One thing we appreciated about our time in Stillwater and at the OSU Wesley Foundation was the global connection we made with students from all over the world. While we were there our neighbors made the world seem even smaller. To this day our oldest daughter lovingly refers to one of her grandmother’s as “Buni” which is “grandmother” in the Romanian dialect. As a baby she would join in family Skype calls to Romania with a graduate student. She knew grandmothers as Buni’s before she knew them as grandmothers! Relationships are important because our world is small.
For many years, we have participated in mission education events called Mission u (formerly Cooperative Schools of Christian Mission). Alongside faithful men and women from around our state, the mission studies have opened our eyes to situations in Haiti, the Sudan and Latin America. We didn’t even know who the Roma people were before a recent study. We have walked the streets of Corinth and visited various Native American tribes without ever leaving the borders of our great state. Education is important because our world is small.
Today, global hunger is never far from our thoughts. CROP Hunger Walks, a ministry of Church World Service, are an important ministry within our family. Our family not only loves our connection to Church World Service and CROP Hunger Walks, we participate in walks as a family. When Rebekah must travel and people ask Madison where she is, Madison’s general reply is “My mommy’s out feeding hungry people.” What Madison doesn’t know is that those hungry people are everywhere … on our street and across the ocean. Helping others access food and clean water is important because our world is small.
We live out our faith convictions in a local church. Right now, we do that in Prague and Arlington – two rural congregations east of Oklahoma City. As the name indicates, the area is heavily influenced by Czechoslovakian immigrants who settled here around the turn of the last century. We enjoy Kolaches, Krojes, and the Chicken Dance! The news is filled with new immigrants coming to our country each day, so connecting our historical roots with this current reality helps us understand how we might love our new neighbors. Being in touch with our heritage is important because our world is small.
Our world is small. Our mantra is “think globally, act locally.” We can all make a difference in this world if we just choose to do it in the locations God has placed us for this season of our lives.
*Rev. Rebekah Belase is the former Associate Director of the OSU Wesley and is now the current Director of Development Operations for Church World Service. Rev. Derrek Belase is the former Senior Pastor of Highland Park UMC in Stillwater and is now the Senior Pastor at Prague and Arlington United Methodist Churches. They have both continued to serve and support the OSU Wesley Foundation in a variety of ways.