On a mission with kids.
You may recall the Blues Brothers refrain of being “On a Mission from God.” I use that phrase humorously sometimes, as I wonder whether it might work on being pulled over running late for a church meeting – “Sorry to be going a bit fast through Elm Valley, Officer, but you see, I’m on a mission for God!” Somehow, I don’t think it would!
I’ve been thinking of the mission we practice in the church too, and how kids get to partake in it. When I first went to Haiti, it was not something I came up with, but an ongoing effort I was blessed – and challenged! – to join in. An interview on some of my Haiti experience was written up by a writer for the UCC, whose article follows here.
One of the most important things about a mission encounter is not only what it accomplishes while we are visiting – at the house-building site, in a soup kitchen, helping sort clothes for a giveaway – but also what we who are helping out take home with us. It’s really a two-way street, even if ahead of time we think mostly of what we will be doing for someone else.
As a Pastor, I love not only knowing a better house was built because we showed up to help out, but also that once we’re back things look a little different for those kids (and their parents) who went along. We realize what someone recently described to me as a “first-world problem” – “why can’t I get that app to load on my tablet?” – is not such a big deal, compared to problems two-thirds of the world deals with everyday.
Sometimes kids and other adults-in-the-making start thinking of ways to help from a distance too. Like how can I donate from my next event/app/birthday to a water project, like New Zealand singer Brooke Fraser did, or to mission in Backbay. Who do I talk to to start reading Mission Moments each week in worship, and realize I can pray from the mission book daily myself too.
And soon we realize we really are all kids on a mission from God.