Sunday, January 28, 2018

Viva la differences

Joyce Sasse - Both of us had served as missionaries in Korea. Sharon, my senior by twenty years, had been overseas that much longer – and approaches to mission work had changed a lot over those years.

When we returned to the same city in Canada, a friend asked if we would both be theme speakers at the Mission Festival his church was planning.

Our friendship with each other was special, but the differences in how we looked back on our work with the Korean Church was vastly different. We tried to explain this to our friend, with the suggestion that things would be simpler if he invited one or the other of us. He accepted our luncheon invitation, listened to our arguments, then said that both our names were already on the Festival venue.

It was up to us to work out details… In the end, one of us selected from our collection of slides, while the other offered most of the commentary.

What a revelation that experience was. In the past, the approach had been to give the audience a “this-is-the-way-to-do-it” message (as if everything always stayed the same).

What we learned from our shared-presentation-experience was that the audience expected transparency. They knew us to be two different persons, with different approaches to many aspects of life. It wasn’t up to us to sort out what we thought they should hear. It was up to them to hear the differences, and draw their own conclusions about what to take from that experience.

In most instances, today, we accept the fact that such differences are normal. There are few right-and-wrong ways of thinking or doing something. Audience members freely draw their own conclusions. It is encouraging to hear people openly, but respectfully, express their differences. That way no one in the audience has the excuse of needing to catch up on “40 winks”.

Viva la differences!

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