We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:20)
For the past year previous to joining the Salt Lake Fellows, I had continually and eagerly been praying about missions, and I openly asked The Lord to reveal to me where He desired me to serve.
I think in our generation and in The Church today, when we hear the word “mission” and our minds quickly think to a third-world country that’s in desperate need of aid and assistance. My mind would jump to “every tongue and every nation”… and rightfully so. These places are in incredible need of the Gospel and the message of hope, and I’m so thankful that The Lord calls specific believers to go and serve in these far off areas. And for some time I thought that would be me. But during this season He has called me to a far different mission field than I would have ever pictured in my mind.
Through prayer and time, The Lord revealed to me that there are yearning mission fields in our very country. There are people who have never tasted the freedom that comes in being a follower of Christ, populations that are lost in legalism and “rules of religion,” hardened hearts who have walked away from the Church due to hurt or past experiences, all in all- people The Lord desires to reach and pursue through His children.
There are 7 Salt Lake Fellows out here this year in the mountains of Utah, willing and ready to serve this city and share of the chain-breaking God we love. And lately we’ve been learning so much about the culture here and the unique mission field in which He’s placed our feet.
I’m learning that a mission field can look very different than we’d imagine a “struggling culture” to look. In fact, in Salt Lake’s case… there may be incredible wealth and prosperity, well dressed men in suits, and temples built up tall to the sky. All masking fear and bondage that comes with legalistic pressures. In Salt Lake City specifically, there is a predominant Mormon culture with our entire city built around the central LDS Temple, and Brigham Young University just minutes from our homes. If you go downtown, many of the local businesses, boutiques, malls, and companies are run/owned by a member of The Church of Latter Day Saints. In a community that values and emphasizes wealth and success, these people seem to be thriving.
But something we are quickly learning as well is that there is also an aggressively strong "Anti-Mormon" culture in the city... which is exactly what it sounds like: people completely in opposition to the LDS Church and show a clear effort to make known where they stand. You’ll observe many of these people with excessive tattoos and piercings in drastic hopes to separate themselves from the Mormon culture in this place. This division has created a strong tension within the city, with these two opposing populations fighting to live in the same land.
Our program director Ben said that as Protestant Christians, we are to walk the line between these two opposing forces. I see this concept illustrated so vividly in the picture below- one that was taken on our hike to Red Pine Lake the other weekend. A picture of two strong forces existing side-by-side but never coming together to dwell.
My prayer is for unity. That somehow, someway the war between these two communities would be brought into harmony by the freedom and joy of Jesus Christ. I pray for the ability to love well and build relations with both communities, and the courage to stand in the gap between the two (Ezekiel 22:30). When I think of the God we serve, and His mighty power that can move mountains, I get excited that I get to be a part of this mission and to see what He does in this beautiful place. Jesus Christ knew division, and He holds the power to conquer it.
“Truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.” (Matthew 17:20)
SLF Class of 17-18