As I think back on our trip to San Diego, three things in particular come to mind. They all relate to missions and evangelism. First, San Diego is almost too nice. I realize that when you are on vacation almost any place can look nice. San Diego, however, goes beyond that. The weather is almost always sunny and warm. It is almost never too hot or too cold. Palm trees line the streets. The beach is within a ten minute drive. The mountains are an easy drive away. If you want to explore another country, Mexico sits close by. Los Angeles is close, but not too close. San Francisco is still far away (that is a good thing). Multiple amusement parks (Sea World, Legoland, etc.) are available. The best zoo in the country sits right in the city. Even the best running back in the world (LaDainian Tomlinson) plays for your team, and he's nice, too (we got to meet him briefly). San Diego is just too nice. I wonder if this makes it frustrating to witness to others about Christ. For most lost people, if their lives are going along well, why should they bother turning to the Lord? It seems that if a person has little or is facing a crisis, then they are much more willing to hear a testimony about our Lord. I wonder if the incredible beauty and pleasantness of San Diego lulls people into a false sense of peace.
Second, San Diego is an interesting place because it is such mix of different ethnicities. Whites, blacks, Latinos, and Asians all mix together in fairly large numbers. This was very apparent to me at Legoland. We were waiting in line for some sort of ride when I glanced around. The line was composed of roughly 35% Latinos, 15% Asians, 15% blacks, and 35% whites. It was fascinating to watch such a large mix of people from different backgrounds all trying to get on a kids ride. This mix reminded me that heaven will look a lot like this (except for the sweat part of the line). In heaven there will be people from every tribe and tongue worshiping God together. It will be a beautiful sight to behold.
Third, like anywhere else in the world, most of the folks who call San Diego home do not know the Lord. They are currently lost and without hope. What should we do? Can we learn one method of sharing our faith (such as F.A.I.T.H., E.E., etc.) and hope that it works with people from all different races? No, we cannot. We have a responsibility to take time to learn about the people with whom we come in contact. In our everyday life, if we come into contact with whites, blacks, Latinos, and Asians, wouldn't it be good to know something about them before we try to share our faith with them? We should also remember that there are many sub-groups to the four large ethnic groups I just mentioned. As Christians, we have work to do. We must prepare to share our faith with people from many diverse racial backgrounds. Heaven is going to be full of people of all colors and backgrounds. Let's prepare now to be an effective witness to people from all over the globe. After all, our country is becoming increasingly diverse all the time. Your home town may not be as mixed as San Diego, but chances are good that diversity is increasing where you are.