"...Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask Him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God."
Ephesians 3:17b-19 (The Message)
It's taken me a while to get to a place in this part of the journey where I feel comfortable being open about my faith, and understanding how it informs the work I do as a Peace Corps Volunteer. It was made very clear to me that proselytizing was prohibited, and the potential of breaking the rules by being "too bold" scared me into silence. I was a Christian within the four walls of my bedroom, in private conversations with other PCVs who are believers, and I'd make short, simple references to scripture on this blog.
But as the months passed on, I have felt a kneading of sorts on my heart to live my Christian walk in a more public way, trusting that God would give me the wisdom to navigate it while still honoring my commitment to PC standards. I was just living in fear and chose safety over the community, love and joy I was missing.
I had many excuses for why I wasn't going to church in Paján: cultural differences, small-town hearsay (I didn't want people feeling like I wasn't approachable simply because I was a churchgoer), not enough time to be a part of the body... yeah not a single one of these could hold up in a defense, knowing that I was hiding behind the reality of simply being afraid.
Paul, after talking about the importance of the full armor of God and the power of prayer, asks the people of Ephesus to pray that he receives boldness to share his faith in the right way... while he was in prison for that very reason! (Ephesians 6:19-20)
Imagine what I'd be missing out on if I didn't jump into my church family at Iglesia Bautista Luz Divina?!
So I've decided to "let my light so shine" in a more active way in my community. I am praying for more wisdom to show me how to connect with others and to bring the fulness of the love of Christ into how I work with those in my town. I've decided to be more active in the church I was just attending (we went to an amazing Grupo Barak concert a few weeks ago!), and to be more bold at sharing my reason for faith with my fellow PCVs. Recently, we even had a Christian retreat where like-minded volunteers were able to connect and seek God together through meditation, bible study and worship. It was powerful!
I believe that preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ doesn't simply come through proselytization, but through living a life of love, acceptance and grace towards those around me every day. I am opening my heart and my mind to the infinite length, width, and depth of Christ's unfailing love and sharing it with everyone I meet.
As a new personal goal, I've committed to start memorizing scriptures in Spanish, and began with this one:
"Todo lo puedo en Cristo que me fortalece." (Filipenses 4:13)
Ven Espiritu Santo - Grupo Barak feat. Thalles Roberto (This was not the concert I went to, but it sure felt like it, GAH)