I received the following copy of a letter that another B4Ter sent to some of his friends. I share it with some minor edits and his permission.
Several weeks ago, our mentors came to visit. We had a wonderful visit and our mentors spent some time with our whole “team”. One thing that stuck out to us from our visit is how cheap talk is in our part of the world. What we say matters far less than how we live. Let me explain what I mean (if you have kids you already understand). Whatever I tell my children to do, I have to fight tooth and nail to get them to do it. But if I do something regularly, they will do it automatically – just because I do it. They watch my life, and they very perceptively analyze to see if my words and my actions match up – to see if I‘m a hypocrite. It is the same with our friends here. If I talk about Jesus and how He did this and that, and how much He has changed me, it doesn’t mean much to my kids until they have watched me demonstrate over and over that I actually live out my beliefs.
It’s summer, so it’s intern season at work. One of my interns is the daughter of a famous local person. After helping her with her work, explaining things over and over, encouraging her in this and that, and altogether spending 2-3 hours per day with her; she began to realize I actually care that she does well. She realized I am sacrificing and having to work harder and longer in order to help her with a project. She has known that I follow Jesus since day 1, but it never mattered to her. In fact, in the beginning she even made negative comments about our faith. But in the last few days, with no prompting from me, she began asking questions about our Book, when it was written, how it was written, who wrote it, what language was it written in, etc. Because of the way I live my life in the office, she has become curious. She knows my reputation for loving people and helping people. She watches me every day. And that is the difference between her caring and not caring about what I say. Actions speak louder than words. The longer we live here and the more opportunities we have to show people who He is, the more they will begin to see the validity of the things we say. As John writes, …be doers of the Word and not hearers only.
Remember, B4T takes time. Just like growing trees, a long term perspective is needed. Be patient. As we saw last week, we are sowing seed, though often we don’t realize it.