Travel Notes from an (Accidental) Global Christian
October 31, 2023
By James Rosa, THRU the BIBLE Global Projects Analyst
I was recently blessed to travel to Southeast Asia to work on several global project initiatives for THRU the BIBLE. I departed with intentions of having a significant spiritual impact on the people and ministries I would be serving. I returned realizing
that I was in fact the one who was significantly impacted.
As I pondered all the people and places I had encountered, I struggled to truly capture the essence of all the intangibles that had so thoroughly influenced my Christian worldview. I just knew I was different. However, a statement made by a colleague
brought much needed clarity to my internal struggle. He said to me, “James, welcome to global Christianity.”
I immediately understood what he meant. Some truths are difficult to comprehensively understand unless you experience them. Not to say that experience is authoritative. We hold to many biblical truths that we might never personally experience ourselves.
However, experience can inform and give context to our understanding of the truth, and one of the benefits of working in Christian ministry on a global scale is its ability to challenge one’s experience.
Here are a few thoughts to illustrate what I mean. I pray they inspire and motivate you to live on mission.
- The centrality of the person and work of Christ as the preeminent object of our faith. In Southeast Asia, like in the U.S., Christians love Jesus Christ. He is precious Lord and Savior to them, just as He is to us. That might seem obvious,
but this reality is profound. We have much more in common than not.
- The centrality of the person and work of Christ as the preeminent need of the unbelieving world. After about 12 hours of being in country, I quickly realized that a city is a city, a mountain is a mountain, and people are people. They look
different, they speak differently, they have a different culture and value system, and yet, they need Christ just like you and I do. That truth gave me a renewed passion and zeal for missions, not only overseas, but here in my hometown.
- Amazing people live everywhere—and I met a few. What do you call someone who started preaching at 14 years old, is one of the primary pastors to his entire people group, oversees 14 churches, conducts two hour-long teachings
every day, has four biological children, ten adopted children, 40 students attending the Bible institute he started, and gets this and so much more done with less than four hours of sleep every night? A gut check. What do you call meeting half a dozen Christians just as fruitful as this man? Cognitive dissonance. Do you think I came home feeling like I was living on mission? No. But thank God for repentance! I might not be that fruitful today, but I can begin sowing so that I might be that fruitful tomorrow.
When you see the amazing work Christians can and are accomplishing around the world, it truly excites, inspires, and challenges you to want to follow them. That is my charge to you. As they follow Christ, as Paul followed Christ, let us all follow Christ—our precious Lord and Savior—and, one by one, get the whole Word to the whole world.