Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Whitney

As I went to work today, heart heavy full of thoughts of Whitney- a beautiful, vivacious girl, I wished life could stop. That the world would mercifully pause so the everyone (or at least our Christian campus) could pray for this beautiful 21 year old girl who was losing her life! But as I walked into the gym, the TV's showed the news, sports, and a comedy show and guys lifted weights huffing and puffing. I wanted to scream to the world.. Wake up she's dying! Do you not know? Whitney is not ok! She needs prayer! She needs help.

Wake up! Wake up!

Stop what your doing. Turn off the tv. Stop listening to music, memorizing more drugs, trying to ace your test. Pause for a minute. Pray for a friend.

But not just for my friend Whitney. It's not just her. It's this world- friends. Jesus must be coming soon for surely sin has caused such devastation.

Compassion overload has caused us to close our eyes and act as if we don't care. We feel invincible- that disease will not plague our own skin and bones. We walk around blindfolded until it finally hits us..
Then sit stunned as we watch the people around us walk as stone soldiers and do nothing to help. Yet what can they do.

Friends we must open our eyes and start loving our brothers and sisters today.
Friends we must understand that Jesus is coming soon.
Friends we must get our oil because the time of Jesus' return is near.

Although Whitney is sick physically and needs your prayers desperately, all of us are sick mentally. We are all plagued by sin and selfishness. We must pray for Christ's healing. First in the life of Whitney so a miracle can be done in her and second in our own lives for a revival.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Waiting here

Hosea 12:6 Therefore, return to your God, Observe kindness and justice, And wait for your God continually.

Waiting has always been one of the hardest things for me to learn. Especially as I strive to be a girl who is full of grace- I see the importance of self-control and patience.

One of my dear friends represents this character of grace so well. She is calm, slow to speak and act, but always ready to listen. She knows the word of God but waits for the Spirit to share it. She is gentle but full of poise and beauty. She knows how to wait...

But do I? I struggle so much..

It seems I'm good at moving, at doing things, getting things done and I'm not so good at having to sit still, having to quiet down, having to wait on God.

But then I hear God asking me "Brooke have you really been waiting on me?..
Because I've been waiting on you.

Wait you God?
You were waiting on me? The God of the Universe was waiting on me?

And I heard the King say yes because I love you.
I knew you had to be ready.

Then God I asked.. if you were waiting for me- who was I waiting for?

Sometimes I think that we find ourselves asking God for something or a specific petition instead of waiting for His guidance and character.

That we could perhaps be searching for a trinket or a prize instead of the glory of the Father.

That we may desire healing or a gift when instead Christ's presence is far abundant to meet our every need.

If we would look for Him; if we would wait on Him- ready to see His presence- then He could reveal Himself to us.

God I am so sorry for the times when I have been asking you for a thing instead of asking to know you more. For you alone are more than enough to meet every need. I want to seek your presence more than any other thing.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Short Term Missions

This year I have a new job which is titled "Uquest leader" for campus ministries. My job is to plan a "poverty alleviation/ transformational development experience" which will include equipping college students with information about world issues and taking them on a short term "mission trip" to Nicaragua.

I've been reading the book "Helping without Hurting in short term missions" with Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. I definitely recommend reading the book if you are a missions junkie, wanting to spend time abroad, or even wanting to attend a short term trip to "save the children." It is definitely eye opening and a painful but necessary read.

According to Corbett, short term mission trips have been quite the common trend aka voluntourism with around 2,200,000 people sent as short term missionaries to "save the world" in 2000 and rates still rising*. It is estimated that approximately 2.2 billion dollars is spent on short term trips every year*. If it could be shown that significant improvements had been made because of this money being spent or people being led to Christ who had never heard the Gospel, that would be one thing. But the terrible news is that many of these mission trips are doing more harm than good.

Let me address a few typical problems.

1. Short term participants often do not understand the language of the country they are traveling too to visit. Without understanding the language how can they bond with the local people? Must they hire translators? Will they be able to understand and learn the culture without knowing how to communicate?

2. Short term participants often GIVE free goods. They bring presents thinking they are saving the world, all the while destroying the communities' local businesses as well as pride. Americans often go to visit thinking they know what's best. But when free clothes are dumped it takes out the need for the villages to shop and barter. They are then encouraged not to work hard for their money but to beg and ask for more. No wonder when they see a white person they can't help but ask "Prestame... Give me.. please." No more. The free goods must stop. There is a difference between relief and emergency providence (after natural emergencies) and giving to the poverty trap.

3. Short term participants waste A TON of money. If the money they spent going on their trip could be given directly for the community to invest in education, infrastructure, health or create more local jobs, it could go so far. But instead trips of 40 people often spend 40,000 solely on airfare before even getting to the country they desire to help. Then there is the fact that so often participants on trips have no skills in the area they are assigned to work. For instance what is the point in charging $2000 per high school student to send them on a construction and VBS trip when in reality 85% of them have never done construction before in their life and will be slow not to mention miserable in the sun. Have they ever volunteered for VBS in their local church or is it just the glory of international service and tourism that interests them?

4. Short term participants develop a false view of the world and sense of pride. This is something I personally have a hard time with. I grew up wanting to help people and somehow my first mission trip I learned that I could do something small to change the world. The problem is not my attitude towards helping the problem is the attitude I begin to develop that I think I know the answers or that I can be someone else's hero when in reality I am "poor" too and Christ alone can save us all. We think we have all the answers for other countries or families' poverty. In reality unless we have done tons of research on the history of their community and spent time getting to know them personally, we have no idea what specific needs we could actually help meet.

I'm not saying we should just throw all efforts at helping people around the world out the window. What I am saying is we need to evaluate the actual impact so many short term mission trips are making. We need to research how to better invest our money to help not hurt people who are struggling with poverty. We need to seek to understand by learning from the people of different communities instead of coming in with our own game plans of what we think needs to be done.