Cultures, Conversations, and Challenges

women at a cafe in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Whether you share the gospel in Malaysia or in the United States, you face different cultures, the need to have relational conversations, and other challenges.

For Alex and Kate Kirkman*, missionaries with the International Mission Board for 24 years and serving in Malaysia, their most significant challenges have been connecting with people who have a different language, culture, and worldview. “It is difficult to find a way to break down the barriers of these differences,” Kate said..

Furthermore, she said, “This frustration is at its strongest when we try to share about Christ with others. Sometimes it feels like our words fall flat and do not have any impact on those with whom we share. We feel frustrated with the differences between our worlds as well as the difficulties these differences create for openness to what we share.”

Barriers or walls can be difficult to demolish. But the Kirkmans have discovered 2 things about tearing down the walls. The first is merely listening to a person’s story. The art of listening becomes an opportunity for an ongoing friendship. Next, tell the person Jesus’ story. Scripture is more important than your words, and it will not return void (Isa. 55:11). His Word has the power to transform lives.

One evening, Alex and Kate attended a banquet and shared a table with 4 young men who had grown up in a local church. Alex had been instrumental in getting the men into a program where Jesus’ story was presented and taught in a way they had never heard. Kate said, “One by one the 4 men at our table shared how their lives were not only changed but [also] they had a burden burned deep within them to get Jesus’ story out to their communities.”

Take a moment to draw away and pray for walls to be torn down and doors to open so the Kirkmans can listen to people’s stories. Pray for the Kirkmans to have many new opportunities to share Jesus’ story.

*Names changed.

Laura Lee Leathers lives in Central Mississippi. She wants to know God more and make Him known through writing endeavors.


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