Perspectives from Pastor Pre

I follow a blog that I wanted to tell you all about today.  These people have an organization that does stuff in Haiti.  I don’t know these people, but I love following any story that has anything to do with Haiti!

I recently read a post on their blog that got me thinking about traveling to Haiti and anywhere that is poverty stricken for that matter.  Many times us Americans have it all figured out and try to go into a country and save them all!  A lot of times our strategies are foolish and very inconsiderate to say the least.  We don’t know the culture and yet we go for 7 days and expect to change the world.  If I could guess, I bet that sometimes we leave the missionaries more stressed than when we arrived.  😦

What do you think?  Have you ever been that tourist/missionary taking pictures of people without even asking just to capture the moment?  Have you ever tried to “witness” to people in other countries by scaring the hell out of them with your tactics?  I would be lying if I told you I have never been there done that.  I have learned lots over the past year from reading missionaries blogs and visiting Haiti twice myself.   l hope that I can travel to Haiti (or anywhere, but this is what is always on my mind) next time and realize that these people need to see Jesus too in me.  They need love from me.  I can’t expect to go there for a week and change the country.  I can’t expect to show up  and hand out some candy, clothes, evangelism tracts, distribute some bread and shoes and expect to change the world.  What I can do is travel there and assist the missionaries that are already there.  I can do what they think is best because they know the people there and know what they need.  Because when I leave in 7 days they will still be there to either clean up the mess us Americans have made, or continue the work that they have been doing that we came along side and helped with.

Go visit this blog and leave them some encouragement.


7 responses to “Perspectives from Pastor Pre

  1. This is so true…

    At Innovative our strategy is to work with a “man of peace”, which is a local believer, pastor, or missionary that is living in that region. We partner with them to not just spread the gospel, but plant the gospel, there is a difference I think. We partner in long term strategies like literacy programs in Pakistan and Yeman, a school in Ethiopia, ESL work in China, and pastor training. We also want to get local churches and believers to be mobilized to go and offer up there time and talents to serve these people.

    Your blog reminds me of something I saw in Ethiopia…
    One of the American Missionaries from “another organization” would drive around Addis Ababa in his 4-runner and throw candy and empty water bottles at people (they love the empty water bottles and use them for different things).

    Anyway, I think we are called to GO, but we have to be smart about our methods and choose to pour into a place on a continuous effort. In that way we can change the world, but it will not happen overnight. That is tough for me to remember sometimes.

    Good post!

  2. These were some of the thoughts that I was having when I watched your the video of the pastor in Africa on one of your previous posts. I was going to post, but I didn’t feel like I had the words. I think as American Christians we think we have the answers and we go into situations ignorant and blind of the people’s needs assuming that we already know them and know how to meet them. I was so touched by that pastor in Africa. He acknowledged that he had nothing to offer these people living with AIDS. He wasn’t a doctor, he didn’t have all kinds of resources to offer them. BUT he could just be there. He was a presence in their lives. I can’t help but think that him just being there gave these people a since of hope. That’s what Jesus is about to me. He is about feeling hope in a world that has none.

    I honestly have never been on an international mission. I did go with Campus Crusade to an inner city neighborhood and passed out the salvation pamplets with a goodie box, and honestly I thought it was a big joke and it felt all wrong. Luckily the people we met were already Christians so we just visited with each other more than anything. Anyway, vowed never to do THAT again. I did go to Jamaica for Spring Break in college, and outside of the resort area…it was devastatingly poor. The images of the naked starving children next to the cows who were supposed to be their source of nourishment but were also starving will never leave my mind. Needless to say, I did not party much. I spent my time talking to the maids and the security officers asking them about the state of their country. Just listening to their stories about the very resort I was staying at being owned by Americans and all of the money we were pumping into the “country” was actually going right back home. I was SO disturbed the whole trip. The people I was with were being idiots selfishly thinking about themselves the whole time while disrespectfully trying to talk to the staff at the resort in their Jamaican accent. I wanted to run to the shacks and give them all of my clothes and my money and bring them food, but I knew that that wasn’t the answer. I could help one shack full of kids for one day and then what. I just stayed on the resort and talked to God and talked to the people with my heartbreaking. I have said that the only way I want to go back is if I was going to DO something about it. Finding a missionary already there to support is a fabulous way to go about it for sure. But sometimes, I wonder if we like to go to the missionary to volunteer to make ourselves feel better and we are actually more of a burden. Just think about what it would be like to train a new church group each week as a missionary, and deal with the ignorance of the group of the culture?!? It seems like as a volunteer it would be best to find one place to tap into and volunteer with them only so that the learning curve is not there each time you go down.

    I worked at an inner city daycare/family service center and I used to really feel like the volunteers were a throne in my side. You had to cater to them and make them feel like they were doing something important. BUT the volunteers who were there consistently were able to taking on major projects and they were essential to making the place run. THAT was helpful.

    Long post..sorry!

  3. finding::God::in the everyday

    We arrived in the Philippines one year ago…I know that initial feeling of thinking I know what they need and that maybe I have all the correct ways of doing something. I have taken many pictures of people I do not know…fortunately enough, the Filipino people love it; they even thank me that I included them.

    One thing that stands out in my mind is that, when we feel like we want to “fix” everything, I have had to realize that they are not aware that it was even broken in the first place. They are content in their living situations and that truly amazes me. They are so grateful to have what they possess and God has actually used their simple attitude towards life to minister to me.

    You are right in thinking that you cannot expect to change a country in a matter of a week, but please know that your efforts (even the smallest) do make a difference in the process of change. Sharing God’s compassion reaches into the hearts and lives of the people around you and because of your gifts, they can be told of a God that will meet their greater need. And I cannot even begin to tell you what a blessing your presence is to the resident missionary…just having someone else there to help carry the load for a while. Awesome!

    Jamie, you are an inspiration! I don’t know you, but I have seen your heart and know that you are beautiful! May God bless your every steps!

  4. Thanks for sharing our post Jamie.

    I remember on one of my 1st visits to Haiti I heard a gentleman from Texas say as we were riding in the back of a pick-up, “Well, I sure know how to fix Haiti…make all the Haitians Texans!” It was sick and funny at the same time, but it caused to me look at my own reflection as to what I may be saying…and the reflection wasn’t pretty. I’m so glad we can learn from one another in love. Being a short term missionary myself I too think it’s best to lift-up those that God has called to live there long term…I know you will do that for Livesay’s…what an encouragement you will be to them.


  5. P.S. Don’t get too much sun! 😉 Sorry, I’ve had skin cancer…everyone who knows me knows I taunt people that get sun. 😉

  6. Jamie-
    Thanks for getting it – thanks for thinking of things this way and for caring enough to try to get “outside of the box” — it is VERY encouraging.

    I wondered if you made the connection — Providence House was started by Tess’ parents. (Marcia and Greg are Tess’ Mom and Dad)

  7. I have never thought about mission work in the perspective shared in the Pastor Pre post. I think in my own little head I have it all figured out (even when I know I don’t) and I think I will just go on a mission trip and change the world by making them see. How naive of me. How incredibly selfish we as Christians can be regarding what we have to offer. I love the idea of just SHOWING JESUS by doing. What an awesome responsibility we could take on. Thank you for the awesome thought-provoking post!!

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