After visiting America I thought I should write this post about 10 things God has taught us during the trip. Why? Because I think all of us should have an international experience as part of our education. I do believe that when we visit other cultures we learn about ourselves. God definitely uses these experiences to teach us and show us what we need to change in our own culture as well.
So, after getting to know about 30 churches in over 15 states, and listening to hundreds of America’s leaders, here are the top 10 things God taught us while visiting America.
1) Things work because you prepare for them to work.
We love Latin churches, but we have seen so many times how we (Latin Americans) leave everything to be done at the last minute. In the churches we have been part of in Latin America, the PPT (pro-presenter) was completed and ready to go in the thumb drive 2 hours before the worship service; and that was if everything was proceeding perfectly and smoothly. In most of the churches we led worship in during our trip, the PPT needed to be done several days before Sunday. That makes sense! We can do that in Latin America, too. There is nothing preventing us from being better prepared but ourselves.
2) There’s no silver bullet.
I used to think that if you did the right thing, then some kind of magic force would make everything easy for you for the rest of your life in America. We have come to know that doing the right thing is just one step. We visited many successful ministries, churches and families and we learned they are built one right decision at a time.A successful ministry is built one right decision at a time Click To Tweet
3) Polite Persistence Pays.
Where I come from that phrase does not even exist. In North America we learned that if you stay focused on your God-given vision and pursue it persistence, there is a great chance that you will accomplish what God is leading you to do.
4) Giving is not easy.
One of the most meaningful conversations we had during this fundraising trip was with a lady in Ohio. She shared with us how she saved money for a year to bring a South American leader to an international conference of a specific ministry (which I won’t mention to respect her privacy). She was so frustrated and confused when this South American lady skipped several workshops at the conference just to go sightseeing in the U.S. She didn’t gather with the other ministry leaders from the Americas and didn’t care how hard it was for this lady from Ohio to sponsor her. She took for granted that Americans can do that because they have money.
We prayed with her, we comforted her heart and affirmed that what she did was for God’s glory and not in vain. God taught us a powerful lesson that afternoon. Giving is not easy. People do a great sacrifice to support our ministry and we thank God for their faithful giving.
5) There are great examples of men and women of God throughout America.
Presidents, farmers, businessmen, athletes, and individuals with handicaps. In every place we visited we became acquainted with historical characters who were great examples of what a life committed to Christ looks like. That is something harder to find in Latin America.
6) Limits are limits.
One interesting thing God taught us during this visit to America is how important limits are in every aspect of life – from speed limits to respecting our rest time. I know it might sound simple, but it was a powerful lesson we learned here. Where we come from limits are more “relative” (if that is possible)
I know this sounds silly, but that was our son’s immediate answer when I asked him what he learned during our time here. I included his answer because it’s true and genuine 🙂 (Note: The next dozen of his silly comments which followed after that will be kept in secret for the sake of this post).
8) You don’t need to have the ideal scenario to do ministry.
We were hosted in all kind of houses. We had the chance to lead worship with a Steinway piano and with a shoddy piano, too. We learned that all you need to be used by God is being available.If you wait until having the ideal scenario to commit to ministry, then you're waiting too long. Click To Tweet
9) You can have a meaningful relationship, no matter where you are from.
During our time in America we made new friends from all over the world: from the Philippines to Cameroon, from Central America to Germany. The blood of Christ enables us to have a deep, meaningful relationship that lasts forever.
10) God works in mysterious ways, but he’ll never forsake us.
One thing we experienced during this trip was that sometimes God works in ways we don’t understand. After this trip, we have a collection of stories that demonstrate to us how His mighty hand watches over our family.
As I mentioned before, I believe that when we travel, we learn. What have you learned visiting other countries?