This is adapted from a family serving on mission in Nicaragua. They are the Schmitz Family serving through Global Partners.
Why go on a short term missions trip? Why not just send money? What good does one week do?
I wanted to share this as I believe deeply and firmly that God uses teams through building relationships. "It is one thing to visit poor people with donations or advice, or a sick person with a get-well card and a potted flower. It is another thing to stay and walk WITH them, to be willing to show our OWN needs and brokenness, and to take on a piece of their sorrows and troubles.
We will never fully know what it feels like to grow up in (Nicaragua). If we come from the developed world, we will always have the advantage of a good education, a network of employed friends and relatives, the freedom to walk into a church, and a lifetime of role models.
Unless we make an attempt to imagine, even go so far as trying to experience what life is like for someone else with fewer advantages in life, we are missing a beautiful piece of how God loves people. God gave up his own rights and security in order to love a world full of broken people.
Trusting Christ means losing the ability to control our own safety. It means not getting to have every comfort we want. It means getting pushed to the limits of our strength and seeing our emotions spill out and sometimes in ugly ways. It also means knowing that WE need help and crying out for that help. It means being willing to be in both roles-not just the one holding but the one held. It means letting go of the naive illusions of our own benevolence and facing our own great need for grace. It means exchanging smiles with people of other cultures and economic levels and knowing we need to receive a smile as much as they do. It is coming to that place of surrender, realizing our own incompetence to meet the needs of even the people we most love- it is there that we meet the God of the poor.
In knowing Him, we learn to offer His love to others because WE ARE NO DIFFERENT-we are going through this together and God is taking good care of us all. We become available, like a child, to dance among suffering people singing, "The Lord is here, the Lord is here now. " -Jeske