One of the most important factors for me in the work I do as a missionary is studying and learning the culture of the people I reach. When I moved to South Africa 2 years ago, the first thing I focused on was learning and trying to understand South African culture. It is an approach and mentality I carry with me every day and is a never-ending process.
Most people I talk to in the United States assume they know what Africa is like. They typically have this mental picture immediately form in their head whenever the word “Africa” and “Missionary” appear in the same sentence. The reason I’m saying this is because I want anyone who reads this to understand the true meaning behind mission work.
Author and Pastor Erwin McManus put it this way, “The issue is not location but vocation. If Christ calls you, you are on mission. The rest is just geography.” For me understanding that every person I meet and every situation, no matter the place, is an opportunity to fulfill Christ’s call on my life.
Several weeks ago I had the chance to meet up for lunch with 2 well-known music producers here in Durban. We talked a lot about the Durban scene and some projects they are working on. There are so many similarities between Africans in entertainment and Americans in entertainment…it’s pretty amazing.
As we continued talking, one of the guys asked me how I was finding Durban and what brought me to the city. A friend of mine arranged for me to meet them since we all shared a passion for entertainment. I told the guys about the video work I do and my interest in learning more about the Durban scene. I also told them about the work I do through Impilo and how we use entertainment for more than money making or sheer pleasure. I explained that for me, the standard at the end of the day is Christ and that I have yet to find a better standard for guiding me in the work that I do.
It never surprises me but always amazes me, how people resonate with the idea of living for something bigger than themselves. I’m always amazed by the power of the Gospel and the beauty of the Kingdom of God and how Christ invites us just as we are. Before I knew it the conversation shifted from “this is what we do because we have talent”, to how can we use our talent to advance the agenda that God has for people’s lives.
We brainstormed for a few more minutes about mix tapes and radio spots and how this news of love and selflessness needed to be pushed. To be honest with you, I have no idea what the spiritual backgrounds are of the guys I had lunch with that day. I do however know that in some crazy unexpected way, God was at the meeting.