Additional "From Further Afield" Articles


Published: 1/24/2012 2:14:36 PM


When I first moved to Hungary, I was concerned about how to stay connected and get connected. When you have your feet on two continents, it isn’t always easy to stay standing. I learned the art of communication through the barrier of distance via the Internet as well as the how-tos of building relationships through the barriers of language and culture. The latter consisted (and consists) of me getting to know my students and colleagues, learning some Hungarian, and being brave in trying to initiate conversations. The former, rather, finds me skyping with my parents, chatting with friends on facebook, and watching my father’s sermons on youtube.

Connection isn’t always easy. In fact, yesterday while I was waiting for a friend to skype me, I decided to start cooking dinner, simultaneously searching for one of my father’s sermons on youtube. So, as I chopped onions, peppers, tomatoes, and the like, I heard my dad preaching about connections and relationships. I began to think that we are often motivated by the need to be connected. It may have even motivated you to read this very blog.

And while this need for connection can cause people to look in all the wrong places for love and acceptance, I also think that in some ways, this deep need is God-given. We were meant to be in relationship with Jesus Christ. The God of the universe wants us to talk to Him and get to know Him. And relationship – connection – with God doesn’t have the human barriers of distance or language or culture. Yet, all too often, we don’t take the plunge. We try our hardest to meet friends for coffee, or talk on the phone with old roommates who now live halfway across the country, or drive hundreds of miles to get to family members. But we forget to take 5 minutes to talk to God or to read His Word and grow in our connection with Him. It’s easier when there aren’t any barriers; however, perhaps we’ve been taught that if something isn’t hard to accomplish, it’s not worth so much anyway. But God doesn’t have us jump through barriers – He already did that for us. His death and resurrection accomplished for us what we could not even dream of doing for ourselves: forgiveness, redemption, and life forever with God. And that is worth more than anything else.

And it seems to me that when we receive an amazing gift or when we have a great time with a friend, we tell others about it, not in a gloating fashion, but in a joyful one. I always share my experiences with the those I’m connected with: my parents, my brothers, my husband, my best friend from elementary school, my colleagues, etc. How much more so should we share the news of our gift of life in Jesus and our relationship with Him!

Sometimes talking about a great friend to a great friend doesn't lead to anything (that we see), but sometimes your friends become friends. Perhaps the same is true when sharing Jesus with our friends. Some of them realize that the desire they feel for connection can only be fully fulfilled in Jesus and by the working of the Holy Spirit, they take steps to know Him more. Others may not, and nothing happens that we can see, but the Holy Spirit is still working. Even as we stay connected first with Jesus and then with others, we can be assured that God is at work.

Sarah Berta-Somogyi

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