This past weekend some students took us to see the Royal Palace. They taught us about their culture and about the history of the palace and their country. It was helpful to hear from them about the struggles and changes their country has faced over the past few centuries. One of the students is studying to be an architect and was especially able to explain the qualities, differences, and history of the buildings we saw at the Royal Palace. He expressed feeling pain about how his people and their architecture have been treated by some other cultures and people groups.
It is so important to understand people within the context of their cultures and worldviews. At our Bible study this week, we met with several of the same students who took us to the Royal Palace, and studied 1 Peter 3:8-22. In many ways, becoming a Christian comes at a higher price for some than others. Most Westerners do not have to include their family in the cost of following Christ, but many of those in Asia do. This is because of their collectivist culture that supports unity in family, nation, and religion. As one of our contacts put it, “to be Khmer is to be Buddhist.” We must remember that while this is different, it is not “bad.” Western culture is by no means the standard of perfection.
Our team has been taking to heart the scriptures found in 1 Peter. One that stood out to many of us during our bible study with the students was 1 Peter 3:15, “But make sure in your hearts that Christ is Lord. Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you about the hope you have. Be ready to give the reason for it. But do it gently and with respect.” First, we need to be sure that Christ is truly Lord and Ruler over our hearts and every decision we make. Second, as we are obeying His call to go out into the world and share His good news, we must do so with gentleness and respect. This requires us to be aware of the cultural differences between us and those with whom we are sharing. We must not assume their cost of following is so similar to the one we had to pay.
We were able to discuss the concept of suffering for doing good and believing in Christ with the students in this week’s bible study (1 Peter 3:17). We encouraged them to know that though choosing Christ may cause some challenges in their biological family, they are also adopted into Christ’s family of believers, designed to “love one another like members of the same family” (1 Peter 3:8).
Please continue praying for our team over these last few weeks we have with these students.
Pray that we would make the most of every moment and that persons of peace would be willing to count the cost and pay the price for the greatest gift of all time: Jesus.
Pray that our communication with the students would be clear and that we would share the gospel with boldness, gentleness, and respect.
Pray for our team’s unity and love, so that we may show an example of the body of Christ God designs and that others would recognize us as disciples of Jesus merely by our love for one another.
Thank you all for your prayers and support.