Who is My Global Neighbour?

Every night our brains can be afflicted with a barrage of images from around the world—particularly if we watch the world news. The images of warfare, calamity, famine, flood and malnutrition can be overwhelming. The problem is these images are only a reflection of reality, they do not physically engage us in a real world of personal interaction and community. They engage our minds and emotions without providing any hope of involving us in practical action. When the whole world feels like it has arrived in your living room, our hearts and minds can switch off to avoid overload. This is a common and even normal response to global issues. No single person, family or faith community can care for the whole world. God loves the world. However, he only asks us to love our neighbour.

So in a world of global inter-connectedness, who is my neighbour? Bono aptly puts it,that our neighbour is no longer determined by an accident of longitude and latitude. But neither is our neighbour every image of human need and suffering which we see on our TV screens. Carrying that burden is emotionally, physically and mentally impossible. I define my neighbour as those people and communities around the world where there is a possibility of me having some level of personal engagement. In our age of global interconnectedness that surely includes someone in Africa, China or India as well as Australia; but it can’t include everyone, So finding my global neighbour requires making choices, and using Godly discernment. We need to ask questions such as: “Where can I be practically involved in a global community”, or “Whose life in Africa or India could change because of me?”

Our role in World Impact is to help our congregations engage with global neighbours at a scale and level where personal involvement is possible. Through a range of international partnerships around the world, we have been able to identify a select number of high impact ways in which you can personally connect with a global neighbour. Such involvement is real and practical and goes far beyond seeing an image on a television screen. It brings our global focus back to, “Whose life can I help change?” Through becoming informed about the ministry of a particular mission partner, through focused prayer, and through personally visiting a mission field, each of us can help change a life and be a more loving global neighbour. God demonstrates his love for the world more and more as each one of us takes practical steps to love our neighbour at home and overseas.

– Andrew