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God's Mission Matters

Open your eyes

Faith stories: Encountering Jesus with new eyes

By Karla Koll
“Come and see what God has done” (Psalm 66:5) 

When we venture into new places in mission, we often encounter sisters and brothers whose experience of God has been very different from our own. Many of them have learned the stories about Jesus in a language other than English. They express their praise and prayers in phrases that our ears strain to catch. They strive to follow Jesus within patterns of relating that their cultures have formed over centuries or millennia. We may find their worship of God exuberant and bewildering.

When our sisters and brothers offer to share their faith with us, they teach us anew about Jesus. A person following Christ in another culture knows things about God that we can’t even suspect unless that person is willing to share with us. If we open ourselves up, we will learn new things about God and God’s work in the world.

Our sisters and brothers can give us the gift of new eyes, to see not only Jesus in new ways, but also ourselves and our church. In their questions and challenges to us, we see ourselves from a different perspective. We might not always like what we see. We may find we need to change in order to be faithful to the new understandings of Jesus we have gained. We may discover that walking together in mission with believers in other places will change and deepen our faith.

Download this episode of “God’s Mission Matters” and hear stories by Dennis Smith, mission co-worker in Guatemala since 1977, and by Heather Grantham, a Young Adult Volunteer in the Philippines from 2004 to 2005.

Open your eyes episode toolkit

Use these resources to equip your congregation, network, youth group and other groups in your church for mission involvement. You may use any of these for activities in the context of Bible studies, Sunday Bible class, Sunday worship service and committee or session meetings.

What is Mission Crossroads?

Mission Crossroads is a web-based wisdom community which facilitates networking among mission participants, aids communication among members of mission-related groups, and provides a forum in which those engaged in mission may share ideas and experiences, both good and bad, so that future mission endeavors can be more effective.


What is Mission Crossroads Magazine?

Mission Crossroads magazine is a free, three-times-a-year periodical focused on the worldwide work of the PC(USA). It offers news and feature stories about mission personnel, international partners and grassroots Presbyterians involved in God's mission in the world.