Under Observation

Sam, one of our 2017 training program graduates, is currently completing an externship in Europe. During his time with our team on the field, he is volunteering at a local hotel the team partners with. Below he shares a few things he’s learning about, besides roasting coffee and picking olives.

One of our last guests at the hotel was a small-time actor. I do not know anything about him other than that he plays secondary roles in minor productions.

Partway through his stay, he stopped to tell me in broken English that he is currently cast as an American in an upcoming film. Since he knew I am American, he informed me that he had been and would be observing me for the entirety of his stay: trying to discern and pick up on how Americans walk, how Americans talk, and how Americans think.

I thought about maybe wearing baseball caps every day, perhaps putting on my best Tom Selleck or John Wayne: walk with my chin up, shoulders erect, eyes straight, chest puffed out a bit, striding with purpose, being a bit too loud, overbearingly enthusiastic, and annoyingly brash.

In all seriousness, this did make me realize something: people are noticing me. They notice that I’m different. They know I’m not from around here, and so whether they are attempting to learn how to be a good American or not, they are watching my every move: the way I walk, talk, carry myself… all the words I say and all the things I do serve to paint an image of who I am.

I know that the point of ministry is to reflect Christ by modeling His love; to be set apart by God and to have others notice, wonder, and perhaps even ask about that difference is, in fact, why I’m here in the first place.

But it’s still scary. Being observed means being under pressure. I hope only that those who are observing see Christ rather than Sam.