I can only serve two weeks at a time

Some friends recently returned from Haiti where they were doing some prep-work to grow a child sponsorship program there. When they returned they showed pictures of their time and told stories of the things they experienced while there. I love hearing stories like these. Something in me wakes up in a different way when good stories are told.

One of the women who participated said something to the effect of it being easy to serve there because all you see around you in need and opportunity.

This made me stop and think just a bit. I thought about need and opportunity. Why don’t we think the same way here in the States? What happens when we go on a short term trip that gives us these magical new eyes with which we see?

As I was processing this I remembered an exercise my dad uses with some of his clients. He is a counselor and we were talking about some of the ways he gets people to engage one another in a new way. In this particular exercise he gives one person two minutes to say whatever they need to say and the other person one minute to respond. Then the two switch places and do it again. The time boundaries release a feeling of safety that enable one to speak what needs to be said.

I wonder if short term mission is like that exercise? Can we engage the world and it’s needs for one or two weeks with our senses wide awake because it feels safe? Do we feel freedom in the time constraint?

I think there are many reasons that keep us from engaging our daily lives with the same openness and sensitivity to the needs of others, but I’d like to hear what you think.

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