Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Already 'IN"

Radical - the final Chapter: “One Year to a Life Turned Upside Down.”

(This picture if my daughter and other girls at her orphange all fixing each others hair in the court yard in Ethiopia)

I am participating in a book club read along from Marla's site.

In the last chapter, David Platt outlines 5 commitments you could make, for one year, that would turn your life upside down.

One of the questions Marla asks, on her blog, is whether or not we are "in".

First, I have to say, I am glad to be at the last chapter of Radical. Not that I dislike the book, (although I did, at times), but more because I appreciate the journey this book led me on. Reading it on the coattails of Crazy Love, by Frances Chan, I realized in many, many ways, I was ALREADY IN.

Looking back at the journey of the past few years, the last year especially, I can see God was already weaving in my life much of what was shared in Radical. Changing my attitude toward possessions and life and life styles. But I love the places this book brought me, that I was not at yet: the clear description of discipleship, and they way the author challenged how much is enough. I needed that.

The last chapter focused on five commitments: Prayer, and particularly praying for the world, Reading the Bible all the way through, Sacrificing your money for a special purpose, spending time in another context, and committing your life to a multiplying community.

I would say I am IN, on all of these. Marla asked which one we were most excited about. I think the one on prayer. I have felt for a long time that there was so much more to prayer than I understood or was experiencing. So I am looking forward to digging deeper on that one. Reading through the Bible is one I want to do with my children. So I ordered a One year through Bible, a children's version I heard about.

The one I find the most challenging, as Marla asked, is the spending your time in another context.

I read a wonderful post by a young mother in Haiti, with her family, that challenges us to look again at the value and purpose of short-term mission trips. It is well worth the read, so please do. In the book David Platt shared about someone in his church who questioned the cost of a short term mission trip and wouldn't the airfare and cost of travel/stay go a lot farther if sent to that country. I would have to say, I would agree. Even the short trips were people build or repair homes, orphanages and churches, someone suggested, a longer commitment to go there and train/hire local workers, give them jobs, disciple them, invest in them to get that same work accomplished. And rather than spending the money to go hug a child for a week at an orphanage and then once again abandon them, use that money to hire more local caregivers and train them in connecting with and caring for children. It is a very thought-provoking article.

I fully understand the change that CAN happen with the person who goes to a place of poverty and need. So I am not saying, don't go. But look at the why of going, and the frequency of going and how BEST can the needs be met. A long term commitment is truly the best answer for those needing help. All of my children have experienced a time in another context. I took both my sons with me to China, when I adopted my youngest daughter. We only saw the hardships around the edges from afar, except the day we visited the orphanage and they both say the children in need. My oldest son joined me this past summer for a week in Ethiopia to bring home my older daughter. And I know that was a perspective change for us both. I also know there is much we did not see in both places. I really feel this type of travel, to change forever the life of a child, is well worth the trade-off in the cost of travel.

I would love each of my children to go on the "right" short-term mission trip at least once in their young lives...before they graduate from college and are set in live careers. I would be thrilled if any or all of them chose to be long-term missionaries.

We have seen, as a family, and my two daughters, have experienced, life in another context. Now, I feel, it is our responsibility to live in such a way that we can do something about it. To make the blessings God has given us stretch as far as it can go to do the most good.

Our start is sponsoring a young girl in Guatemala, through Compassion, supporting Gabi and her girls in Uganda through Racham Ministires, sponsoring another young ladies education for a year in Ethiopia through Emmabeths Ethiopia's Tomorrow efforts and supporting a young missionary family just starting their work to move to Costa Rica in the next two years. We also intermittently give to Drawn from Water, and the families saving the "Mingi" children in Ethiopia. I pray I will be able to do more in the future. I know these are only baby steps. I was truly hesitant to list them. I do not want one kudo or compliment for them. I have wasted too much of what God has given me in my life to EVER get a compliment. So please don't. The reason I mention them is for a couple reasons: I would love you to know about these ministries and needs, in case you might want to come along side and do something too. The other reason is because, with each of the areas we have started supporting, I wanted it to be personal. I wanted to connect with the people involved and pray for them and know their needs. To not just money in it, but to put heart and concern and friendship and prayers as well. My hope this coming year, is to free up even more of my income and see what God would do to help.

On a more personal level, I have yet to understand and see where and what God will have me do personally. But I loved something Marla shared a couple weeks back, about just coming alongside someone in need and being there for them. Being real and seeing what God will do. That is what I want.

I want God to keep that fire in my belly, and not let me forget the lessons He has sharpened through the reading of Radical. I think it would be great for all of us to check back every couple months of so with a Radical post and see how our commitment is going.

2 Things Others Said:

Gabi Dickinson said...

I don't believe in short-term missions trips either, but I do believe in you and your family going to meet me and my family one day :)

Marla Taviano said...

I LOVE this post, Sandee. LOVE it. I'll do as you asked and not shower you with compliments, but please know that you have encouraged and inspired me today. Blessings to you, friend!! God is so good.