I've had this conversation maybe half a dozen times. I expect many more.__
Them: What are you doing for the summer? Summer school? Internship? Job?
Me: Oh, I'm going to Taiwan.
Them (probably slightly puzzled at my answer): Oh cool. For how long?
Me: Two months.
Them (taken aback, and then slowly assuming that it's something to do with church/missions): Oh wow.
Me: Yeah, I'm going with my church from Berkeley.
Them (slightly relieved, and eager to finish the conversation/change the topic): That's great. Dude, you need to try the food. So good! Have you every been? Oh, are you learning Mandarin? Ni3 hao3 ma? It's good to go back. And the people are so friendly, you don't need worry about persecution or anything like that. And there are so many nice places to see! I bet this will be one of the best trips of your life. You're going to have so much fun! Zai4 jian4 !
Then they usually leave. ____
I'm not going for the food. I don't care if the nation is clean or has nice people or has a great transport system. I'm not going to learn the culture, go back to my roots, or learn the language. I'm not going to have fun. I'm not going so that I can make friends with foreigners. I'm not going to see the sights. So what if Taipei 101 is one of the tallest buildings in the world? At the time, so was the Tower of Babel. I'm not afraid of persecution. I'm not afraid of being alienated for professing the name of Christ. He promises it, does He not? I'm not going for any experience, to add it to my resume, or even because everyone else seems to be doing it. I'm not going to jump start my spiritual walk or to check it off my to-do list before I die.
I'm going for one reason. Hear it, and hear it well: to proclaim the glory of God for the praise of His name and the salvation of His elect through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Ps 67 1 God be gracious to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us— Selah. 2 That Your way may be known on the earth, Your salvation among all nations. 3 Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy; For You will judge the peoples with uprightness And guide the nations on the earth. Selah. 5 Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.
Ps 86 8 There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord, Nor are there any works like Yours. 9 All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And they shall glorify Your name. 10 For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God.
Ro 15 20 And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation; 21 but as it is written, “They who had no news of Him shall see, And they who have not heard shall understand.”
1 Cor 9 16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.
Rev 5 9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 10 “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”