Shortly after returning from a mission trip to Rwanda, one of my teens called me in tears. She’d just returned from a bookstore, where she’d noticed less than a row of books about the entire continent of Africa and none about Rwanda. “Don’t people care about what’s going on in other parts of the world?” she asked me.
Another teen, also a participant on that trip, routinely gets upset every time someone refers to the country of Africa, which happens far more than you’d think.
These experiences are evidence of the fact that these two girls have begun to develop a global perspective, something that has deeply impacted their faith. When they read Scripture passages about the poor and oppressed, they understand them differently because they personally know people who live on less than $1 a day. Having glimpsed even just a fraction of the world first hand, they also read Scripture passages about the “world” differently than those teens whose world has only ever been the United States. Having been a confused foreigner themselves, they understand why God routinely calls his people to care for the aliens. Having heard people worship God in different languages, they’ve caught a glimpse of what it might be like to worship in heaven with people from every nation. Having seen black Jesus’, they’re less inclined to believe Jesus is a white man with blond hair.
Of course, all of this is great. But what about those teens who are never able to travel abroad for an international mission trip? How do we help them gain a global perspective? Here are 8 ways you can begin to do so, without ever leaving your local community.