by Harvey Thiessen
OCEANIA/NORTH AMERICA – From time to time I am asked for my curriculum vitae (CV) to introduce me to a whole new set of people that have not known me. Presumably, this is meant to help the readers understand what value I bring to the activity or discussion for which I am being considered.
Usually what is expected is a list of stuff I have put in my head (education) and my accomplishments (as measured by the organizational positions I have held).
When I was asked again recently by a group of academics forming the Lausanne North American Diaspora Strategy Group, I relooked at what I should send them and realised that what they asked for was not what primarily made me who I am or even what they would get if they invited me to participate with them. So, instead, I sent them the following:
- Walked the highlands of Papua New Guinea
- Sipped tea in the comfort of a Beduoin tent
- Sailed five of the seven seas
- Been drenched by monsoons, pushed around by typhoons, and one decision away from being engulfed by a volcano.
- Taken up residence in nine countries
- Faced down an angry mob intent on beating a man to death
- Fled in fear from a knife-wielding thief
- Walked with men transformed from killers and liars to servants and givers
- Shaken the hands of kings, princes, and governors
- Sat, laughed, hugged, and enjoyed the company of beggars and orphans
- Loved my wife and been transported by the birth of my four children
- Wept at the death of my first grandchild
- Walked with God in sorrow and joy
- Experienced the pride of accomplishment and the humility of personal failure
- Been enraptured by worship and mortified by repentance
- Spoken to tens of thousands
- Been afraid to speak to a child
- Been the target of terrorists and the object of derision
- Felt security in the identify of my family
- Held the pain-wracked hand of my mother as she slipped into eternity
- Cried as hardened men gave way to God
- Smiled as my granddaughter took my hand
The responsibilities I have taken up while I walk this journey: Oceania and North America Leader, Operation Mobilization; Chairman, Board of Directors, MoveIn; Board of COMMA; Board of Canadian Centre for World Mission; Board of Pamir Productions; Board of Operation Mobilization USA; Executive Committee of Canadian Network of Ministries to Muslims.
How do we describe who we are to the outside world? These days in the hot contest of groups and ideological alliances, we are pushed to “tribalise” our identity by who we associate with, quote or support. These things influence but do not define who we are. The Bible clearly demonstrates that our actions and interactions draw the picture for God when he asks, “Who are you?” What is your CV? Matthew 7:20.
Harvey Thiessen (Wymark) is Oceania and North America Leader for Operation Mobilization.