Starting relationships are easier than I thought

I just woke up a little bit early in so I could get my blog post in. This is going to be a little bit more raw as at this moment I have about 38 minutes to write a blog post on my tablet before the new day’s festivities!

So I’m writing from the Anabaptist Global Youth Summit, currently happening at Messiah College in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Rachel & I have been here since Thursday night, and I’ve been the delegate for Mennonite Church Canada for this conference. We’ll be heading home tomorrow, before the big Global Mennonite World Conference begins this coming week.

There’s one thing I’ve learned in the last couple days that I just want to get across: building deep relationships is suprisingly easy.

African Mennonites leading us in worship.

African Mennonites leading us in singing.

When we arrived late on Thursday night, after a looong day of driving, I saw many young adults here who were just faces in a crowd. I had no context for who they were or where they came from. As an introvert, my mind immediately jumped to how much work it would be to connect. I started telling myself that there was probably very few people in this place I could develop any sort of relationship with. I even wondered why I was here at all (a nice little insight into how my mind works!). There was so many people from so many different places! It was quite overwhelming.

Rome was not built in a day, but apparently building friendships with people all over the world can be done during that time.

When I went to sleep on Friday night, I now had a new bunch of friends from various countries, that it was easy to forget that I literally had just met these people earlier in that day! When I went to sleep last night, it felt like I had just always known some of these people. For some reason or another, building friendships are actually not that hard. You just need to be in a space where that growth can happen.

When a group of Christians get together from around the world, the story of Pentecost in Acts 2 easily comes to mind. It is remarkable how the Holy Spirit can bind people together so quickly. We’re not all speaking in languages we’ve never learned to each other, but our spirits are uniting here in this place. There is tremendous spiritual power in people gathering together who are very different but share a common purpose.

But I don’t think we need to go to a conference in another country in order to experience relationship so easy. Love is the common denominator here. As soon as we stop loving each other, all these warm fuzzy relationships will start to break down. A speaker from Ethiopia last night spoke that when we love someone we are literally giving life to them (and vice versa).

I can give life to others anywhere. People desire life.

I can build relationship with others anywhere. People crave relationship.

People are open for love, but am I willing to accept how radically easy it is to start? Am I willing to share life with my neighbours and with strangers?

We stick to those we know and those who are like us because its safe, but Jesus asks us to love those who are unknown and not like us.

As I’ve learned this weekend, it is not hard to change those unknown faces into known people.

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