My family and I recently left the mission field and our GCMI team in NYC due to uncontrollable circumstances. Reflecting on our experience I have come to realize just how unique and irreplaceable the Global City Mission community really is. Andrea and I will be continually grateful for how we’ve been equipped to make disciples in a changing world thanks to this special mission team. Our family will remain supportive and prayerful partners of the GCMI team. Here is a list of things I, Tyler, will miss about being a Mission Catalyst.
3 things I will miss:
I will miss the “Edge of the Kingdom”.
“How can we share the good news in a way that is heard as good news?” I will miss our Global City Mission team asking these sorts of questions and our many conversations. Month after month, I heard stories of the Albanian people-group resist my friend’s outreach—sometimes I heard weariness in his voice; then one day I heard something different. “My Albanian friend and I are starting a Bible study; we studied a chapter in the gospels!” I will miss breakthrough moments like that one.
Listening to my teammate’s story of a former drug dealer’s spin on Jesus’ parables was simultaneously hilarious and incredibly inspiring. Seeing the contentment in my friend’s face while he reflected on the good news of Jesus gradually moving among the hearts of the deeply wounded and distant. I will miss that.
Calling our GCMI network leader on a dark, Bronx night while walking under the urban canopy of an elevated train was common place. Asking him tough questions after a long day of striving to share Jesus among Hindus and Muslims and hearing seasoned responses are moments I will miss.
I will miss the “Other side of the headlines”.
Sitting across from my Muslim friend, Dhaya, from Mali, he poured me a cup of tea—something we had done many times before he traveled to West Africa. Not too long ago he visited near an Ebola stricken area. I smiled at him, took my communal cup of tea—meaning we were sharing it—and briefly fought back irrational fear of contamination. There was no reason to fear, but I was afraid. Nevertheless, I drank the tea. A tea that represented my willingness to be his friend and to share in his life, his journey. Love has no room for yielding to fear and neither does sharing good news.
I have several of these stories. I will miss being on the other side of the headlines sharing in a reality larger than what we Americans see in the media and instead witnessing a reality which Jesus is fully engaging.
I will miss the Kaleidoscope lens.
Living in the outer boroughs of NYC is like wearing glasses with kaleidoscope lenses. Vibrant, diverse, challenging, colorful and dizzying, all words which describe the rich life of living in a kaleidoscope world. Sitting down and discussing life, community and Jesus with internationals from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Korea, China, Mongolia, and Morocco is something I will miss. We live in a vibrant world and after getting a chance to see it, I know just how needed and vibrant Jesus’ gospel is among the nations. I will miss that.
Regardless of the necessity of our move, we are excited and thankful for the dedicated, aspiring, and skilled community of missionaries that makes up GCMI. We will miss you all so very much!