The Nations Next Door
When 20 something Jordan Bowen joined the staff at Oasis Church in Maumelle, he already had a passion for the nations. “My wife and I have missionary hearts,” Bowen said. But he had no idea his heart for missions would lead him, not across the world but just across town. Jordan, now 27, is planting Oasis Church Downtown in Little Rock in an attempt to connect to internationals in the city. Oasis Downtown is one of four new church plants coming out of the Oasis Maumelle Campus. After just a few months, they are already engaging more than 7 different people groups and are preparing to send out their first church planter. Recently they baptized a young girl from China. And, as remarkable as this sounds, Jordan insists that they aren’t doing anything out of the ordinary. In fact, it’s the ordinary that is having the most impact. He shared on Episode 77 of The Grind that the key is really found in two practices.
1.Opening Your Eyes
“You have to be willing to open your eyes,” he said. “There are 17 people groups in Little Rock alone. They are here, you just have to have eyes to see them.” A simple Google search will reveal who is in your area and where you can connect with them. Many communities in Arkansas, especially ones with colleges and universities, have international friend programs. These programs and entities exist to connect internationals to Americans and other internationals in their area. “You don’t have to create it, just find where they already are.” Which leads to the second practice that Jordan points out.
2. Opening Your Life
“When we lived in Conway, we got to know a lot of internationals by giving rides to the train station. We also taught some to drive. It was always fun and interesting. We did whatever we could to connect with them.” Again, ordinary things are all we have to be willing to do. Anyone can give a ride, anyone can take someone driving. Well, anyone with good car insurance! “It’s honestly just about real friendship. Just be a friend. It’s not about creating something to do but doing what you and they already enjoy. Odds are, there is something you already do, and they already do that you can connect on.” Another way to open your life, Jordan says, is to open your home. “Have them over. Internationals want to be in an American home. They are curious about American culture and holidays. Christian holidays are a great way to share Jesus with them. Not only do they want to be in your home, in most cultures, but it’s also ok for you to ask to see their home. Invite yourself over after they have been in your home. They want to have you over! Hospitality is huge in most international cultures. But no matter what you do, always set up your next meeting before you leave,” Bowen says.
Simply doing what the Bowen’s have done, opening both our eyes and our lives, we too can have an impact on the nations in Arkansas. Interested in learning more? Contact Jamie Naramore of the ABSC Missions Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.