Friday, March 18, 2011

missions: are we helping or hurting

It is no secret that I have a passion for Ethiopia and a passion for children.  My heart goes out to the children without families in Ethiopia. 

With this being said, I have been looking into going to Ethiopia and serving these orphans.  I have found several organizations that take short term trips to orphanages in ET.  Then I got to thinking...these kids have had people walk in and out of their lives for most or all of their lives.  They see parents come and visit children they will hopefully betaking home, they see people come in and out to check on them.  If my purpose of going is to love on these kids, how traumatic would that be for them if I actually succeeded.  It is important to note that there are great needs of these children that do require short term missions, such as doctors.  And this is completely different from long term missions.  I admire people who make missions a priority in their lives. 

There was one organization I found that goes to orphanages to visit the children, establish relationships, establish trust- then leave.  They are only there for a week or two.  How does this help the child? 

I heard a story the other day from a young woman who had gone to Africa on a 1 month trip.  She told me that there was a teenage girl who would hang around where ever these people were.  She told them that she just wanted to sit in their presence.  She was in awe of them.  She also shared that all white people are wonderful and how she wished she was white and could live in the rich world with them.  She hated her country, culture, heritage, and family because of the short glimpses she received from the missions that would come to her village. 

As much as I want to go to ET, I cannot.  I am sure that I could raise the money and find a way for it to work sometime in the future, but it would not be right.  I want to go to love, and I want to go for myself.  There is a great danger in short term missions- the mission tourist.  I am too close to this line myself.  I want to see the country to continue to learn more.  But the start of that sentence is where the problem is I want and to go see.  I should not be going simply because I want to.  And I should not being going as a tourist to see this country (or the rest of the world).  Before you sign that check for 3 or 4 thousand dollars to go and help- think why and I doing this, how does this help, who does this help, would it be better to give the money to the people for supplies, or support someone who is there full time in their efforts with relationships. 

1 comment:

  1. What a great way to think of it. I think supporting those already there is so important. I just wanted to stop by real quick. I saw your very sweet comment over at my feature today on A Life so Lovely. Thank you for that, and I am really glad I got a chance to look at your site now too. Hope you are having a good weekend :)


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