Authors note: I felt conflicted posting this. I would like it to be more polished but it is what it is. The point –my heart is changing towards missions– was important enough, and distinctive to what’s rolling around in my brain these days, that I decided to post it without waiting for it to be “acceptable” first.
I confess I never understood missions trips. Missionaries never played a big role in my Catholic upbringing. I knew they existed but never heard much about them, was encouraged to go and do, and never met one until I was mid-twenties. Back in the day (like a year ago) the word missionary brought two distinct stereotypes to mind:
1) The family who goes and lives in Africa for 20 years.
2) The sheltered Christian who decides to take a pride-filled vacation to “serve” at an exotic location, because it’s an exciting local, not because they actually want to serve.
Working in social services in my six year hiatus from Christianity, I have saw time and time again churches and Christians not stepping up locally, but getting excited by an “idea” they had. The ideas typically proved unhelpful, something that would fix some poor child’s life, by bringing them popsicles or something just as useless.
It’s judgmental, I know. Unfair, I know. But I am being honest here, it’s how I felt.
A couple years ago, one of my best friends went to Cambodia on a missions trip. I was skeptical. But knowing her, I knew her motives were true. And then came the cool part. I saw the impact it had on her life.
Since then, I have seen more than a handful of friends go on missions trips. My church is smart about it and sends them to help people who are already doing great work there, people who really know the local needs.
As we speak a couple of my closest friends are in the Czech Republic teaching English.
But the point is, watching all this is really started changing my perspective on missions.
It’s not only a help to the missionaries these teams are going and serving, but I’ve watched people change. I’ve watched people become better missionaries here at home because of their experiences. Their faith shaken, their foundations rocked, and coming out a stronger, better, lover of God in the end.
Let’s just say I am starting to come around to the whole idea…
This last time my friends came back from their Cambodia mission trip, they started the SEED project.
I’ll let you hear from their own words what it’s about,
“In August 2013, a team of 9 people went to Siem Reap Cambodia to serve alongside missionaries Noel and Fe Dequito. Noel and Fe have been missionaries in Cambodia for the last 13 years. In their time serving they have planted many churches, started an international school, built a program for drug addicts from the ground up, and have brought MANY into relationship with Christ.
Our team was inspired especially by their presence and work in Tropeangsay Village. In this village, the Dequitos have planted a church, started a preschool, helped women learn to sew and make an income and are now providing English classes, guitar lessons and a support group. They do all this inside a home that they rent. In 6 months, they will either need to purchase this home or let it go to another buyer. We are stepping out in faith to raise the funds to purchase this home for the Kingdom of God!
Join the campaign and give just $25 a month for the next 6 months (for a total of $150). It’s more than a house…it’s a restaurant, a market, a refuge, a preschool and a church.”
Now this seems like one of those cheesy things you see an infomercial on late night television. But I know these people. They come over to my house for coffee and I give them hugs when I see them. They are my friends. And they are stepping up. Seeing a real need across the world, and doing what it takes to fufill it. It’s not glamorous, it’s not a sexy feed all the children program, but it’s going to contribute to changing lives. That’s what missions is supposed to be about.
I am proud.
There are multiple fundraisers that are contributing to the SEED project.
This isn’t a plee for money (although if you want to donate, I am not stopping you). But this is just me sharing an example of a good missions trip story that is changing the way I look at Christian missions. It’s nice to finally see something like this, that I can get behind. That I know is real and not dripping with prideful arrogance.
So there is that…