Young adults from around the world gather weekly for Bible study in our town in Southeast Asia. We were graced with the opportunity to initiate this group about three years ago.
By and large, it’s a transient group. Many young adults come to our town for three months to a few years for internships, semesters abroad, ministry, and other work opportunities. We’ve had the privilege of getting to know individual believers and seekers from countries on five continents on the globe. Whenever discouragement or disillusionment knocks on our door, we think of these earnest young people.
As an ever-changing group they have committed themselves to loving one another in their likenesses and differences, agreements and disagreements, understanding and misunderstanding. The key, of course, lies in the commitment we all share to the One who brings us together.
As individuals and as community, we build. It isn’t always pretty. Personalities sometimes clash. Wisdom doesn’t always prevail. Immaturity runs amok. That is where community makes a difference. When I am at the end of my rope and need to let go, someone else takes up the slack. Like Paul with John Mark we find ourselves doubting the fitness of another for a task. Enter Barnabas. Paul and Silas. Barnabas and John Mark. God’s work continues. Relationships grow with God and one another. Slowly but surely we grow into the people God wants for us to be.
We each play our part and remain attentive to how those parts sometimes need to change. First we were hosts – of Bible study, game night, American Thanksgiving, Christmas celebrations, etc. After a while, our daughter commented that it was like we had adopted a bunch of new “children.”
We have had the honor of sharing joys and pains with many of them. We offer our limited wisdom fully cognizant that for many of them, they are not quite there yet. Maybe in some small way, this is God’s way as well. God continues to offer wisdom beyond our understanding. “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (I Cor. 13:12)
Like small children for whom repetition is a necessary learning tool, we adults must continually be reminded of God’s way which is often beyond our comprehension.
I suspect that the young adults have some understanding of how they have been Christ to one another and very little understanding of how they have been Christ to us. They have befriended each other. They have played together, prayed together, studied Scripture, and shared their lives. They have done all of these things with us as well. They have also inspired us with their commitment and passion in their relationships with God and their desire to introduce others to Jesus and His love. They continually remind us that with God all things are possible. God’s light shines brightly in them, and we know hope lives.
Mary is a CBF field personnel serving alongside her husband, Hunter, in Southeast Asia. Learn more about and support their ministry at www.cbf.net/huntermary.