Retired Missionary Charlie and Beth Flunker share details on returning home to Dourados, Mato Grosso do Sul where they serving Igreja Luterana Brasileira – The Brazilian Lutheran Church as active volunteers.
When was the last time you thought about the color of your skin? I'm guessing that most of you live in places where one skin color predominates, and people of another race and skin color are few. You might have some in your congregation or neighborhood, but they are the minority. As you might well imagine, different colors of skin are the rule in mission work, and often it is the missionary who is the minority.
Charlie and I just returned from our annual visit to the US. The trip was very interesting! In the Chicago airport, waiting for our flight, we observed the people. That airport has many international flights, and we began to see people of many different nationalities. When we finally decided to sit down in the gate area of our flight, we begin to interact with the many Brazilians, who are returning home from the US. This interaction continues on the plane. The Brazilians often take us for Germans, who are the light-skinned and light-haired people living in Brazil, so we always have a ready-made conversation starter.
Once in the bus station we see a wider variety of skin colors. Everyone uses the efficient and comfortable bus system in Brazil. There are business people, students, store owners with huge sacks of merchandise going back to their small towns after the buying trip to the big city, old people going visiting, whole families, and actually people moving all their belongings in large feed sacks. We can pick out the Bolivians, who have noticeable facial characteristics, and who are returning to their homes just across the frontier from Brazil. Here, as well as in the 15 hour bus trip home, we see all skin tones and walks of life.
This all happened from Wednesday to Friday of last week. So it was rather unique that Gilberto, our evangelist, preached a sermon on Sunday that was based on Peter's vision of the sheet full of unclean animals, and the lesson that Peter learned from it. God does not look at people's skin color, He just wants to find faith in their hearts. So it is important for us to accept one another, and to reach out to all people, because if God doesn't see any difference in skin color or social level, neither should we. Wonderful reminder to get back to work here in the mission field in Brazil!!
We pray that you have also learned this lesson, that a soul is a soul, no matter the external covering, and all souls are tainted with sin and need a Savior. May the Lord bless your mission spirit!