Crossing Cultures

Helena Schuurman

This fall was my eighth CrossCulture, if I'm counting correctly. Although it was about 5 years ago, I clearly remember my first because it impacted me tremendously – it was one of the first times I talked to strangers about Jesus, the first time I thought about prayer as actually powerful enough to yield palpable answers, and, looking back, one of the first times I actually went to downtown Hamilton.

 This year, I went for a second time as a CrossCulture Representative, leading a group to a service site. The location I was going to go to got switched around last minute, and I ended up going to the Lectio House, a house set up by a couple for the purpose of being a place of refuge, retreat and reflection for people working in Hamiltonian ministries. At this CrossCulture I learned about the rest and times of solitude needed for people that do ministry. I heard God speak to me through the couple that hosted us. I heard Him tell me things I desperately needed to hear, and at the end of the day I left encouraged and renewed.

 I've noticed such a gap between the upper town folk and downtown folk here in Hamilton. The beauty of CrossCulture is that we all get to witness a different culture that we may not otherwise come into contact with – a culture that's a little more down-to-earth, gritty and loud.

 Maybe this is just my perspective, but I experience God in a bit more of a down-to-earth, gritty, and loud way downtown. Yahweh is working so uniquely in our city, in different ways from up here on the mountain. CrossCulture is beautiful because it gives us a chance to see a different side of His character that may otherwise not be experienced by some. I have fallen in love with the Lord's work downtown, and I long for more of us to come face to face with this and learn from what's happening.

CrossCulture does exactly what its name implies – it crosses cultures together. A sense of deep unity among people of all different walks of life is experienced because of the event. Going to CrossCulture inevitably means meeting people that are very different from us, but that's the beauty of it. We can all share our humanity in common, our broader experiences of joy and pain and need for a Saviour – those are the things that can and do unite us.

Every time CrossCulture rolls around, I get excited to worship with brothers and sisters from all over the greater Hamilton area in the morning, then separate and serve in the community in the afternoon, and then come back together at the end of the day to continue worshipping. I see it as strangely symbolic of the ideal for our lives: gathering as a community of believers, scattering and sharing Christ's love as we go and coming back together afterward, still unified. God's name is glorified so richly on that day, and it's my prayer that He will continue to be glorified in our daily lives as we gather and scatter unceasingly. 

So come out to CrossCulture this spring. There are so many ways to be a part of the day, and I'm quite certain that you'll be blessed to attend.

 Students help at a local eatery & exchange, 541 Hamilton

Students help at a local eatery & exchange, 541 Hamilton