I’m not a different person

differentI‘m down to my last two days here in India.  I really thought I would be able to write more often, but there just hasn’t been much down time.  I’m not exactly tired, but I am road weary.  I had a few hours on both Saturday and Sunday to rest, but other than that, I’ve been going from about 6:30 until midnight everyday.

My vocal chords are pretty raw.  My internal processor has almost reached capacity.  My heart is overloaded.  It’s been a great two weeks.

Show and tell will be fun when I get home.

I won’t have time to write again until I get back to the grand prairie, so I’ve been trying to boil my thoughts down to 600 words for this final post from India.  Here goes:

Many times when those of us from the west travel to destinations in the developing world, a common response is, “I’m a different person because of this experience.”  I have said that myself in the past.  More than once.  The contrast of worlds is often overwhelming and it is easy to be rocked when confronted with such cultural contrast.

There’s nothing wrong with that response.  It’s usually healthy.  I wish more people could walk this close to cultural difference.  I wish more of us from the west would get close enough to taste and smell and touch life on the other sideand have our hearts gripped.

I wish more of us from the States would simply be grateful for what we have, instead of constantly fighting for what we believe is our shrinking piece of the pieand our disdain for those among us who seem to be taking it.  I promise, a conversation with a young Bible student who dreams of going back to his village to love and serve people for no other reward than to be told “well done” by Jesus, will go a long way towards curing such myopic selfishness!

The fact is, I realized today that I am no different from what I was before I got on that British Airways jet nearly two weeks ago.  Not at all.  Nope.  I am the same person.   The lessons learned in the past from sharing life with those who are differentthose who have lessthose with larger faiththose with loftier Kingdom dreams than my ownhave already become part of my skin.

I am who I am BECAUSE of those connections.  My theology has been shaped by mentors, teachers, co-laborers and adventurers who offered to let me follow in their steps and learn from their ways.  They dared me to see the world through a different lens than the masses and warned me I would be the minority.  They openly challenged me to take the words of Jesus at face value, instead of trying to interpret them with the filter of western values and lifestyle.  They taught me the difference between the gospel of the Kingdom and the gospel of prosperity.

And most of the time I listened.  Often I learned.

Do not misunderstand.  I have not arrived.  The journey is far from over.  But the direction is clear and there is no longer a need to be a different person.

I am already different.

Here are a few final pics:

Young ProfsA couple of young profs from Lakeview Bible College, Sam and Timothy

Local FishLocal fresh fish marketuh, don’t be late.

Family TransportEcono-travel for the family of five (she’s got a baby in her arms).

Crazy PicDefinitely looks cool, but I have no idea what it means.  I’m not sure anybody else does, either.

Myanmar studentsMe and a couple of my students from Myanmar.  That’s where the Chin kids are from.

DoormanGreatest doorman ever.

Be home soon.

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2 thoughts on “I’m not a different person

  1. Hope you have safe travels back to the great state of TX… You have arrived.. It’s the rest of us that will be fashionably late to the end of the journey.

  2. Mike, great blog post! My mind is racing with all that has been written here… Thanks for sharing your journey and your heart.

    I love this last piece, “Do not misunderstand. I have not arrived. The journey is far from over. But the direction is clear and there is no longer a need to be a different person… I am already different.”

    If only all of us could be okay with this about ourselves…

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