Our North American culture is full of churches. Every town in the US (and I imagine Canada) has at least one church, if not one per every 200 people or so. There is a plethora of variety available among differing denominations, or even a variety among the same denomination. (I remember laughing at the First Baptist, Second Baptist, and even Third Baptist Church in some towns that I drove through when I was a teenager.)
Recently, I was asking Serena what God has been showing her during her time in Mexico. I am a strong believer in God using short-term mission trips more for changing the missionary than for the missionary affecting great changes in the mission field. So, although the question, “What’s God teaching you this week, Serena?” usually elicits a chuckle…followed by, “Um…let me think about that,” there’s no doubt God has great and mighty things to teach Serena.
Serena shared with me last week that she has had a few “God moments,” those moments where she knows God is changing her way of thinking. She told me that as we were driving to San Pablo for worship, she was observing the people who were walking along the road. (Sunday is the day that many walk “to town” to shop or catch up on the latest news.) Her great epiphany of the day was that everyone she passed was destined for hell! She discreetly brushed back the tears, thinking about how the people don’t know Jesus, and they don’t even have anyway of learning about him. There is no church.
As we talked about it, she shared more about the impact of this realization. In the US, we are told to invite our friends to church. It’s almost like we’re pushing the idea that only the professionals can tell our friends and loved ones about Christ. Here, that’s not an option. “It’s just not fair!” she declared. “They have no hope of salvation.”
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.