Achoe (pronounced Osh-way) is a tall, very dark woman with a lightning
smile and has, she tells me, “great skill at dance. Back in Sudan I was a very
good dancer,” she says.
We are listening to a station that seems to pipe in Reggae and Hip Hop 24/7
and Achoe could happily dance as long. She laughs and says something in her
dialect to her friend in the back seat. I try to crack the typical American
joke about how white guys can’t dance or jump.
“It doesn’t matter your skin color. Everybody has things they can do,” she
Isn’t that true.
I was visiting Clarkston, Georgia, for the first time. In my year as a
staff writer for a local newspaper (going on six years ago), I’d known of the
international community just down the highway from our office off Flowers Road,
but I’d never gone there—save for a quick trip to pick up Chinese food. Only a
few weeks ago, though, I spent five days with an organization based in
Clarkston called Friends of Refugees.
Through Pat Maddox (called Ms. Pat by people in the community), the founder
of this small but connected organization, I met Afghan families driven here by
the Taliban. I tutored bright and happy third graders from Sudan. I helped
distribute food to Iranians and Afghanis in the kitchen of Clarkston
International Bible Church. I also sat in English for Speakers of Other
Languages (ESOL) classes where men and women from African, Middle Eastern,
Eastern European and Asian countries all sat in one tiny room trying to learn
the question “Do you like bananas?”
Which perhaps is a question similar to the questions we, the Church, should
be asking. What do you like? Where do you live? Help me speak your language. In
this issue of On Mission we hope to address this idea of learning the language
of our continent’s cultures. How can we present the gospel in a way that people
can understand it at their location in life—whether a refugee driven from a
war-torn nation or a worker on an oil rig in Wyoming? How can we be Christ and
share His gospel in a way that makes the Word become flesh in someone’s life
and hopefully in a way that they can share it with their own
As Achoe says, we all have something we can do. There’s always some way to
connect with the people around us in a way that addresses the culture to which
they belong. Whether in an ESOL class or in line to catch a bus, networking for
evangelism starts with a heart for evangelism seeking to share with the very
heart of the lost.
Adam Miller, associate editor
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC