one month until departure.
i had promised that we would have more details as time went on
but it appears that our time in jamaica will play out differently than we had all imagined.
what do you think of when you think of a "typical" short term mission trip?
building houses? building a school or church building? playing with the little ones abandoned to a the orphanages? painting? distributing goods or resources to those who live without?
some of these things were what we had expected to be doing, one month from tomorrow.
we've been reading, as a team,
this book: when helping hurts
and it has challenged us, each of us, to understand poverty differently.
"poverty is much more than simply a lack of financial or material resources and that it takes much more than donations and handouts to solve the problem of poverty" says the amazon.com description of the book.
while most of the developed world defines poverty as a lack of material resources (and subsequently seeks to "solve" poverty accordingly), most of those living in poverty describe their conditions with little to no reference to their financial state, but so much more in terms of their value as individuals and as families.
if we recognize that the [self-recognized] deepest need of world's most vulnerable families is not their lack of material resources, but a lack of a sense of value and opportunity to contribute anything meaningful to society.
if indeed this is the deepest need that our brothers and sisters face, how can the church, through short-term missions + otherwise, with the vast tools and resources that God has given to us, help to alleviate poverty?
i posted an chart here that shows the avenues through which LiA seeks to care for the vulnerable. LiA partners serve in a way that avoids offering donations and handouts and instead serves to develop the individual + the community. LiA partners are many professionals who identify broken systems and capable individuals. the ministry spends time equipping and empowering individuals to step into the change process with their own feet and hands in the work. this, argue steve corbett and brian fikkert in when helping hurts, is the fundamental need of impoverished communities, families, individuals. so this is where we will begin - learners, listeners, observers, speakers of value, as we pioneer the first high school mission trip partnering with LiAjamaica. we go with an itinerary that asks of us flexibility and humility, expecting that with joy we'll have many more details to share once we return home.
thank you all for you continued prayers and encouragement as we continue to work as a team to know one another and to prepare compassionate hearts for the friends that we will find in jamaica.