‘Any friend of yours’ in action
July 2021

By a worker in Alaska — Sitting on the couch next to my new Saudi friend, I didn't feel like I was meeting a stranger, but rather like I was catching up with a long-lost sister. Within minutes of meeting each other for the first time, we launched into talking about things near and dear to our hearts—our families, what 2020 was like for us, and how God works in and through hardships. 

A week or so later, I was able to introduce some of my family to an Iraqi friend and his extended family. None of A’s family had ever met any of my family, and yet as we stood around exchanging goodbyes, you might have thought we'd just wrapped up a celebratory dinner with immediate family, but for the variety of nationalities represented.  

The amazing this is, I didn't have to work hard to begin either of these friendships, because someone else already had.

Both of these relationships began when friends of mine invited me into friendships they'd established. While this might feel awkward from an American cultural perspective, it’s natural in many other cultures. In fact, as we parted, my Iraqi friend asked why I hadn't brought my family to his son's birthday party two weeks earlier! “Because you'd never met them,” would have been the logical American response—but in these communities, that reasoning just doesn’t hold up!

Now I'm experiencing the joy of bringing others into my cross-cultural friendships. Last year, I asked a co-worker to join me at a wedding, though she’d never met the bride. We also went to dinner with a Somali friend. Now, this co-worker is nannying for a Somali family she met at these gatherings. 

A few days ago, I got this text from my co-worker: “First Corinthians 3 is so alive to me this morning. You planted and I hope I'm faithful in watering as God gives growth. The joy I'm experiencing is a result of your hard work. Thank you.”

This is the beauty of the body of Christ working together! No territorialism, no competition—just rich, cross-cultural friendships and opportunities to share the love of Christ. 

SEND teams serve in more than 20 countries around the world. Explore our ministry guides to learn about the cultures and people groups we serve.
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