Have you ever been on a mission trip to another country? Or even within your own country? Where you go there and do things and help people and love on orphans and then leave and come home to your normal life?
I haven't. My history in ministry has been one of being support personnel, and support personnel doesn't go on adventures. Support personnel stays home, holds down the fort, and...well...supports the adventurers.
I've been rethinking that particular box. I know people who have gone on trips to various places - Mexico, Haiti, Guatemala, Kenya - and it has touched their hearts and fostered a greater appreciation for all they have in their lives. I don't know what I have to offer in the mission field, but I think I could play with and love on some orphans. I could do some manual labor. Pain a wall. Something simple which requires no great skill set.
But, along with having my heart drawn toward the possibility of stepping out into the mission field, I have started to wonder what it is like to be them.
By "them" I mean the ones to whom we go and minister. The destitute and the orphans. What does it feel like to be them? What does it feel like to have your world invaded by people from outside your normal sphere of life? Where those outside people come and build buildings, and do things that help the people who live in your village, and engage with your life and heart, and then they leave?
I think that's what's nagging at me... What does it feel like to be an orphan whose parents have died, or whose parents can no longer take care of you so they left you on a doorstep somewhere in the hopes that the people of this place can provide? Abandoned. Discarded. That has to be such a heart-wrenching, horrible feeling.
So you are there, in an orphanage, with a lot of other kids whose stories are similar. The people at the orphanage do their best to take care of everyone. Then your world is invaded. People from the outside come. They bring stuff. They help build things or places. Maybe they drill a well. They do things. They love on you and engage your heart and tell you about a God who loves you. Then they leave. How does that feel? What does that do to your heart?
What does it do to their hearts? Those orphans. Who have already experienced abandonment and rejection. What does it do to their hearts to have their worlds invaded with goodness and blessing only to have the invaders turn around and leave?
Beyond the words to what is left after the deeds - what is truly communicated?
What do WE look like through THEIR eyes?
Just some thoughts I'm having...