Tuesday, August 23, 2011

short term missions: where?

She was climbing the stairway when we passed. Her movements methodical, slow and somewhat forced as if moving by sheer will. Mountain climber, she moved with the focus of one trying to summit Everest after weeks battling the elements. Her body showed age, but her face, for some reason I remember her looking young. Its hard to say for the distance, but she seemed to be in her 30's.

I'm not sure why I was so fixated, but I could not keep my eyes off her. I watched her take several labored steps, each one more difficult than the last until at last, she collapsed. Midway to the peak.


A hospital, those stairs, that place where she crumpled helpless and alone was a hospital.

We should have stopped. 
                                   We should have helped.
                                                                    We would have...
if I had said anything.

I was maybe 10 and driving with my dad. I can't remember where we were going, or where we had been. I have a vague recollection that we were doing something for me, maybe something special, I just can't remember. I do, however, remember the conversation going on in my head.

He's a cop. If you tell him he's going to stop. He'll have to stop. Shut up! She's at a hospital, someone else will help her.

I did tell him...
                     later.

If you have ever been on a short term missions trip you have your reasons. Many of us use the experience to help explore a call we feel to serve full-time, some of us are so moved by a life-changing experience with Christ we have to something, others are seeking answers/direction/peace in our lives and a change of scenery might just help out, and unfortunately some of us might just be looking to see some exotic far off location that we couldn't afford to visit if we were fronting the trip on our own dime.

Asking ourselves why is vital if we truly want to grow as followers of Christ, but maybe the deeper and more important question to answer is...

Where?

Back when we started this series, we read Matthew chapter 10 as a starting point. Why? Because Jesus is sending out his first set of short term missionaries.

Now as we think about this passage, lets try to understand what is happening. Jesus is sending these guys with no where to go and no where to stay. He tells them to find a house where someone is willing to help and stay for a while. They eat, they drink, they share with families, but also with the community. (Take another look at Matthew chapter 10 to see what they were sent to do!) They travel from place to place, from house to house. Step by step they are going out farther and farther.

Obviously, they are walking and no I am not advocating for us to go out on foot for missions, I just want to point out one small thing here:

If they are heading out, step by step..
they will never 
walk over the needy to get to the needy.

More importantly, they will never have to see the pain and disappointment in their dad's eyes as they tell him they saw her fall and did nothing to help.
ecwrites

Are you serving or are you letting others do it? Do you ever serve Him in your own community? Are you walking over the needy to serve the needy?
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