Learning Their Story; Telling Yours

Some people are great storytellers by nature. Others have to work at it. But one thing is for sure, people love to hear a story. Telling stories is a way of life in many cultures. When you show interest in the story of someone you meet from another culture, you may win a new friend. Find an interpreter, if you need one, and listen to people’s stories. Then be ready to tell your own.

When you visit other cultures, people are curious and will want to know why you have come. How will you answer this? “To work on a building” or “to teach a class” may be appropriate answers, but perhaps there is a better answer. Maybe this is an opportunity to articulate more than the obvious. Maybe this is an open door to share the spiritual dimension of your answer. Sometimes telling your story may include how Christ has motivated you to serve.

Another situation that may occur as you visit a church is that the pastor may ask you to “give a greeting.” Your group might be tempted to stand up, wave and nod, and then sit back down. However, in most places, this request is for far more than that kind of greeting. It means that someone from your group will be expected to go up front and speak. How are you going to respond to this opportunity? The best response would be to count it the perfect time to not only bring a greeting from your church or country, but have someone share his/her story or testimony.

Take some time over the next few weeks to work on your story. It may be about how you first camt to Christ or possibly some later event in your journey of faith. It is always good to think of the group you are speaking to. As you begin to work on your story, think of the things you have in common with those you are going to serve. There are many commonalities to life like family, school, work, marriage, etc. There are also the universal themes of life like the pursuit of happiness, peace of mind, individual dignity, security, etc. There are negative themes that plague all of us, like the host of sins that we deal with or feeling like fear, anger, or disappointment. These matters touch everyone…regardless of your place in this world.

So as you reflect upon your life, you will want to ask the Lord for wisdom and help as you write your unique, yet universal story.

Some questions to answer as you work on your story:

> How did I realize my need for a Savior or how did Jesus meet me in my time of need?

> How can I clearly explain how to accept God’s love and forgiveness through my story?

> What difference have I experienced in my life because of accepting God’s love and forgiveness?

> What are some of my negative attitudes, actions and motivations that have changed?

Practice your story and ask for feedback. Keep it simple, don’t use exclusively Christian or popular jargon that won’t translate, and practice speaking in short phrases since you may be giving your story through an interpreter.



Taken from PREPARE YOUR HEART by Cindy Judge. Cindy thrives on helping newcomers know the joy of serving through short-term missions. She is on the Global and Local Outreach staff of Wheaton Bible Church, Wheaton, Illinois.


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