We were meeting all kinds of people from all over the world. During one of our mid-week meetings we met an American couple who were living in Kazakhstan. It was so interesting to hear about their lives and what was happening there. Actually nothing much was happening and they were feeling really discouraged.
During the conversation they told us they had been living in a particular city for thirteen years. They had seen no fruit. We couldn’t even imagine how difficult that must have been for them. They were studying the language but had very few local friends or contacts. It was all so sad.
On the other hand, they casually talked about a small village nearby that seemed to be experiencing some kind of a revival. There were reports of lots of people becoming spiritually aware and interested. They commented that there was a real need for teachers and mentors.
My question seemed to surprise them. “Why don’t you go there?” They hadn’t considered it. Here was this young couple, discouraged and tired and in a city where there was no hunger for God. Just down the road, a revival was taking place and there was a huge need for people to help. What an opportunity.
When we first got to Mussoorie we were green beans. We stayed that way for a long time. When we asked God how we should go about things, His answer was, “Watch what I’m doing and join me.” So we did. If He was working in that person’s life, we joined Him; then that person, then that one. It made the whole thing so much easier.
Over the years we met people who felt called to “the nations”. They seemed convinced. Many of those countries were hard to get visas for; getting jobs was near to impossible. They spent months and years trying to get in. Many gave up and went back to their hometowns, feeling like failures.
I started to think a lot about it. A big question I had was this: Are we to love the country or are we to love the people? Are we so “in love” with the country, or the idea of being in a country that we have neglected to love the people of that country?
Tibet borders India. Tibet is a very difficult and expensive place to get visas for. Living and getting employment there requires great perseverance and a very clear and convincing call. If I am in love with the idea of living in Tibet, I will pour all my resources into getting there. If things don’t work out, I may go home and never think about it again.
If I love Tibetans, I will find them anywhere. I will find them in places all along the border. I will find them in places where I can get an employment or business visa. I will find them in towns, villages and cities where I can afford to live, with all the freedom I need, to do what I want to do.
This somehow made sense to me. I knew if I loved Indians, I could and would find them anywhere. If I loved Turks, I could find them in refugee camps on the German border; my love for the nation would not be limited by its borders. Wherever its people were, I could find them and I may not even need a visa.