Investing (missionally) for long-term dividends

Posted on April 14, 2011 by VMMissions Staff

Our first term here in Bari was spent learning; culture, language, people and places. When we came back for our
second term, we had no idea what God had in store for us, but we felt it would be good. We can now confirm that it has been a wonderful experience!

Upon our return in 2009, people here looked at us and said, “You came back!” It gave them a new sense of trust in us that had not been there before, because part of the culture here is to say you will do something and not always follow through with what you say.

Our three boys attend the local public schools and people have wondered why we send them there. For one, it is a good education and our boys are learning Italian very well in this way. Another reason is that it puts us in contact with families in the local area and we understand how they live because we experience many of the same things that they do. We have been and are building relationships.

It is all about the relationships. It is a long-term investment that pays dividends only after time. This is what we are beginning to see in our work here. People that we have known for three years or more are beginning to ask, “What makes you all different? Why are you here?” Relationship is the open door to the Gospel of Christ.

We read in scripture many of the things that Jesus taught his disciples but how much more did they learn by just having a relationship with him and seeing him each day? (Acts 4:13) By living our faith in Christ, we teach a different way to live and open doors to speak openly of what Christ has done for us.

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Chris and Melody Riddle explain Thanksgiving Day

Chris and Melody Riddle explained Thanksgiving Day to Adam’s classmates. Courtesy of author

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