I am sitting in the departure lounge at Hong Kong airport reflecting on the privilege that is mine over these days.
I've just had two days of listening to East Asian Christian leaders advise Langham's international staff team on our work with them. [The bishop who habitually and quietly wipes the tables after each meal will stay with me]. Now I am off to the Solomon Islands where pastors will gather for a four day preaching seminar. After that it is off to a South Asian country for more of the same. I'm sure a whole bunch of contrasts are ahead of me...
The Chinese world. Melanesia. The Islamic world. WOW.
All in a few days.
There is so much to learn from what God is doing elsewhere.
My mind goes back to the conversation a friend of mine recently had with a Christian leader visiting NZ. It was this person's first trip outside their country. They are from a country known all around the world for it's oppression and cruelty. It is often in the headlines. A place where it is very tough to be a Christian.
My friend asked, "What are your impressions of Christians in NZ?" Being a guest in our country this person would not comment. It would be improper. My friend kept pressing and pressing... I think he knew that first impressions are usually the biggest blindspot-exposers of all. If only he could draw an honest comment, it had the possibility of being a prophetic one.
Finally this guest in our country relented.
"Here in NZ Christians depend on their cheque books and their property. In my country we depend on God."