Catch up on Part 1 here. Or if you’d like the nutshell version, we’re discussing whether or not short-term missions are worth the plane ticket and what kinds of things make up a “worthwhile” trip.
And friends, as much as I hate to play my “local missions martyr card,” I am soooooo wiped out from Day 3 of Somali Club. I so want to formulate amazing sentences and make convincing arguments, but my eyes are burning and my brain is mush. I’m going to give you my best, but I apologize in advance if it’s lackluster. Please know that I’m way more passionate about this than I can articulate at this late hour.
Diving right in with Question One from yesterday: Why spend $12,000 on a mission trip when you could just give the money to the poor in Cambodia?
Well, for starters, I want to say that spending that much money on a trip might not always be the best use of one’s money. On the other hand, I think sometimes it absolutely is. And I’d love to just say that “God told us to go, so we’re going,” but I feel like that’s a cop-out in this situation.
And since I’m all about not copping out on this one, I’m going to make a gut-honest statement. I wish I could tell you honestly that if God asked us to take our Cambodia Fund and pour it all into the needs of that country (or any other country) and stay home this Christmas instead, that I would obey in a heartbeat–and willingly.
But that hurts to even type.
I’ve begged God to make me willing, because I can’t come by that kind of selflessness naturally. So, this is something I’m working on–not holding on to my plans too tightly, just because I’m convinced it’s what God wants us to do. He’s God; I’m not. If he’s not in it, it’s a no-go.
And now I can share something positive without feeling like I’m tooting my own horn. I don’t have any figures on how much our family has given to missions over the past couple years or how much others have been inspired to give because of something I’ve shared on my blog, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s more than $12,000.
I love to give. To our Compassion child in Mexico, to mission trips, to Heartline in Haiti, to Asia’s Hope, to the Hard Places Community via TraffickJam 2011, to people who are adopting, to people in need in Columbus, and to all sorts of causes that come up in various ways.
And I love sharing those needs on my blog or on Facebook and watching y’all get so excited that you’re moved to give as well. I’m thrilled that God has given me a (not-huge-but-not-small) platform to raise awareness of his kingdom work.
All that to say this: we’re not going to Cambodia instead of giving to missions. We’re doing both.
A few of you reminded me today of the story in Radical where a dear lady asked David Platt why he didn’t just send the money to the people in Sudan rather than going and spending 10 days with them. He wrestled with the question, then had a conversation with his Sudanese friend Andrew that shed some light on it. Andrew said that even though various groups had given them so much, “Do you want to know how we can tell who a true brother is? A true brother comes to be with us in our time of need. Thank you for coming to be with us.”
If we are going to accomplish the global purpose of God, it will not be primarily through giving our money, as important as that is. It will happen primarily through giving ourselves. This is what the gospel represents, and it’s what the gospel requires (Radical, p. 198).
John McCollum, Executive Director of Asia’s Hope, is over in Cambodia right now with his wife and their three children (I’ll be talking more about that at a later date). He shared a couple weeks ago that one of the 11 orphanages in Cambodia (there are also 7 in Thailand and soon-to-be 5 in India) had visitors from their supporting church for the first time in 3 or 4 years. They had watched teams from other churches visit the other orphanages time and time again and had waited and waited for their church to come. When they did, oh the joy!
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27
And I love 2 John 12–Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use pen and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
Okay, I’m fried, but tomorrow, I want to talk more about the fact that: we want our girls to 1.) see poverty firsthand and 2.) see the difference that Jesus and his followers can make.
John (McCollum, not the Apostle) blogged the other day about Battambang 6, one of the newest Asia’s Hope orphanages. He showed the pictures of the kids when they first came off the streets and what a difference a year has made. Praise Jesus!
Oh, the goosebumps.
I’m not even going to read back through this, but I’ll leave you with 2 quotes from Serving with Eyes Wide Open that I underlined (I underlined a ton). They’re convicting, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on one or both.
1. “I sometimes wonder if my drive to do the things I do cross-culturally is more a reflection of my desire for adventure than it is to truly engage in some more noble endeavor. Is short-term missions simply a way of appeasing wanderlust?” (50)
2. “Some studies show that while participants come home with lofty aspirations of buying less, praying more, and sharing Christ more, within six to eight weeks, most resort back to all the same assumptions and behaviors they had prior to the trip.” (54)
p.s. I was invigorated by your comments on yesterday’s post. I got teary while I was reading and pumped my fists a couple times and praised Jesus for using a little bit of persecution to get people talking about missions and bringing him glory.