Yesterday my grounds keeper sent me a text telling me he was sorry for not being able to come to work because a new friend came to see where he lived. If this happened in America it would be grounds for a write up or maybe even firing someone. What kind of nonsense is that?
When someone in Africa says to you: “I want to see where you live” it is not as strange as it may sound to us westerners. Folks in the market used to say this to Katherine all the time. She just figured they want to come and see our house so she paid no attention to their request. After all, strangers do not need to see where we live! They might come and rob us!
In African culture “I want to come and see where you live” is not meant to be intrusive, in fact, just the opposite. It really is a friendly request. What they are actually saying is that I want to know you better, I want to be your friend! For us it seems quite strange that someone we might only know as an acquaintance makes such a request. Here in Mozambique and other parts of this continent called Africa, if you want to have relationship with someone this is what you do. You invite them to see where you live, or invite yourself to see where he/she lives. It is quite normal.
And so my groundkeeper, who also works as an evangelist with Great Harvest, invited someone to come see where he lives. It doesn’t matter how far or how long it takes to get there. Some will travel hours for a visit, expect to be fed, and maybe even spend the night! Can you imagine people doing this to you in America?
This is how one shows his earnest in building a relationship here in this nation where I live. For my groundskeeper I was glad to hear it. He is building lasting relationships to win the lost to Christ. It cost him time and perhaps precious food, but those he is inviting to see where he lives will be changed by a God who is inviting them in to see where He lives as well, through this simple, but powerful way of friendship.
In contrast to my last article “Things I Hate”, this is something I love about Africa. Not all is evil here. In some ways the simplicity of the culture is profoundly inviting. Perhaps we should start a new movement -“Come and see where I live.” Maybe if we started inviting the lost to our house and began to build relationships in this way, evangelism might be a whole lot easier. I dare say few would come to church if we invited them, but most would come to our house for a meal, good conversation, and perhaps even one day a little bible study.
This is what we do here for Jesus. It starts with an invitation to “Come and see”.