When we think of what is implied in calling oneself a “Christian,” any of several associations may immediately come to mind, such as having your kids participate in Upward sports or eating Wednesday night dinner with others at your church. Whatever the resulting mental image may be for you, it’s likely that it will be one that is seen through a heavily tinted Western lens. But what does Christianity look like for those whose stories differ from ours? How can we broaden our understanding of how Christ works throughout the world, rather than just in the lives of those from the United States and other developed countries? And most importantly, what can we learn from Christians of other cultures?
These are not simple questions, of course, as they can each have numerous answers. Like any venture in faith, though, finding the complex answer begins with a single step in the direction of that pursuit. As a church, we now have a way to step forward in that direction through our new partnership with a congregation in Meknes, Morocco. This congregation is largely led by college/graduate students who represent heritages from a wide array of countries, such as Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and even Haiti. Many of them have given all their spare time and resources to keep this church alive while trying to study and provide for their families. In addition to those who are regular staples of the church, there are also many more faces who are just passing through that this church serves as well. These individuals are refugees who have traveled for hundreds of miles, often on foot, to attempt to cross the border into Spain in an effort to make better lives for their families. Although these travelers are in unstable and often dangerous situations, the congregation with which we are partnering acts as a place of rest and care when they need it most. They are living out the story of the Good Samaritan on a daily basis.
Our partnership is not a sponsorship. The church in Meknes was certainly thriving before our involvement and would likely remain that way even if we had never crossed paths. Our partnership with this congregation is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to step outside of our own worldviews to see Christ through the lives of others. It is a chance for us to learn from them, and them from us, sharing with each other our burdens and joys and everything in between. Most importantly, though, it is an opportunity for both our church and theirs to experience a sample of what it is like to be unified in worship with other believers across the globe. Our backgrounds, languages, and day-to-day circumstances may differ significantly, but we are united by the faith in a God who loves us all. If you would like to learn more about how to be involved in this partnership, please contact Kate Godwin at firstname.lastname@example.org or Susan Reed at email@example.com. Let’s see where God can lead us, together.
~Kate Godwin, Missions Committee Chair