Passion is a gritty kind of love, tough and

optimistic enthusiasm that overcomes negativity and inconvenience to make it

through to the end. (10,000 Reasons Overflow)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

a different outlook on overseas missions

People ask me all the time “when are you going back to Haiti?”.  I have no idea. To tell you the truth, I am not sure I will ever go back, but I miss it almost every day.

Why?  Because God showed me things that I wish I didn’t see.  I wish I could go back and unsee them.  Life was a lot easier before this view.

I’d like to go on record saying that I am all about short term mission trips but my opinion is that it benefits the person going more than it actually benefits the country/people there.

I look at the amount of money that as “short term missionaries” we spend to go…

My last trip 24 people went to Haiti.  I am not sure how many people paid, I assume that the 4 leaders did not.  So I will use 20 as my number.

20 “missionaries” spent $1700 each. That’s $34,000! 

The average annual income in Haiti is $830 according to this website

Let's do some math.

With the money that we spent, we could have paid people to do the work that we did.  If we raised the money and gave it to the pastor of the church and we could have paid almost 41 Haitians for a year!  I understand that we paid the airlines so those people were employed and we employed some Haitians, and we fed some.  But maybe we would not have gotten that warm and fuzzy feeling of getting to see our “giving” first hand.  If we believed in the work being done, why don’t we just raise the money with the same fever and just send it to the organizations we work with?

Based on a small orphanage that I have been in contact with… we could have provided food for 97 months (over 8 years).  Or based on expenses that I know about we could have run the orphanage for over three years.

I have been to Haiti quite a few times, seven to be exact.  Each time, except the last, has been an amazing experience.  It’s hard and awesome at the same time. I don’t regret any of my trips (not even the last one) because I believe that God has called me to go every time (except the last one) and a lot of “good” was done.

I talk about this last one as the exception of being called because I don’t think I was called to go. I went on my own accord and God let me.  Which was nice of Him.  And He certainly did teach me a lot.  He taught me what it looks like to be selfish, prideful, and hurtful, and that was just me : (  not even to mention what I learned as I observed in others.  I would like to say I wish I didn’t go.  But I am thankful for some really great friendships with Godly women, He showed me things that were hard to see, but necessary.  I also learned the lesson of going because I miss it instead of being called, and that was the hardest of all the lessons to learn.

I went because I missed Haiti.  I missed the muffins, I missed the people.  I did not go because God called me.  I hear so many people lately want to go because “they miss it”. Of course they do.  A week helping others, spending time with God, spending time cultivating friendships that probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise, a week with no distractions of “the real world”, a week of being used by God.  Of course you miss it, I miss it too. I am not saying that they aren’t called, I am just saying I understand why they miss it.  I wanted to live there.

I do think it is a good idea for everyone to go on a short term mission trip, though I don’t think it’s necessary to go overseas.  I think if you spend time away from the "real world" and apart from yourself, cell phones, starbucks, or whatever, I think that in a year, you will miss that time too.  I think that short term mission trips are a great way to get out of your own way to serve Jesus, I think they are great for learning other cultures because you are immersed in them. I think short term mission trips give the "goer" a greater appreciation of how much they are blessed with in their own country.  A great benefit to going, especially if you think God is calling you to something more long term, is to go and see.  

I don't want to sound like I am against short term mission trips, I just really feel that something better can be done with that money. A greater long term impact, to really HELP people instead of a warm and fuzzy feeling of doing good.  And I think that God uses it all.   I think that short term missions can be done local or overseas.  I am thankful for all my mission trips, I am especially thankful for the relationships that I have established on my local trips that I am able to cultivate long term.  I am thankful for the things that I have seen and the need that has been shown to me. I am thankful for hard lessons that have come. I am thankful for wisdom and discernment. I am thankful for love.

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