Every Human Soul Discovers

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A Pentecost Moment Waiting for Every Human Heart 

by Eric Elkin

The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.
— Acts 10: 45

Someone in seminary once told me, the outside world considers Iowa the epitome of Midwest American living. Meaning, journalists on either coast referenced the state when seeking to describe a culture that is simple (living, not minded), conservative, white, friendly, and isolated from the larger world. My apologies to the people of Iowa if this comes off as a slight.

While generalizations are never entirely accurate, I imagine most people on the coasts would agree with the image. However, I doubt these people have ever met Abby.  Why should they?  We can’t expect them to know everyone.

Two years ago, Abby left Iowa to serve in the Peace Corps in Mozambique. Choices like this one require a person to leave their comfort zone. It also means they leave family and friends behind to willing enter the risks of the Third World. Serving in a foreign land means a change in diet, in customs, in language and access to comfort.  

Abby’s journey was also surrendering to the needs of others. In her two years of service, she worked to bring clean water to people who lack this basic necessity. She has helped plant crops, educate people and immerse herself in the lives of people foreign to her Iowa roots.

Her team of Peace Corps volunteers has worked to combat malaria, poverty, and hunger. For each member of the team, there is a home and Mozambique is a new land.

I don’t speak to Abby about her experiences in Africa. It is not necessary; her life is on full display through social media. She posts pictures on Facebook detailing her life.

Abby is an artist, and her photographs reveal what she sees with her soul. She can take an inanimate object and turn it into a compelling picture. Landscapes, motion, vehicles, and garbage come to life through her lens.

One thing I’ve noticed, the longer Abby serves in Mozambique, the more her images reflect the human community. She no longer posts pictures of objects or individual people. Now, they all reflect groups and relationships.

Through social media the outside world gets to see the universe as Abby sees it, full of life, friendships, joy, and radiance. It's something every human soul discovers when they move out of isolation into community.

Through her pictures, Abby brings life to my soul from thousands of miles away. She reminds me a Holy Spirit is drawing all human beings out of isolation into a shared experience of joy. There is a Pentecost moment waiting for every human heart which dares to leave their comfort zone to see the world as a home for all the children of God.

Click to read: Acts 10: 44-48.

Reflection Questions:

  • How would you describe the place you feel most comfortable?
  • When have you left this comfort zone?
  • Where have you found "unexpected" community?
  • How does the Holy Spirit guide you?

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