseas, I have partnered with five organizations in four countries. These partnerships were unexpected, but so beneficial. I worked on projects I never could have dreamed about. We were united in Christ, not in denomination or doctrine. We were united in love, not in culture or language.
This made things difficult. Communication wasn’t easy. Conveying complex ideas took time, and many mistakes were made. Forgiveness was a necessity. As the production unfolded, our Western and Eastern cultures began to butt heads.
I was too blunt. As an American, I am task-oriented. And in the fast-paced world of technology and media, this is an important aspect for project completion, but doesn’t always go over so well in the Eastern way of life.
They are more relational. They wanted to talk, to learn, to listen, to take the time to laugh. This is not to say they were lazy or avoided work. No, they indeed got down to business when it was time. They just have a different approach.
Each media project I participated in had one purpose, which was to further Christ’s kingdom. We all wanted to honor Christ; we just had different approaches.
The transformation I saw in the partnership was in me. I am beginning (only just beginning) to see myself from outside my own culture. It is a scary and intimidating process. I am learning to slow down and value slow conversations, getting to know someone a little deeper, rather than always worrying about what to check off my to-do list. And yet I know that my source of real affirmation comes from God’s unconditional love.
God created each one of us in the partnership perfectly. Our personalities, skills, and production approaches are of perfect design to further His kingdom. We must remember the words of Isaiah 41:13, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you” (NIV).