This summer we had teams come down to live at the orphanage to help the building process. They would also visit all the ministries that we are doing here: the orphanage, daycare, garbage dump children’s program, local community children’s program, cell groups (community family groups from the church), and other random things too.(watch this video: http://vimeo.com/47591922#at=0 )
I was with a team of inters that helped with the same thing: leading teams. It was such a cool groups of interns that we had (see the amazing race blog). We would encourage each other and up-lift each other, help each other, and HANG OUT! It was an amazing team that we had and God definitely put us together!
Teams…we had teams from all over the United States and Canada. Teams as big as 45 and small as 8. And teams would come at different times during the summer. We had it set up in blocks of teams for 10 days and then a break for 5 days. And then teams for the next 10 days and then a break, that way the teams could be with other teams and build connections and relationships. One time we had 100 people here…what?! So yeah, it was pretty crazy at times.
I also led one team that was in the jungle in Pugallpa. It was such an amazing experience and I LOVED IT! The jungle experience was completely different than the orphanage (because it’s in the desert). So it was a nice break to see a different part of Peru.
Leading the teams was normal. I mean children’s ministry and building is mostly the same all around the world. But the difference came during DEBRIEF. Oh that dreaded word…but this is where lives changed. THIS was the reason for the missions experience. The team had time to reflect on the day and the people here. That is the REASON for short-term mission experiences…to change YOU. And people did change. Topics started about how we are the same as the people in the garbage dumps. People have so much joy in the midst of trash. Who are the least of these in my community? Is there a spiritual garbage dump I can impact back in the States? What am I poor in? how are the people in the dump RICHER than me? And so many other questions that you would have to be here to understand.
If people left the missions experience unchanged…what was the point?