Where would I choose to go on a 6 month Missions trip, if the opportunity was presented to me? That is the subject up for discussion on KB this week.
My immediate thought was Poland. Both sets of grandparents are from that country in Europe. I feel a strong sense of connection with the Polish people.
My main focus for the trip would be to talk to the people. I would share as one brought up in the catholic tradition, about my own experience of finding the Lord Jesus as my Savior. I would like to talk to them, preferably in their own homes. I would share, one on one, about how I had a level of understanding about Jesus and how I came to realize that head knowledge of who He is differed from the heart knowledge, which I have come to embrace.
In this, I would pray that my discussions would whet some appetites to further study about Jesus, especially through the Bible. Perhaps they might, as I did, come to know Jesus rather than just know about Him. Giving mental ascent was what I did and I surmise that many Catholics do the same. Through non-confrontational discussion; I would pray that our times of fellowship would cause them to hunger for more.
As I left, I would be confident that even though my trip did not involve mass meetings, it would have touched the hearts of families and from there, they could spread the good news of the Gospel with their community. I would pray for that to become a ripple effect and in that many Catholics in the area, would come to a genuine faith in Jesus Christ.
Because there was no steadfast “rule” about the 6 month period, I would like to split up my time in Poland and Tapachula Mexico.
I’ve come to know a couple, who are missionaries in Tapachula. Hope and Steve are the parents of my daughter in law.
They themselves had been on several trips, through their church. As time passed and as circumstances changed, they felt a pull to become full time missionaries.
The focus of what they do is children. They have established 2 boy’s homes and 1 girl’s home in the same neighborhood.
You may wonder where the children come from, as they are without their parents and yet the homes are not orphanages.
They come from prisons.
Yes, you heard that right, from prisons. They have not committed any crimes, their parents have. And the way things are governed in that region is that, when an adult is convicted of a crime and sent to prison, the whole family has to go with them.
As you can imagine, they are deplorable places for adults, let alone children. In this dark place, they witness despicable behavior and they themselves are victims of all forms of abuse…sexual abuse being the major one.
So, through Mission on the Move, and the efforts of Hope and Steve, these children come to a place of hope with a future.
To get into to the Home, they have to be granted permission by the parents.
There, they are “cleaned up”…body, mind and soul. They are taught things like basic manners, as well being provided with regular schooling. They learn to trust adults. They receive counseling to deal with the aftermath of the squalor they have lived in. whether through the prison and the lifestyle of their parents previous to their incarceration. Most of all, they are introduced to the Savior Jesus Christ and receive instruction in the bible.
Some of them arrive as young as 5 and others at an older age. As of now, 3 boys are attending college and I know of 1 girl, who has graduated from college.
The home provides them everything that a healthy home would provide. Sadly it is not perfect in the sense of the ultimate family would be one in which healthy parents would provide all the resources for their own children to grow up with a good future.
As a bonus, some of these parents have become Christians as well. They are provided with instruction through a Prison Ministry.
I would like to be part of the ongoing process to teach, nourish and encourage these children…especially the girls.
If an opportunity arose, I would be willing to speak in public to raise awareness about this beautiful ministry. I would hope to raise funds for college scholarships for them and to start a fund to establish, not only an additional girls’ home, but more homes as well.
Up front personal ministry and prayer would thrill me, to bring the Good News of the Gospel to these 2 very different people groups.