I’ve traveled over a half-million miles in the last 5 years. Fifteen different countries by a quick tally.
Part of The Stone Table’s organizational mandate is to accelerate The Great Commission through the marketplace, and that Great Commission commands believers to go into all the world to make disciples. We long to help the Gospel go where the Gospel has not gone, and that passion has filled my passport with a vast assortment of visa stamps.
It’s been a beautiful adventure for this white kid from an Indianapolis suburb that reflects an 84% caucasian demographic on the 2020 census report. I do live in the Midwest after all. Which is why it caught me off-guard one morning to look out my home-office window and see two Sikhs in full Indian dress, including matching turbans, walking down the sidewalk in front of my house.
More Than Coincidence?
This has become more than a coincidence. In fact, my family is the only white family in the 7 adjacent houses in our predominantly white suburb. We live next door to two Indian couples and across the street from an immigrant Pakistani family.
I think the Lord winks at us from time to time, and as a guy who has traveled extensively for the advancement of the gospel in recent years, I think this is most definitely one of those moments. It’s not just in my neighborhood. Something interesting is happening all over the world today:
That’s a fancy word for the dispersion of people groups from their original homeland. Jesus called us to go to every tribe, tongue, and nation, but more and more the nations are coming to us, too. Here are just a few examples:
It’s nearly impossible to get Western missionaries into Somalia, but the largest concentration of Somali people outside of Somalia itself lives just a few miles from my daughter’s college campus in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.
China refuses missionary visas and forcibly removes anyone resembling a religious worker from the country, but Chinese exchange students fill the houses of Christian families from my kids’ school.
A Saudi girl rented the attic room of our dear friends downtown home for two years while attending the Indianapolis campus of Indiana University.
And now it’s personal, too.
Now It’s Personal
My daughter was home from college this past weekend and needed to interview a non-Christian immigrant family for a world perspectives course assignment. So we did what we’ve talked about for a few years now, we invited our next-door neighbor over for coffee. My wife and daughter sat around our kitchen table for nearly an hour and listened to her fascinating life story.
An arranged marriage brought her to America over two decades ago. Because they did not speak very good English in their home, their son struggled in the public school, so they enrolled him in a private Christian institution where he learned about Christianity and the Bible. They are still active Hindus involved with a local Indianapolis-based temple. Her husband travels a lot and their married son now lives out of state. Most of their extended family still lives in India.
The Right Kind of Conviction
I travel thousands of miles for the exact kind of conversations my family just had in our suburban dining room. That’s stirring up the right kind of conviction. We’re going to schedule dinner when her husband gets back into town.
Don’t misunderstand, The Great Commission is most certainly a call to GO! We will not stop giving and going to the inconvenient and unreached parts of the globe. But for years, we have assumed that those who remain here are only charged with praying and sending. Is God winking at you, too?
Jesus commanded us to GO to the ends of the earth, but the “ends of the earth” just might live right across the yard if we learn to open our eyes, our hearts, and our front door.