Neighbors

Yesterday, we had our neighbors over for supper; it was a delightful evening. They are missionaries from Finland with the Pentecostal church. Vesa, Anita, and their two children; Jasmine who is in 10th grade and Oscar who is in 8th grade. Rosa also came with them; she is a young single lady here for a few months working with the youth in their churches here in Mwanza.
Tim and I confessed that we didn’t know anything about Finland and suggested that they go around the table a few rounds taking turns telling us things about their country. They enjoyed the opportunity to share about Finland and we enjoyed learning about a country that we knew very little about.
Anita brought us a gift of Finnish pastries she had made; much like our American cinnamon rolls. We introduced them to a couple of new dishes as well; deviled eggs and coleslaw. We communicated well even though their main language is Finnish; they have all been learning English and do well with it.
We talked for a long time and had wonderful fellowship together; although, if we were in American I doubt if we would have ever shared a meal together. When we are in our own land and our own comfort zones, we have a tendency to fulfill the old saying, “birds of a feather flock together”.
However, here in a foreign country where you are the outsider and Americans are a definite minority; you can go weeks without seeing another person from your own country. You tend to broaden your circle and allow for more variety among your acquaintances and friends.
This is one of the positives about living in another country; meeting people of many backgrounds, faiths, and nationalities and learning to find the things that you have in common and building relationships. So, now, we have new Finnish friends who live next door and we have some things in common; mostly, we are both here because the “love of Christ compels us”. It’s enough to build on!
Tomorrow is the ladies Bible study; I will be with Americans, Canadians, South Africans, French, Europeans, Baptists, Church of Christ, Africa Inland Mission, Pentecostals of all kinds, Anglican, and others!
What a wonderful benefit to being a missionary in a foreign land. It’s good preparation for living in heaven too; there will be some from every kindred, tribe and tongue!

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