This past weekend I was helping out with the Eurasia Experience, which was a production put on by Cornerstone, the church I’ve been attending. It’s actually a traveling production which goes around to different churches and universities, raising awareness about the region of Eurasia. They define Eurasia as parts of Eastern Europe, Western Asia (as far as India, but not China), the Middle East and Northern Africa. So basically the Middle East and surrounding areas.
When people came to church, they sat in the sanctuary as usual, but then were shown a video showing a flight sequence and landing. They were given passports, and ushered out of the sanctuary by flight attendants. They lined up at a customs and immigration station, had their passports stamped, and then went through a hallway set up as a Middle Eastern or Central Asian type market, complete with beggars and hawkers selling rugs, DVDs, spices and meat. There was also a small jail set up, for those violating laws against having a Bible, for example. They then passed into this large open room set up as a holy place or temple, with seating on the floor, separated by men and women. Once everyone had gone through the market and was sitting down, another performance started, with monologues from different ‘actors’.
They featured an Orthodox priest chanting and sprinkling holy water, a Buddhist monk meditating and a lady showing off her prostitutes to highlight the reality of human trafficking. She looked at one of the guys in the audience, asking if he had AIDs, and said she had a virgin only eight years old who could cure him… The next lady to share talked about her experience in India working to free young girls from brothels. An especially powerful story featured a showdown between a witch doctor in a remote Siberian village and a missionary who had gone to minister there. The witch doctor commanded everyone in the village to shun this lady, ordered her to leave and called down curses to kill her within the year. However, she survived that year, but he didn’t…and after his death the village became much more open to the message of Christ.
I think a slightly more accurate title would be Afriasia, since their defined region includes more of Africa, albeit only North Africa, than Europe. That doesn’t quite roll off the tongue though, haha… I took issue with their portrayal of the Orthodox tradition, listed as an entirely separate religion from Christianity, and treated in the same way as Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism as a religion in which people lived in darkness. Until 1054, we were all Orthodox, in church history terms, since that was our Christian tradition. True, evangelicals find kissing icons, the robes, the emphasis on the sacraments, and the other distinctives of the Orthodox tradition to be culturally strange, as much so as even much of Buddhism or Hinduism, but that does not justify their rejection from the Christian faith. But that’s another subject… Overall, however, I thought the Eurasia Experience was a great program, an excellent way to raise awareness of missions and bring home some of the realities of the world abroad that many Americans will never experience. Such a focus on missions…one of the things I appreciate so much about many American evangelical churches. The map below shows the Eurasia region, an extraordinarily difficult place to do missions, where God is doing incredible things, and which needs much prayer.