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Catalyst 2.0 Prayer Guide : They Are Not So Much Different by Eric Zahnd

They Are Not So Much Different

by Eric Zahnd   

 Psalm 100:3:  Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are all his people, the sheep of his pasture.   

The language was foreign. The food was different. The living conditions were primitive. And the heat was oppressive.  

 But the people! The people were really not very different from you and me.   

With the support of Catalyst’s SEND Initiative, our family traveled to Thailand with others from Second Baptist Church. We worked at the Upland Holistic Development Project, an agroforestry ministry assisting Hill Tribe people fleeing from Myanmar.

We dug holes, planted trees, painted a room, and built a roof for a well. And my teenage sons each brought home a prized possession—a handmade machete bought from a man who likely used it himself earlier in the day.   

As you might expect, we encountered many bewildering things. Not only was the language perplexing, the alphabet itself was indecipherable. The food was new and exotic. Especially the durian, a sweet fruit with a stench so powerful, it is banned in most restaurants and hotels.   

Many of the Hill Tribe people we met dressed in traditional garb, very different from Western attire. Their skin was dark; their statures' small. At first glance, they appeared very different.   But as we got to know them over hard work and good meals, we quickly learned that their desires, hopes, and dreams are quite similar to ours.   

They want safety for their families. They want a safe food and water supply. They want good neighbors. They want to live happy, long lives in a place they can call home. And, whether expressed or not, they yearn for a relationship with the Almighty God who created and sustains all of us.     

The world is a big place, much bigger than the relatively comfortable confines of suburban Kansas City. Language, cuisines, living conditions, customs, traditions, and even religions vary from place to place.   

But God created all of us in His own image to be His people. Our core similarities overcome our external differences. For Psalmist sings truly, "Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are all his people, the sheep of his pasture." (Psalm 100:3)   

God, help me see that all people are your people. All are in need of a Savior.
Posted by Terri Soper at 12:00 AM
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