Welcome to His World

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“Fasten your seat belts, “ the pilot stated in both Finnish and English as our plane landed on my first international experience. Even though my feet had still never touched foreign soil, the introduction into a foreign world had already begun. I began to notice differences as our flight attendants wore black, leather gloves as they served us. My first thought was, “Why are they doing that?! They look like they are going to commit a crime, not serve me ginger ale.”

From there, I began a life-long adventure of newness and discovery. I love noticing the differences, from the smells of a Russian train station to escalation of mundane conversation between two friends in Italy. While some of the differences exhaust my patience and make me uncomfortable, they all do what good practice does: they stretch me.
I am grateful for the undeserved opportunities and privileges my job has given me to strengthen my cross-cultural muscles. Things that used to throw me off balance now make life interesting and fun. I have made friends with people who have different ways of caring for their sick children and bring brilliant shades of color to the meaning of “hospitality.”
On a much deeper level, I learn more about the God I love and serve as I experience more of His creation. Myriads of cultures each have a unique way of showing me His creativity and what He values in ways that one culture alone just cannot do. I get to contribute to the masterpiece as I play my own part in the brilliant diversity living out my own contrasting culture. I have learned to look for him everywhere I go, whether on a walk in my diverse neighborhood or on a 16 hour plane ride to the other side of this enormous yet minuscule planet.
There is colorful variety and rich texture in our world, yet there is an Artist who has created a harmony and beauty as the bigger picture is revealed. He is an intimate artist who entered into His work and reached out to the subjects He created. He is no more at home among one part of His work than He is another. His fingerprints are everywhere. His blood, sweat and tears mark His works. He came once as a baby and will one day reveal Himself in His full splendor as King, executing justice and at the same time offering undeserved mercy to those who have accepted it.
Look! Listen! Taste! And wait expectantly for Him to enter into your world. One of His many names describes it beautifully.
Emmanuel.
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