Loving Different for Life

by Ben Lim

Amelia reflects on how Holocaust guilt shapes online conversations with her German friend; Brian processes the fun but foreign experience of team-bonding Karaoke with Asian-Australian Christians. The EU’s Beginning Cross-Cultural Ministry (BXCM) course provides opportunities to fuse cross-cultural service with guided reflection on effectively loving people who are different. Whether preparation for life overseas or equipping for relationships in increasingly multi-cultural Australia, cross-cultural ministry training is a key dimension of Christian maturity.

But it’s more than just a course. As staff partner the EU in cross-cultural settings like the eufocus[1] committee, or as leaders of small groups including international students, generations deepen their desire to love neighbours from unfamiliar cultures while growing their ability to effectively express that love. Debriefing a subdued Bible study of reserved Asian students with bubbly Australian student leaders; unpacking the disappointment of being stood up by an international student; reflecting on public meetings of SUMSA[2] – opportunities abound to grow cultural (self-)awareness, deepen understanding of the Other and so love in Christ’s name well.

And it’s more than just students in Sydney now. Howies (trainee staff) often serve and train amongst international students, some international themselves. Next year Amelia heads to Germany on exchange, then Hungary for ESL training, aiming ultimately to teach English overseas. How might God work in and through Amelia beyond Sydney uni?

As we embrace cultural diversity within and on campus, please pray with us for a flood of culturally intelligent[3] Christian leaders for God’s worldwide church.

[1] eufocus is the EU’s ministry amongst international students: http://www.sueu.org.au/communities/eufocus

[2] The Sydney University Muslim Students’ Association.

[3] For more on this concept, see David A. Livermore, Cultural Intelligence: Improving Your CQ to Engage Our Multicultural World. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009. This book formed the basis of the EU’s Beginning Cross-Cultural Ministry (BXCM) course this semester.

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