A few years ago, I was still living and working at Orphanage Emmanuel in Honduras. My heart for learning about different ways of life and foreign cultures continued to grow as the Honduran children, teenagers, and adults there generously taught me about their beautiful country. Every day God was using those people to show me more of who He is. And my desire to travel and explore the rest of the world was born.
As humans, we are each beautifully created in His image, yet God is so big, that I don’t think it’s possible for one country or culture to fully display all of Him. I guess I think God did that on purpose… Isn’t it interesting how each of us is created in His image, yet no two humans are completely alike? Even in the microcosms of one town, one classroom, or even one family, there is so much variety - physically, but also regarding our interests, passions, strengths, weaknesses, personalities, senses of humor, experiences, backgrounds, etc. Maybe God intended for us to be in relationship with people different from ourselves so that we can catch glimpses of who He is in a different light.
One of the reasons I most love traveling is because that diversity is shown off even more strongly. I believe that it is crucially important that we interact and engage with people much different than ourselves. Yet for some reason, that’s not our tendency. I easily find myself sitting next to the person who dresses similarly to myself in class, talking to people who come from a similar upbringing, or getting coffee only with those at my same stage of life. Which, okay, of course it’s good to have community and bond with people that you have things in common with. That’s natural and good.
But amidst those “easy” relationships, I encourage us as people to try for those more difficult relationships as well - maybe building friendships with someone decades older than us, someone with a different cultural background, or from a different “social class.” And of course, traveling and genuinely interacting with the locals is an exaggerated version of that.
On various separate occasions abroad I’ve been talking to a friend - during a hike in New Zealand, while serving side-by-side in Honduras, on a train in Italy… - and we’ve realized and commented on the fact that if we had both grown up in the same home-town, we probably never would have become friends. Social status-quo’s or prejudice would have most likely caused us to miss out on the opportunity to share life together, if not caused us to completely avoid one another. And what a shame that would have been, because it has often been these people so different than myself that have had huge impacts on my life. They have shared unique perspectives with me that have greatly benefitted and changed my understanding of the world.
I’m taking a physics class in college right now (side note - prayer request, I hate/am terrible at physics). On the 1st day of class we were having an “introduction to science” discussion about how people used to believe that the Earth was the center of the solar system. This was generally accepted and went mostly unchallenged for many years, until technology improved and people were able to see the Earth from a different perspective. Seeing the earth from outside of the planet itself allowed people to understand that actually the Sun is the center of the solar system, not the Earth. It completely and radically changed our understanding of the entire universe and its workings.
I think life is like that. It’s so easy for us to continue on in life surrounding ourselves exclusively with people like us - but we are robbing ourselves of so much knowledge and life when we do that. Most people know that I encourage everyone to travel - but even if traveling abroad isn’t what’s right for your current season of life, I urge you to “travel” where you’re at now. Seek diversity out fearlessly rather than shy away from it. Talk to people different than you are, even if it feels uncomfortable at first.
Because at the end of the day, though there are a million things dividing us, there is one constant thing that unites us all - We all have the same Creator, and we are each made equally and beautifully in His image.
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." - Genesis 1:27
"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." - Galatians 3:28
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I believe in God's grace through Jesus. I love to learn, in a variety of contexts - reading God's Word, interacting with people from diverse backgrounds around the world, and as a student of Linguistics and Foreign Languages at Western Washington University. Pages of My Passport is dedicated to sharing this journey of learning through written and visual content.