I figured I would encounter many culture and weather shocks moving to Nevada. The shock I didn’t expect as much was the bubble I had lived in beforehand. Growing up in Georgia and living there for the last 30+ years it would not be uncommon to see a church on every corner. The Bible Belt is like an all you can eat buffet of churches. If you didn’t like one, no worries drive 100 yards and there is another one to try out.
Most of the time you could talk to any stranger and they could tell you the church they attend. Shoot if you were a “true southern” you probably lived at church. But out here it’s different. Churches are harder to find and one will have to supply a large community. I had a bit of a shock when I found out Reno, NV ranked #2 on the most unchurched cities in America. Only 40% attended church.
See, we knew God was calling us out here and it was a job change for my husband. We also knew that we weren’t just coming out here for a job but God had work for us to do. It would be easy to have the “high almighty” attitude of I have come with my southern hospitality and Jesus to help those in need but in reality my heart breaks.
My heart breaks for the people in this city that do not know Christ and who do not know His grace and mercy. My heart also breaks for the bubble I just left. It’s easy to take for granted the churches in the community. It’s easy to take for granted the knowledge of who Jesus is because his name is common. But because it is common and familiar it makes me wonder how many are calloused to the mission field of the cities next door? Or calloused to the relationship he offers or passes up the opportunity to have a deepening faith because just attending church on Sunday is all you think you need.
I was blind. I was in the bubble. So now it’s Lord what do I do? Where do you want me and how do you want to use me? It isn’t a coincidence the spiritual gifts God has equipped me with or the budding missionary in our family. The Lord brought us out into a spiritual desert to do work and to be witnesses to what he has taught us. Once again I am reminded, there will be no growth from comfort zones. I must follow Jesus out of the boat and into unknown places so that I may grow to know him more.