Going Cross-Cultural: Durham

So over the past two years the Lord has shown me ever increasingly how much he cares for people. Different personalities, colors, nations, he is just in love with his creation, and wants them to reciprocate that love back on Him. Hence we read in his word to go out and tell people all the amazing things He has done in our lives and wants to do in yours. Evangelism is easy. Tell some who looks like you, acts like you and speaks like you about Jesus and you can get your message across. Cross-cultural evangelism and then frontier missions (telling people who haven’t had an opportunity to hear) is hard.

The small group I am involved in is participating in Hope for Durham. We have decided to work in a halfway house in downtown that focuses on getting drug addicts to be full hearted submitters to Christ instead of the chains of the drug life. Thier director had asked us to come in and help them fill out applications and talk about interveiws. The first night, the four of us (Hoplers and Hoffmans) got our material and walked to the place, ready to impart our knowledge. When we got there, they were moving the girls house, so there would be no teaching tonight. So we did what thought natural and volunteered to help them move, thinking this would give us an opportunity to build relationships.

Through this cross-cultural experience, I was kicked in the face spiritually. I walked away with a changed attitude:

We are no better than they. Just because I look like I have things together doesn’t mean jack. I’m a sinner, their a sinner, God sees no difference. I walked in thinking that I was better than them, because I have a job, and I go to a church, and I look like I know what I am doing. Through them God brought out my fear, the desperateness at the bottom of my heart that I am in need of a savior. I thought I was going to teach them about how to apply for a job, they taught me about life.

I told one guy, “I love Durham”, citing the catchy phrase around the Summit Church. He laughed in my face. I was so offended, but he showed me I love Durham because I know the middle class Durham. Durham to me is my friends and my church. He, who has lived in Durham, in its ghettos for 45 years, told me all the stories I like to forget about: crime, drugs, violence. He told me how Durham is a trap that you can’t get out of. Durham is despair, darkness, sin.

I was humbled that night, and later excited. Durham is a hopeless place, without Christ. Durham is a dark and dirty place, without Christ. Durham redeemed under Christ looks a lot more like how Jesus described his kingdom. And He has called us to redeem Durham. This cross-cultural experience taught me to depend on God, and see these people I will share with as He sees them, no worse than me, but as people who need to know of Christ’s love.  I am excited to see what God will do. Though I have a little part in changing Durham, I serve a big God who wants it changed.


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2 Responses to “Going Cross-Cultural: Durham”

  1. Jenn Pappa Says:

    hey this is great, thanks for writing

    id love to help out!

  2. Jeff Says:

    Sounds like this was an important experience for you, dude.

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