The fifth “Life’s Lesson” I have learned on the mission field is one that everyone knows, but one that has been an important lesson for me – learning to Love People.
Before coming to Argentina, I remember reading and studying about Argentina. I looked at videos of Argentina, read books, looked at pictures, listened to how they talked, etc. I thought I loved the people, but to be honest I think it was an emotional high without reality.
When we arrived to Argentina, I put my Argentine flag up, marked every holiday, tried to talk and act like them, etc. I wanted to be one of them. But as time passed by, I found they had in common certain characteristics such as people I knew in the United States, people I met in Peru, and everywhere else in the world….. they were just people. Although this seems so simple, it is still very complex.
The blessing about me realizing that they are “just people”, meant to me that they really did not care that I was short, had big ears, flunked more than once in school, was not smart in many areas, etc. I began to find out that the more I loved them, the more they accepted me. They were just people in need as my family and anyone else in this world.
Whether rich or poor, whatever nationality or language, people just need someone to love them. It is said that no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. The truth in this is amazing. We have been able to win families and individuals, not because we have the best preaching and singing, but we are learning the “Life Lesson” of loving people.
I have seen the power in love. I have seen how hard a person will work when he is loved and recognized. I have seen people do more than they may be capable of, or spend what they don’t have because they feel loved. I have seen attitudes changed and joy fulfilled when someone sees they are truly loved. They care not how much I know, nor how good of a preacher I am, they just care how much I love them.
I John 4:19 says, “We love him, because he first loved us.” And as He has taught me, He commands me to go and love others. This love can be the water and sunshine to make a new Christian grow in the Lord. But I am to love them first, I am to go after them even when they might not know they need it.
When was the last time I wrote a letter of encouragement to someone? When was the last time I sent an e-mail or a text message to encourage someone? When was the last time I called or visited someone, just to show them I love them? There is great power in love. It is love that cannot be quenched by many waters or drown by the floods. And it is love that is a great “Life Lesson” for all of us to learn and to put in practice.