A Letter from the Mission Field (Aug 16, 2013)
Greetings from Honduras!
Summer is the time for short-term missions.
I've had the pleasure of working with two great groups: the Church of The Good Shepherd in Florida and a youth group from the Diocese of Maryland. Their stories are below.
The mission group from my church, Christ the Redeemer, in Danvers, MA, was unable to come this time. But hopefully they will be able to come later.
The critics of short-term missions (STM) have suggested that, given the cost per person of a trip, sending the money directly to the field would be more effective. They have a point, if you are only looking at the money.
However, we need to understand missions are not just about bringing the Word of God to others, but also about the deepening the Word of God within our lives. It is why God chooses to work through us, often in spite of ourselves.
In Honduras, the work is to help the poor, both materially and spiritually. The people we meet are indeed very poor and in great need of material help. But often, spiritually, they return much more than we give.
Henri Nouwen calls this "reverse mission," that is "the return of the gifts back up north for our own conversion and healing."
From the Hondurans' point of view, missions do make a difference. But some have been disasters.
To be effective, we must work in partnership with the Hondurans, be sensitive to individual needs and the local culture, and plan for the long-term. That can be accomplished, only when we come in humility and with an openness that allows God to transform our inner selves.
I want to encourage others to come and help in this process. If you are interested in a short-term mission trip, please contact me. There is plenty of work to do.
Also please see my requests for prayers and the mission below.
And keep us in your prayers.
Paz y bien,