By Aubri Uitvlugt
From Vancouver to Nairobi, from cement to dirt, from night to daylight. There are a few differences from Canada to Kenya in how DRIME teams engage in spiritual conversations on the streets, not just in terms of location and time of day. Alanna, Janna and Evelyn, who have served with DRIME in both Canada and Kenya, share their thoughts.
Different Approaches to Spiritual Conversations
There’s a broad reach of acknowledgment of Christianity in Kenya. Scripture is found on buses and big billboards advertise for church revivals. But for many, the idea that God desires a personal relationship with them isn’t known or clear.
“Many people already have some knowledge of Christian ideas, and you can ask people outright: Are you saved? Are you born again? It’s a lot more acceptable to claim to know the truth.” Evelyn explains. “I was surprised when I saw DRIMERs in East Africa starting conversations like this, but people are actually receptive, especially when, at the end of a conversation, they agree that they needed to hear that message.”
One thing Alanna noticed when she visited Kenya on a DRIME trip was how easy it was to say the man in white represents Jesus during conversations. “It was very straightforward and very simple. You heard the name of Jesus? Tell me your thoughts. Whereas some people here in Canada – don’t even know what Jesus means. They’re like, oh I heard it in a song or like a swear word.”
Compared to those in Kenya, conversations in Vancouver tend to be non-threatening and non-confrontational. There’s a need to focus more on listening than talking. “You have to read people pretty well,” Alanna says. “I keep it simple and let them ask questions and usually I ask: What has been your experience with faith? Or spiritual background?” Canadians often want to know that their opinion is valued and listened to. When they feel heard, they are more open to hearing about a different worldview.
Different Responses to the Message
In North America, people often stop for a few minutes and then keep going, though some will stay for longer to engage in conversation. Operating on African time, with the attitude that things happen when they happen, Kenyans aren’t in a hurry to go places. They are curious about what’s happening with the dramas and eager to learn why the team is there.
“People in Kenya will stop and watch a whole bunch of dramas and engage in a conversation,” says Janna. “That gives more opportunity for the team to share the gospel.”
In Kenya, it’s not unlikely that people will choose to follow Jesus right after seeing the dramas and having a conversation with a DRIMER. In the past two years, more than a hundred people have accepted Christ through DRIME Kenya’s ministry.
“Many Kenyans have a hunger for the gospel and a willingness to learn more about it,” says Janna.
Differences in cultures and evangelism styles remind us that God is bigger than our worldviews. Every conversation is different, but the One who initiates them is the same. God is drawing people to Himself, and we have the privilege to join in conversations that are already happening. That’s the beauty of sharing the gospel.
This is Part 2 of our 4-part blog series on DRIME Kenya. Stay tuned for the next blog on the relationship between DRIME Kenya, the global DRIME family, and homebase in Canada!