Editor’s Note: The introduction question and response to “Why Bother?” has been written by Dr. Brad Bopp. Before jumping into his thoughtful response and the other questions, I wanted to shed some light on yesterday’s prayer request. In short, we have (1) lost connection with a Kenyan friend of the team and (2) have misplaced a number of things in a short amount of time. Neither of these two stressors affects our safety as individuals or as a team (read: we are safe); in a time of already heightened emotion, lamenting for our friend and misplacing items in a foreign country were unexpected and moved us in a powerful way. Jesus is the hero, though, regardless of our circumstances. Thank you for supporting us in prayer. –Patrick
Short term missions. Why bother? by Brad Bopp
After four short term mission trips to Nairobi, I find myself ever more compelled to return despite the challenges anyone considering a short term mission faces. Most mission trips require that people leave their comfort zones and follow God to places where there may be very real dangers including both physical and emotional. It often requires surrendering our safety nets and risking our lives and our vulnerable hearts to serve Him. God has promised us salvation so we can safely stay in our homes and that is OK. However, God has also called us to go serve others everywhere, including the “least of these” in the most desperate places on earth. Parts of Nairobi certainly qualify as does any place where people are suffering.
Individuals considering mission trips often get bombarded with questions of the wisdom of such endeavors and are exposed to critics who argue that it is a waste of time, effort, and money. The amount of the money spent on short term missions is a mere fraction of the amount of money spent on many other less worthy things such as alcohol or cigarettes annually. Yet, many argue that groups should just send the money that they would have spent on the trip to the place of interest and let them do “good things” with that money. I am not sure how anyone can try to measure the price of service for God? I don’t think it matters to God the cost of serving Him. After all, it’s only money.
Others ask what can be accomplished in a 2 week mission trip. Short term missions to Nairobi through TPCC represent individual “links” making up a long “chain” of trips that have occurred regularly over many years, thereby making up a long term mission relationship. The resulting relationships are unbreakable and continually become increasingly stronger. The people of Bondeni (the adopted slum of Traders Point) no longer see short term mission trips hosted by TPCC but rather see groups of dedicated people who represent an incredible Body of Christ and care enough to visit regularly in order to maintain a long term bond in Christ without any expectations in return.
Whether to downtown, to another city, to another state, or to the darkest places on earth, I am certain that anyone who has ever gone on a mission for the service of God has been changed at the core. Ask them. They will tell you. Mission trips are usually comprised of a series of vivid experiences witnessing pain, suffering, miracles, and blessings all at the same time. It is indescribable. It exposes individuals to raw and sensitive emotions and human suffering at its worst. And Jesus always seems to shine through the darkness as a beacon of light for the group to follow. Jesus didn’t say “go–unless it is dangerous and scary.” He said “go.” Personally, I find it most interesting that the more dangerous the setting is, the tighter I feel His arms wrapped around me while I am serving Him. He promised He would never leave our side. Never. God is ever present on mission trips protecting those who serve with deliberate control.
So why go? Perhaps the most compelling reason to go on a mission trip beyond that of God asking us to do so is this—imagine for a moment that you have nothing. Nothing. No home, no money, no food, no shoes, no shirt, no safety, starving hunger, insatiable thirst, absolute hopelessness, and sheer desperation and someone walks up to you, sees you, turns, and walks away. Sadly, it happens every day all over this magnificent earth.
Every day, someone somewhere needs you. Please don’t walk away from them. Don’t ever give up on them. It will be in their darkest hour that they will need you the most.
Describe one thing that brought a smile to you today. by Julie Crowe
This morning I was part of a team that went out into the Bondeni community to make some home visits. As we strolled down the dusty, rocky slope leading from the school to the dirt paths of the community, two young boys were playing along the slope. One was probably a year old and the other about four. They were wearing matching red-checkered shirts. As I looked down to see what the four year old was pulling along, I couldn’t help but smile. The toy he was getting so much pleasure from was a car made from an empty water bottle. Four bottle caps were attached as wheels, and he used a piece of twine to pull it along.
It was so sweet, innocent and priceless!
What is something you have found impactful and why? by Olivia Martin
What I have found impactful is the vision of the MOHI team. I have seen well-executed missions and businesses before but nothing that holds the integrity, power, passion, and dedication of these amazing people—missionaries to their own back yard. They have shown that no matter the cultural dynamics, poverty level, or kinds of resources on my have, ANYTHING is possible in Christ Jesus. Witnessing this incredible display of God’s power has reignited my often-stale Christianity into a burning desire to do far more for the Lord than what I limited my talents and gifts to do. “Forever Changed” is my new motto.
What is something from today that brought you joy? by Mary Bopp
Today I had the privilege of meeting the children we sponsor. Hugging them and looking into their precious faces instantly filled me with overwhelming joy. It is amazing how quickly they can capture your heart, filling it with love, by their beautiful smile. Now I know firsthand why everyone refers to their sponsored child as “my child.”
They will forever be in my heart.
What is your take away for today? by Lisa Ford
Triage for the medical clinic can feel very rushed when surrounded by a mom and her 3 sick children, and I felt the need to rush them through when in reality, they really wanted to be heard, cared for, and be made to feel worthy of a Medical checkup…as you and I would expect as well. These precious people I have learned are very patient, hardly ever complain, and do the best they can to survive in unbelievable circumstances. For me, it gives me great perspective, and perspective I can take home to share with my children and friends. The take away: All people are all deserving of God’s love, respect, caring, and being made to feel like they matter, in a world that is unfair and unstable.
Secondly, I met an 80 year old blind woman today–she came with her granddaughter to be seen at the clinic–she was very sweet, soft spoken and in severe pain. We sat for a while, she and I, while my interpreter was looking for help to get her inside. I had taken her pulse and after that, she did not want to let my hand go. I looked at these weathered hands and marveled at what she must have been through in her 80 years, considering the life expectancy in the slums is roughly 50-60 years. This sweet lady was a Witch Doctor, as I came to find out after she had seen the physician. Initially I was shocked, unsure what to think, but it did not take me long to realize the take away: everyone needs help and love, witch doctor or not.