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Embracing Culture

Embracing culture is the pathway to effectively sharing the Gospel

In this diverse world, culture isn’t just something we do — it’s who we are. From the way we speak to the way we learn and become motivated, culture shapes every aspect of our lives. When it comes to spreading the Gospel, understanding and respecting the differences among varying cultures is crucial. It’s not enough to simply preach a message; we must reach them where they are and share the Good News in ways that resonate within the cultural contexts of those we want to reach for Christ.

We especially need to consider the impact of culture when it comes to missions and evangelism. It makes no sense to westernize the world, bringing in our American practices. Not only is it unsustainable in the long term, but it also fails to connect with the individuals who are receiving the message.

That is where missionaries with on-the-ground experience come in — they’re experts at navigating their own cultures and sharing the Gospel in ways that make the most sense to their people. Their stories are testaments to the power of meeting people where they are, speaking their languages and showing them the love of Christ in a way that truly connects.

Testimonies of culture and evangelism

In our mission to spread hope and salvation, we come across countless stories that show how coming alongside those already sharing the Gospel in their own communities can powerfully and effectively make an eternal impact. These testimonies from Reaching Souls International missionaries, our localized partners in ministry around the globe, reveal the key strength of evangelism: cultural familiarity.

Staneley from Zambia: “Not a box of cookies”

Staneley, a missionary from Zambia, encountered a unique opportunity to share the Gospel with a mother and her child in the streets of their local neighborhood.

As Staneley carried an EvangeCube, a simple but powerful evangelistic tool, a chance encounter unfolded as a mother’s child mistook the cube for a box of cookies. Staneley quickly recognized the moment as a divine opportunity, clarifying the cube’s true purpose. From depicting humanity’s separation from God to the hope found in Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, Staneley effectively communicated the Gospel message to this woman.

Moved by Staneley’s explanation, the woman chose to give her life to Jesus right then and there, underscoring the importance of how God can change any life, anywhere and in any way, in a single moment.

Ivonne & Paulina from Mexico: Reaching the Indigenous

Ivonne and Paulina, Hispanic missionaries stationed within a local city in Mexico, immersed themselves in the local community. Having grown up in this region, they even spoke the local language.

Despite facing initial resistance, skepticism and discouragement, Ivonne and Paulina persisted in their mission. To fund their ministry, they engaged in various income-generating activities, from holding garage sales to taking odd jobs, all while pouring their hearts into serving the people. They eventually obtained a small plot of land and began constructing a church from the ground up, laying the foundation with their own hands, earning the trust and respect of people.

Now, after a decade of faithful ministry, Ivonne and Paulina have come to witness the fruits of their labor as the church has grown and salvation decisions have been made. Through their unwavering dedication to share the tangible love of God, lives have been permanently transformed within this originally unreached community.

Hussein from Kenya: Like Saul to Paul

Hussein is an evangelist from Kenya who actively shares his powerful testimony from Islam to Christianity.

Born into a devout Muslim family, Hussein’s upbringing revolved around a strict Islamic education, excluding any exposure to other faiths. Yet, despite his immersion in the Islamic faith, Hussein’s ultimate encounter with the Christian message sparked a profound inner transformation. Troubled by a sudden inability to speak while attempting to call people to prayer at the mosque, Hussein found himself drawn to a group of Christian evangelists. As he listened, something stirred within him, leading to a life-changing decision to accept Jesus Christ as his Savior.

Despite the stark opposition Hussein faced from his family and community, Hussein became committed to spreading the Gospel through his story. Through the destruction of his home and possessions, separation from his family, persecution, loss, beatings, and imprisonment, Hussein has remained faithful and joyful in evangelizing. Having lived in their culture and empowered by his journey of transformation, Hussein has dedicated himself to training others to reach Muslims with the message of Jesus Christ, praying for their eyes to be opened to the truth of salvation.

Individual cultures, individual reach

Each of these stories is unique in culture, evangelistic method and reach — showing us just how valuable it is to foster these local communities in ways that resonate with their people. This mindset reinforces the way Jesus Christ speaks to each of us — individually.

Therefore, as we aim to serve and evangelize, we have to learn to view other cultures as bridges to deeper understanding and connection — rather than barriers to overcome. Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:22 summarize this servanthood concept well:

“I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means, I might save some.”

Through the lens of culture, the Good News resonates with people of all backgrounds. Embracing this reality is necessary to effectively share the Gospel message and sustainably foster Christ-centered communities around the world.

Dustin Manis, President & CEO