5 Minutes with Allan Matamoros

Urbana sat down with Allan Matamoros as he prepares for Urbana 15 to get to know him a little more beyond what’s listed in his bio. Here’s what he had to say:

What challenges in missions do you see today?

One of the challenges that we have before us is to explain and express the gospel in a way that the people might see Jesus in us. The entire world already knows about Christianity, but sometimes doesn’t know about Jesus. In most of the world there is a lot of misunderstanding about what Christianity means, and there is some confusion between Christianity and Christendom.

Sometimes for Muslims, it is difficult to divide the followers of Jesus from the politicians of the West, or the singers of the West, or the movies of the West. For them, it’s quite difficult to discern the difference between Madonna and myself. So then, the challenge is to live and to express the gospel in a way that Muslims can see Jesus. And that they may fall in love with him, and in consequence become disciples of his gospel.

Sometimes for Muslims, it is difficult to divide the followers of Jesus from the politicians of the West, or the singers of the West, or the movies of the West. For them, it’s quite difficult to discern the difference between Madonna and myself. So then, the challenge is to live and to express the gospel in a way that Muslims can see Jesus. And that they may fall in love with him, and in consequence become disciples of his gospel.

What does this mean for this generation in North America?

In North America, as well as in Latin America, we have been so blessed. We live in our wonderful comfort zones. Everything we have, we take for granted. And the Christian faith has been just inherited from our forefathers, except that it doesn’t mean anything to us.

One of the challenges in a country like the United States is that new generations are able to experience everything but Christianity. The Christianity they have seen for decades is something that does not really appeal to their hearts and minds.

For students coming to Urbana, one of the main challenges is to respond to the call of Jesus to be surrendered to his commands and love. Surrendering everything in a society like the United States—with all the United States has—is going to be one of the most challenging decisions that we will have to make.

I was 17 years old when I committed my life to God and to missions. And now over 30 years later I can tell you, I would have never expected the life that I have been living. It’s always been full of surprises, full of pain, as well. But it’s been a joyful life—knowing him, serving him, loving people. I’ve seen his hand provide in miraculous ways, seen him transforming lives, healing people. Changing lives, you know? It’s been an adventure. But everything began with a decision, a decision to follow him no matter the consequences of my decision.

I was 17 years old when I committed my life to God and to missions. And now over 30 years later I can tell you, I would have never expected the life that I have been living. …It’s been an adventure. But everything began with a decision, a decision to follow him no matter the consequences of my decision.

What are you most excited about Urbana?

One of the central themes in the Gospel of Matthew is the kingdom of God and his authority upon and over everything: in our lives, and our society, and our relationships, and our belongings. Behind everything, we can see the sovereignty of our King, ruling the universe and ruling our hearts. Even though it seems like everything is getting messy, he is sitting down in the throne, ruling the universe.

At Urbana, I’m going to be dealing with the consequences of the resurrection. For me, resurrection means the end of a number of things and the beginning of a number of other things. Resurrection is the end of the power of sin, the power of the Devil, and the power of the flesh and world in my life. And resurrection means surrendering my desires, and being open to eternal life and to a current life of action and surprises before the King. Resurrection means a new era for the human beings.

If this is the kingdom God is bringing, let’s give everything for his cause in this world. He promises it’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be exciting. My desire is to open up our eyes to surrendering everything to his cause. There’s the very famous Jim Elliot quote: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” The whole idea is that we can’t retain what we have, so let’s give it to him to win what nobody can take from us. That is my desire for the new generation of young people: to give everything to win everything.

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These blogs are the words of the writers and do not represent InterVarsity or Urbana. The same is true of any comments which may be posted about any blog entries. Submitted comments may or may not be posted within the blog, at the blogger's discretion.