Thursday, August 18, 2011

To America We Go

We’re sitting in the airport now, waiting to check in (we got here very early to make sure we got through security in time, but we can’t even check in for another hour). Perfect opportunity to write the last (I suppose) blog post.

It usually takes me a long time to process things, whatever it even means to “process” something. This time, however, I’ve been forcing myself to try to make an attempt at this processing while I’m still here in Israel (all so that I can write a blog post!). 

This has been such an interesting trip, different from any I’ve ever been on before. On past trips, all my time was scheduled and planned, we had things to do and people to see/talk to every minute of every day. Opportunities for sharing were handed to us, and that, I believe, is the real reason why so many people like going on “mission trips.” It’s easy. You’re on a trip with a set-in-stone mission. 

It’s not real life.

 It’s just, “Here’s a person you can talk to and then never see again. Recite all the things you know about your faith.” I’m not saying everyone has this view, or that every mission trip is like this, or even that this is necessarily a bad thing. However, after truly living here (if only for a month and a half), I’ve realized how different going on a “mission trip” is from living a life of overseas missions. I worry that too many people think they are one and the same. “Oh, I loved going to China/Africa/Brazil for two weeks…It changed my life…I want to live there and be a missionary there someday…etc, etc, etc.”  

It’s really not the same.

I regret not realizing this earlier on. I regret not spending more time at the coffee shops (don’t laugh…), where I could have met more people and talked to them. In our efforts to save our own money, I think we passed up many an opportunity to simply live the Israeli life and, in the midst of that, share Christ. Instead, we spent the majority of our evenings watching movies. Not that this is a bad thing; fellowship with believers is good, and necessary. Time by myself was good, and necessary. But it still wasn’t the main reason we came, and I feel like I may have made it my main reason.

HOWEVER. Our time was most certainly not wasted here. We were able to greatly help a ministry that can reach locals so much better than I can. I kind of wish our “mission trips” did more of that, and less of us acting like we know the best way to reach a culture other than our own… just a thought. Even just in learning about what their ministry does, I learned that the Arab culture is SO much different from what I thought, and, if left to my own devices, I probably would have done a horrible job trying to reach them myself. So I’m very thankful for our sort of “behind the scenes” approach.

 I don’t always have to be the one planting/watering seeds. My attempts here would have fallen on rocks and thorny soil. But, if I can help a sower that knows where to throw the seeds so that they land in the fertile soil, let me please do that! 

I’m so glad we got to both see how this culture lives, and also help JEO reach this culture (their own culture). I know we can continue to help them even from America. And I know I want to come back and help in person (sooner rather than later)! 

We are both so grateful for everyone’s continued intercession for us. YOUR work was not in vain, and did not go unnoticed. 

We’re going to get in line to check in soon…we’re on our way! 


1 comment:

  1. Oh Olivia -- I soooo love this post. I want to share it with my Sunday School class (we've been talking about missions) and hopefully share with them what you so wonderfully communicated: missions is REAL LIFE LIVING -- and many times, allowing the very culture you are there to reach, to teach YOU.

    Can't wait to see you soon...