guest post by Nancy Golden
Are you thinking about taking a mission trip, but not sure about traveling to a foreign country?
In Acts 1:8, Jesus tells his disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After His words, Jesus ascends into heaven, leaving his disciples with a mission, the same one we share today: through the power of the Holy Spirit we are to bring the gospel to a world that desperately needs a Savior.
So where do you fit in the big picture? Not everyone is called to witness in the same places. And the truth of the matter is, much of our international mission field does not even require a plane ticket; people from other countries and cultures have come to us and live in our own neighborhood. I certainly do not want to discourage those who are led to travel the globe in order to spread the Good News, but want to remind those of us who are not able to travel that opportunities still abound in our own backyard. The immigrant population of our country has exploded in recent years and most cities boast areas with ethnic concentrations from other countries.
Try to imagine what it must be like to be an immigrant in the United States today. Often people arrive here from great personal sacrifice. They may come from difficult situations in their native countries ranging from persecution to struggling to meet the basic needs of their families and dreaming for something more. A common thread of desire is found in each individual that enters our country—the desire for better opportunities for themselves and especially for their children.
Imagine being in a country where you do not understand the language. Some of the people you meet are not friendly and you are unsure of your welcome when you go places. This isn’t a vacation destination; this place is to be your home. But you can’t communicate very well. You want to participate in your children’s education and take part in your community, but you feel limited by the language barrier. Many of these folks that live among us feel isolated and lonely. And they are everywhere. They are your neighbors down the street. They live in the apartment complex by the grocery store where you shop. Their children attend the same schools as your children.
As an English as a Second Language teacher, the first and most important lesson I teach my students is “You are special, and God loves you so much. I am so glad you are here. We are the same and God loves each of us the same—we are all God’s children. There are good people and bad people in every country. I pray that God brings good people into your lives, people that will encourage you and love you.”
Are you the answer to that prayer? Can you provide a welcoming smile to a scared and lonely immigrant? Offer friendship and assistance? Perhaps that is your mission field … right in your own backyard!
Nancy is teaching two courses aimed at helping Christians heed the Great Commission to make disciples in February. World Religions gives an overview of four major world religions to provide context and background for conversations about faith, and starts February 13. Evangelism: How to Love Your Neighbors to Christ gives Christians tools to speak about their faith with others in a way that is relational, not pushy or preachy. It starts February 27.
Nancy Golden has a passion for sharing her faith and a heart for people of “every tribe and language and people and nation.” She graduated from Dallas Christian College and earned her master’s degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Nancy’s seminary work included theology and Bible with an intercultural studies focus. Her passion for evangelism led her to author a book, “The Second Greatest Commandment Meets the Great Commission: How to Love Your Neighbors to Christ” (HIS Publishing Group 2013). She is an adjunct faculty member at Dallas Christian College and has taught How to Study the Bible, New Testament Survey, and World Religions. In addition, she has developed a cross-cultural missions course for Dallas Christian College that incorporates both the theology and the history of missions.
Nancy, what are the starting and ending dates of each class? Do you have a session everyday? How much time daily will each class take?
They sound great!!
Hi Susan and thanks so much for your interest! World Religions is a two week class and starts on February 13. Evangelism: How to Love Your Neighbors to Christ is a three 3week class and starts on February 27. While the courses are designed to be done daily Monday through Friday (the evangelism course has one extra day) – there is a great deal of flexibility since it is online. You can log in whenever it is convenient for you. Students are encouraged to spend an hour a day and use the weekends to catch up if they have to miss a day. I hope you can join us for one or both classes – I think you’ll have a lot of fun and learn a lot of good things that will give you confidence in interacting with others along with much joy in being obedient to the Great Commission with the Holy Spirit leading the way!