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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Olivia/UK - Crossing The Pond (and Other Barriers)

It is the night before I depart for the UK and I'm sitting in my living room with my family watching a movie, a fire crackling in the hearth, and we're eating cheeseballs with chopsticks. I am struck by all the little things we do that seen perfectly normal and endearing to each other yet to another family would be considered quite strange or out of place. You probably have things like this in your own family. These things bring us together as a family. Yet, these familial and cultural differences are so often what separates us.  We let our upbringing, preferences, education, theology  and even ethnicity divide us from the rest of the world and often our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We see this throughout our world today with our changing political climate, racial relations, and, on an even larger scale, in the refugee crisis and persecution of people groups worldwide. On the small scale we can even see this in our churches. The Church, as the Body of Christ, can often see cultural, theological, and preferential differences as boundaries that divide rather than strengths that balance. Our answer is different denominations or worship services. We are strangely disjointed for a group if people who profess a belief  in something as unifying the Gospel.

In the New Testament, Paul writes to the churches again and again about unity. He penned these famous words to the believers in Galatians: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (3:28 ESV) There are countless variations on these words throughout the New Testament all with the aim of reminding believers that the boundaries of the world are not to be present amongst brothers and sisters in Christ.

These thoughts have been heavy on my heart and on my mind this past semester at university and even heavier and more frequent in these few weeks leading up to this trip.

Much like the rest of my family, when I see a need I desire to fill it. If we're not equipped to do so, we find a way to get equipped like my oldest sister who is curently in school studying midewifery in the Philippines after seeing the need for trained midwives on the mission field.

In the same way, I am going to the UK this summer to get equipped. I am interning with several churches in London and Wales learning to do ministry in a cross-cultural setting. Not only will I be living in a new culture, I'll be serving communities on the edge of the second most diverse city in the world. 

My goal for this internship is to learn about the people of God and their ways to love, serve, and worship Him from around the world. I am going to learn about the little differences and the big, to learn about what a balanced cross-cultural community looks like rather than a divided once. My desire is to get the community in Christ to see themselves as God sees them as neither male nor female, neither conservative nor charismatic, neither republican nor democrat, neither underdog nor all-star, neither minority nor majority, but as "all one in Christ Jesus."

Thank you all for your faithful and much needed support and prayers  as I go out to serve and be equipped to continue working in the Kingdom of God. I will do my best to put out posts to keep you all updated on my progress as an intern, and about what miracles God works through the daily lives of myself and those around me. 

Much Love & Cheeseballs,
Olivia Faith Sales

Olivia at LAX ready to board her plane to Heathrow Airport in England. 

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Thank you for your words of encouragement. The Sales Family