re:thinking, re:working, re:imagining missions

Room for the Family

Family. We all have one. Some may want another one, but they make us who we are. A few months ago I took on the leadersh...

Its been a week since I've been back from visiting Agape International Missions in Cambodia.  A week of jet-lag, of catch-up, and of pr...

do what you do!

Its been a week since I've been back from visiting Agape International Missions in Cambodia.  A week of jet-lag, of catch-up, and of processing. To be honest, this is probably the 10th time I sat down to write something, but I'm struggling to do it justice. When I was getting ready to leave for Cambodia I knew I'd be confronting sex slavery.  I knew it would be tough, but I'd didn't know I'd be completely broken.

What I saw was unimaginable.  

Kids that should have be in kindergarten, instead in recovery.  Their bodies sold.  Their childhood scarred. Their virginity the least of things stolen from them.

Girls displayed likes cuts of meat.  Looks of anger, fear, and shame etched onto innocent faces as they wait for their number to be drawn.

Women degraded to the point that even their humanity is in question.

Being over there was emotionally overwhelming.  To be honest talking about this is a bit draining, and I'm not a victim, just an observer.  

But even in the darkness there is light.

photo by: momovieman

Thanks to men and women who are willing to follow Jesus to dark places, who are willing to confront evil no matter the cost, who are willing to get their hands dirty to save an innocent child, hope exists. Hope in the smiles of children restored, in the hearts of pimps reformed, and in the walls of a brothel redeemed.

For the past week I have been sharing the stories with a few people and invariably the question is asked:

How can I help?

I am struggling to answer that question.  I know about the problem.  I know what is being done.  I even know the strategies being used to fight sex slavery, but, well, I don't know how you can help.

I don't know what skills you have.  I don't know what resources are at your disposal.  I don't know YOU!

Since I made my first tentative steps into the missions world years ago I realized that our churches have become very segmented.  You have your youth group, women's ministry, children's program...small group...worship arts...and of course your missions program with very little cross-over between them.  The staff running those programs all vying for the same volunteers and resources.  At best they are working together, at worst the system becomes adversarial complete with hurt feelings and sometimes resignations.

In business they sometimes refer to these organizations as siloed.  You know, like a silo on a farm.  Each part of the system self contained, and well closed off.  Closed off to new people.  Closed off to new ideas. And sometimes closed off to success.

The church is a community and we should act in community.  Whether it was to build the temple or build the kingdom, God has equipped His people to get the job done.  Within our churches we have all the resources we need (whether human or financial) to bring hope to the world TODAY! As a church we can make an impact in the fight against sex slavery, or the fight against any injustice, when we act together! (see: Romans 12:3-8

What would happen if we started looking at missions as a church and not a subset of the church? Who could we mobilize if our missions trips were designed around the gifts and talents of the people at our church? Who could we unleash to love their neighbor if we gave them the freedom to be themselves?

So how can you help?

Be who you are!  Use what you have!  Do what you do!

steve wright
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