Change the World Two by Two
by Krista Givens
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves." (Luke 10:1-3)
Two by two, the early followers of Christ went into an unknown world to prepare the way for Jesus. On their journey, surely they met resistance and opposition as well as kindness and joy upon receipt of the Good News.
On May 15, 2011, as a part of the global "Change the World" event, a small group of Methodists from around the world gathered to be sent out like lambs in the midst of wolves. Methodists from Hamburg's International United Methodist Church and from the Evangelish-methodistische Kirche (the Methodist Church of Germany) joined together to learn about one another, to partner together, and to go out into the community to share the joy of Christian life with others.
Under the direction of Beate Klahn-Egbers, the Children and Youth Coordinator of the Hamburg district of the EMK, and Rev. Dr. Krista S. Givens, General Board of Global Ministries missionary, we prepared our balloons, donned our costumes (red clown noses!), practiced our cold-approach, and teamed up to go to the park to see whom we could find.
We found children walking with their parents, elderly people sitting on a bench, joggers and bicyclists, drunk young adults hanging out, youth playing football; all out on a Sunday afternoon. As we approached, we'd smile and ask, "Mochten Sie ein Luftballon?" (Would you like a balloon?) and when asked "Why are you doing this?" we'd reply, "Um Ihnen Freude." (To bring you joy.) We faced quizzical looks and shaking heads, as well as smiles and hearty thanks.
One woman tried to pay us for the balloon. Two elderly gentlemen laughed as they chased their balloons when the wind carried them away. One young woman sat and smiled at her balloon, looking at it with reverence. One young woman, who had been drinking with her friends, shouted "Hey! I want a balloon!" and was happy to receive her gift.
We decided that in sending the disciples out two by two, Jesus knew what he was doing: there is safety in numbers, and it is good to reflect on one's actions with a partner. Working together, we can change the world, bring Christ's love to others, and bring a smile to the faces of God's people. May it be so.
A missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, the Rev. Dr. Krista S. Givens is serving as pastor of the International United Methodist Church in Hamburg, Germany.
Date posted: May 18, 2011