“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” –Acts 1:8
I’ve written before about how traveling is not my strong suit. All the preparations, arrangements, worries, unknowns…Why not just stay home and stream the world on TV?
Well, that’s not a very Christian attitude. Before Jesus left, he told his followers to be travelers, even “to the end of the earth.” I’ve always taken that as a mandate to complete a task, telling everybody about Jesus. But being a witness to the gospel isn’t just talking to people; it’s also getting acquainted with them, living with them, and learning from them.
And isn’t that how we’re supposed to orient ourselves to the world if we’re Christian? Travel to places unknown. Connect with people and cultures, and have open hearts and minds while doing so. Rely on the hospitality of strangers. Discover a larger, more beautiful creation than just that of our home or subdivision.
Maybe we should take a cue from Susan Mink, who took Jesus’ words seriously. She and her husband, in semi-retirement, spend half their year at home in Virginia and the other half in other locales. As she says on her website, nestingabroad.com, “Our goal is to be in each of the locations that we’ve chosen long enough that we have a real ‘feel’ for the place and live as a local, not just a tourist...We’ve been able to spend entire days in museums instead of rushing through and just seeing the high points, we’ve taken part in festivals and gotten the spirit of the city, and best of all, we’ve made local friends.”
How our eyes and spirits must widen when we make “local friends” in locales foreign to us.