The Difficult Path of Loving Our Neighbors

To Love One’s Neighbor Is to Learn about One’s Neighbor

By Wayne Stapleton
VP of Cross-Cultural Engagement

History matters because people are shaped by it. Throughout millennia and as recorded in the Bible, God commands his people to commemorate his saving power shown when he delivered them from Egyptian slavery. This practice of remembering is an important one, especially when coupled with practices that share that history with others, which allows for better understanding of people, their histories, and their cultures. Here in North America, after centuries of broken treaties and marginalization, Gospel ministry to Indigenous, Metis, and Inuit communities in the US and Canada calls for historical and cultural understanding, undergirded by the command to love one’s neighbor as oneself.

Developing healthy, long-term relationships is crucial for effective cross-cultural ministry. One must show commitment over the long term to win a hearing. With these healthy relationships there is a practical requirement to understand the history and culture of the people to whom one is ministering.

The blanket exercise is a powerful way of teaching about the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the US and Canada. Whyte Ridge Baptist Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba, has participated in this exercise and found it beneficial to assist them in their understanding of the history of the Indigenous community, an important pre-condition to effective Gospel ministry. (Check out last week’s article for more on WRBC’s ministry to Indigenous people.)

The blanket exercise was developed by a ministry called Kairos, specifically designed to describe Canadian history relative to Indigenous people. . . .

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Advent Starts November 27

Each year, the NAB puts out devotionals during the season of Advent – the four weeks prior to Christmas Day – to help members of the NAB family prepare for the celebration of the birth of our Savior. This year, the theme is Embracing the Difficult Manger. Here’s a sneak peek of what that means:

Though we romanticize the pastoral imagery associated with Jesus’s birth, we forget his arrival in Bethlehem and his first bed in a manger were not simple or easy things. He chose to be born as a man, a flesh and bone body that hungered, thirsted, bled, itched, got sore, experienced pain, and generally endured a host of everyday sufferings. We all take these moments for granted; with no other frame of reference, hangnails, papercuts, skinned knees, and stubbed toes are simply a fact of life. By choosing the manger as his entrance point rather than coming to Earth as a fully grown man ready for ministry, Jesus chose to embrace these difficulties of life, large and small. He did not choose the easy way because he knew embracing the more difficult path of the manger would ultimately lead to greater glory for God.

Don’t forget to sign up before November 27, the first Sunday of Advent, to make sure you don’t miss one.

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Catch up on the latest happenings within the NAB around the globe with the newest missionary newsletters!. Click below to read the updates, see the pictures from our NAB missionaries, and find out how you can pray for and support them as they join God in what he is doing around the world!

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