One of the responsibilities I have in my present appointment is to visit Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, to orientate the Salvation Army work in these countries that make up the South America West Territory. Although being Latin American countries is interesting to notice the different and rich cultures of each place and how the Salvation Army has adapted to all of them.
During a recent visit to Guayaquil in Ecuador, we stayed in a hotel next to the Seminary Park, which is one of the nice tourist attractions of the city, also known as the Iguana Square due to the large number of iguanas that live there. One of the characteristics of this small reptile is the change of colors of its skin that can vary from green to brown.
This change of color allows them to disappear when threatened, assuming the color of the surroundings, or appear when courting, attracting with different colors. They change colors according to the situation but continue to be iguanas. This is a fundamental characteristic for Christians, to be able to identify with the surroundings without losing their own identity as disciples of Jesus.
Following the example of Jesus, who through his incarnation totally identified himself with humanity, Paul could be called the iguana apostle. He always searched ways to identify with everyone to somehow take to them the message of salvation.
As Christians we have the duty to share the gospel message with all people. This compels us to get involved with everyone to get to know their different realities and to understand their distinct perspectives. In this process we must vary the strategies and use the better ones to best influence those we have in mind. Like iguanas we must adapt to the surroundings without never losing our identity as children of God.
(Jesus’ identification with humanity, Philippians 2:5-7 – Paul’s identification with people, 1 Corinthians 9:20-22)