Just 'Come and see'
I grew up on a dairy farm in north-central South Dakota. I was the only kid in my class at a country school. I moved to Chicago after graduating from SDSU. Yes, that was a culture shock, and I've been serving in various ministries since 2003 and have called Mitchell home since 2014. I'm happy sushi came to town.
When I was in Chicago, people had a hard time getting my stories about the farm, or the country school, or the fact that I wanted to come back to South Dakota to serve in ministry. One of the Scripture passages that helped me to translate the cultural differences was John 1: 43-46. It's the story of Jesus calling Philip to become a disciple, a follower of Jesus. Philip, in turn, invites his friend Nathaniel to come along, too. Nathaniel hears that Jesus is from Nazareth, a basic Class A rural town in size, and asks, with a smirk, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?"
My reply to the people that had a hard time understanding where I was coming from echoes Philip's reply to Nathaniel. Philip said, "Come and see."
Usually, when we are trying to share our faith in a new setting or in our hometown among people who have known us since birth, the proof is in our witness. People follow along with someone who walks the talk. Our neighbors follow a witness worth following. Philip knew that if Nathaniel saw Jesus, all of the rumors about Jesus being a small town nobody would be washed away. Having been around rural Dakotas my whole life, I know for a fact that Jesus lives and saves here, too.
In 2018, in the Mitchell, South Dakota, area, or wherever you might be reading this, people are still asking the question, "Can anything good come from (insert hometown here)?" I invite you to take the time to reflect upon whether or not you are living the kind of life that answers: "Come and see."