For me, the most difficult part of this mission has been getting over the fear of asking for support. I've worked with kids for a long time, and some have been bold enough to step out into the mission field, trusting they will be provided for (way to be Chad, Juanita, Adam and Nathan). But when I ask people why they don't "go" the money part is the number one thing that stands in the way. I totally, fully 100% understand this!!! To actually ask for support feels like begging and, for us independent, stoic, Norwegian-German types up here on the tundra - well, we just don't do that. We take care of ourselves! We are self-sufficient! We don't take handouts! We don't need help. Thank you very much.
The second most difficult part of the mission process is helping people understand why international and short term mission is necessary. If I had $1 for everytime I've heard "there's plenty to do here" I'd be able to fund this mission and probably 10 more. I understand that. I do. Before I was unceremoniously inducted into the world of mission in 2008, I felt the same. Thank you, Dale Wolf. Honestly. If it hadn't been for your gutsy bet on a totally inexperienced person taking a role in Youth Ministry, my heart would not have been set on fire for mission.
So, let's address this logic. Yes. There is plenty to do here. There are countless needs in our own communities. There are children hungry, women battered and abused, homeless veterans. There is inequality. There is injustice. There is trafficking, human slavery, people struggling with addiction. I agree - wholeheartedly - that there is plenty to do here.
But here's something to consider. How often do you actually do anything about the "plenty to do here." Before my first mission to Mexico, I turned away from the needs of the community in which I live. I could easily walk past the people in need on the street. I could see a Red Kettle and shrug it off. I could hear stories on the news about the needs of the Women's Shelter, or the homeless. Want to know what my natural, American Christian reaction was: "they got themselves into that situation. They did it to themselves." I'm so ashamed. But here's my reality, and I ask you to consider if it has ever been yours.
So how did mission change that? Well, we live in a nation where the general belief is if you work hard enough, you can succeed, overcome, change your story. If you work hard enough, commit yourself to education, staying out of trouble your story can change. I think our "American Dream" fuels our natural tendency to shrug and dismiss the desperation of people and unmet needs in our own communities.
But, when you go to a foreign country, that entire school of thought gets turned on its head. When you step foot into a different country, you see that wow - these people work hard, they commit themselves to bettering themselves, they commit to staying out of trouble. And nothing changes.
Imagine this. You work hard for 16 - 20 hours a day. And this is not enough to feed your child 1/2 cup of rice for supper. You work to provide and your hard work doesn't get you anywhere, because your labor is either forced or you get paid about $1.00 a day. The clothes you make, the coffee you process, the cocoa beans you pick - all for a buck or two a day - are consumed in a country far away by people who think nothing of dropping $5.00 on a 12 oz cup of coffee. For people who rarely stop to think about the lives of those who provide their "necessities."
Think about that, all you Starbucks nuts (self included) The people who make our coffee? It would take them 2 to 3 DAYS to afford 1 cup of what they produce.
This is why children in these countries are abandoned. Orphaned, alone, scared. This is why the special needs children of countries such as Ecuador are "forgotten." They are lost, faceless, nameless, with no resources, no one to care for them, look out for them. They are desperate not for the American Dream, but for love. The most basic need. Before you judge their parents, think about how difficult it is to send your infant to childcare the first day. Now imagine you can't afford to feed or clothe your child and your only option is abandonment? Or, worse. Selling them into trafficking. These are not bad parents. These are parents with no choices and no options.
Friends - when we go to these countries, we have the opportunity to demonstrate that we are not a self-serving nation of consumers, but instead that we see. And we care. And we desire to give back. When we go, especially as followers of Christ, we demonstrate that the God we serve is one who commands us to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly.
The benefit for the "plenty to do here?" When we come back - our hearts are shattered for the injustice here. Since returning from my first mission in 2008, I have become passionate about the needs right here. I (and my family) serve our community in countless ways, because we have seen. And once you see, you can no longer refuse to do. Friends and family. I saw, and so I do. I saw and so I go. My heart refuses to beat in any other way.
So I ask you all to consider. Would you give to support this mission? Would you consider passing on your daily tall, skim, mocha with extra whip cream this week and giving that amount towards this mission?
Friends and family, I'm not necessarily suggesting you join me in person (though I firmly believe ALL people should experience one mission) but I am asking you to join me in connecting and giving back to a world in need of hope. I'm asking you to consider seeing the why behind the what, looking at this request as an opportunity. The world is in desperate need of hope. I invite you to help extend it.
Please - check out Casa de Fe. And if you will, give.