"Its hard being a Christian in America, its almost impossible to go out as a missionary from America"
So says John Piper, speaking in his annual 'Missions Week' address at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis.
The strange thing was, I was listening to the talk, sitting in a bus driving down the interstate from Idaho Falls to Salt Lake City, where we were catching a plane to come home from holidays.
We'd just spent two weeks with dear friends in comfortable, organised, 'everything works' middle America. We'd enjoyed fantastic national parks in the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, eaten great food, enjoyed warm fellowship and appreciated the wealth of our surroundings.
But now it was time to go home. Back to chaotic, grungy Mexico. And here I was listening to these words.
Pastor Piper's point was this. To be Christian in America is difficult because the lure of comfort and materialism and money is very strong. To put all that aside and go to another country for the sake of the gospel is almost impossible.
I'm not commenting on this so you feel sorry for us or put us on a pedestal - neither of those things are appropriate (especially the pedestal one!!) But I do want to say - after seeing what we saw and experienced what we experienced in the US, I think he is absolutely right.
Where we were in Idaho was a great place to live (in Summer at least!!). In some ways, it had a 'shire' feel to it (Sydney-siders will know what I mean). It's beautiful, why would you want to leave? In fact, I can see how all over America, there are great temptations to think that God is truly blessing people because of their comfortable houses and efficient transport and giant shopping malls and all that.
But he calls on us to give all that up for the sake of following Jesus.
We found it difficult coming back to Mexico. Our Spanish brains took a while to reconnect, it was hard to get re-adjusted the pace of life here and we missed being with our close friends. But we're back into it now - and going pretty well.
Thanks again for your interest and support.