MOTROW by Trip Kimball
MOTROW— no, not Motrin, nor is this some phony, phonetic attempt at saying Montreal with a peculiar accent. It’s an acronym, a set of letters that stand for something, but more on that in a bit. I use acronyms, but don’t always like them. Acronyms are big in special fields of study and institutions, like government for example. They’re great shortcuts, especially when writing, so you don’t have to waste time and effort writing all those words. The problem is understanding what they mean. Unless there’s some familiarity with the acronym, it may look like a jumble of letters or something written in code—actually, it is code, it’s symbolic.
Anyway, back to MOTROW. It stands for Most Of The Rest Of the World—a phrase I’ve kept using as a catch-all expression. In some circles this was called the “two-thirds world.” World missions organizations use the term “majority world.” What nations does this include? It’s easier to say what it doesn’t include—the USA, Canada, Australia, England. Even that list is too broad for what I mean by MOTROW, so let me narrow it down.
First of all, nations, as the Bible describes them, are called people groups—people with a distinct culture and language (or dialect) regardless of their geographic location or political government. There are thousands and thousands (16,696 to be exact) scattered throughout the world, ranging in population from several thousand to a few million. You can see a list of people groups on the Joshua Project website for a complete index. Over 40% of these people groups are considered unreached with the Gospel, having no Christian witness or community among them.
A real distinction of MOTROW is how the world is seen, called a worldview. MOTROW consists of non-western cultures. By non-western I mean how people think, interact with others, and live out their lives. This has to do with priorities and values. Americans (and similar western cultures) focus on time and tasks—getting a job done and using time efficiently (“time is money!”). MOTROW is focused on people and events, and events are important because of the people involved or celebrated in the events.
For example—in America, a wedding is typically focused on the couple being married, the venue, the style or theme of the wedding, and so on. In MOTROW, the couple are important, but so are family and friends. My first glimpse of this was in the Philippines. On the wedding night following the ceremony and reception, many close friends hung around till late in the evening with the bride and groom in their bridal suite (cottage). Anniversaries, in a similar way, aren’t celebrated by the couple alone, but with family and friends. MOTROW is more about community than individuality.
Another distinction is thought process connected to living. In America, we tend to be more concerned with the destination than the journey itself, and with test scores than the usability of what is learned. We, along with most western-oriented cultures, tend to think in a straight line, analytically. This is both a great strength and weakness. Others from around the world (MOTROW) come to America, enrolling in our schools to learn this capacity. It is valuable. It’s a weakness when we become so focused and driven that important life realities are neglected—relationships, quality of life, creativity, inspiration, peace of mind and heart, spiritual needs, you get the idea.
So, how does this relate to anyone, especially in America? There’s a couple things that come to mind. MOTROW has been moving into the good ol’ US of A for the past few decades. There are many people groups living in communities (usually urban areas), often isolated and bewildered by American culture. Thankfully, there are some churches and communities reaching out to them, but not nearly enough to meet these needs. There are great opportunities for reaching the world with the Gospel right here in the US, and many people and ministries are doing so.
The second thing is, most Americans are oblivious to MOTROW—inside America or outside. Our news about the outside world is limited, edited, almost non-existent. The internet has helped, but only if you’re looking for world news. Even then, it’s still pretty limited. Reading and hearing the news outside the US is quite different. Political and cultural views of the world and America are from a different worldview. Stands to reason, and it gives anyone willing to consider it an opportunity to see things differently.
So, look around wherever you live. There’s likely a people group or two from MOTROW near you. Have you already recognized people from MOTROW around you? Have you had any interaction with them? If you’re not ready to reach out or help them in some direct way, start praying for them, learn about them (see the Joshua Project website), and eventually engage them. Your perspective on life and the world will change. Your world will expand!
Trip came to know the Lord after wandering through a maze of eastern religions and philosophies during the 60′s. He was baptized in water and the Holy Spirit during 1971 at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa. In 1972, along with his wife, Susan, he was called into full-time ministry, serving in various capacities and ministries in the US and overseas since that time.
He planted and pastored a church in southern California in 1978 (Joshua Springs Calvary Chapel in Yucca Valley, CA), and began serving full-time in the Philippines and South East Asia in 1990. Susan and he established Rainbow Village Ministries in 1991, and Trip was the founding director of the Calvary Chapel Training Center in 1995. Trip also served with Calvary Chapel of Dumaguete City as an associate pastor and board member.
Presently, Trip and Susan live in Jacksonville Beach, FL and continue as directors of Rainbow Village Ministries in the Philippines.
Trip is currently involved with discipleship within a local church body, as well as traveling within the US and overseas to teach and train leaders.
Trip, I spent some time this morning with MOTROW. Samuel is an Indian raised in Dubai, schooled in India, working in California. What a wealth of cultural experience and knowledge and a cultural savvy. I am looking forward to further relationship with him. The dynamic that always impacts me the most is community vs. atomism – the individualism of western culture that has helped to make it great and helped its collapse at the same time. Weird.
Tim, indeed, it is a weird & ironic thing, but in it’s earliest days, there was community along with the individualism. In fact, the individual accomplishments often were the result of a strong, supportive community.
I just glanced through “Outliers” (because I plan to read it on the plane to the PHilippines in a couple weeks) but that’s one of the things Gladwell stumbled upon– the benefits of a strong community.
I really believe our culture is starving for community, we just don’t know how to do it anymore, or too busy to give it a chance. Maybe that’s why the Lord’s sending so many like Samuel & the Karen family I work with, and those Jeff J works with— sending them into our lives to reteach us the importance of & how to do community again?