Thursday, August 30, 2012

I ALL CAPS HEART sweet brown African babies, but I can't like China. (So you went to China, but did you really make a difference?)

(I did a SIMILAR POST when I came back from my mission trip to Africa last summer, and I wanted to do it again for this trip.)

One of my BFF's has a little boy named Jacob and he says "I can't like it" instead of "I don't like it"......we have all adopted the phrase because it is so stinking cute. And it is how I feel about China.

Numerous people have asked me since I got back: "How was China? Did you like it better than Africa?", and that simple question has jacked up everything I thought I knew about missions.

I loved everything about Africa. It is a beautiful place, in spite of the reality that people there starve to death every day. The people are so poor, but yet they have so much joy. The children have nothing. Literally nothing. Many of the ones we met didn't even have pants, much less food in their bellies. But yet they seem so happy. They just want to play and have fun like other kids. The mama's may not have a job, and they may not know where their next meal is coming from, but if a mzungu smiles at them and makes eye contact, they can't help but shyly smile back. For some reason even the dirt there makes me happy. I remember being sad when I came home and it all finally washed off. The kids we met just want to be loved and held and told that Jesus loves them. And I am all about holding and loving on sweet brown African babies. ALL ABOUT IT.

So if I love Africa so much why did I go to China? Well, because God called me to (and if you feel like spending your day reading my blog, you can find that post HERE). People said it was silly and that I should stick with what I know and what I am passionate about. Many didn't like the idea of the security risks involved. Some said that since I loved kids so much, it didn't make any sense to go and work with college students. I am so glad that I listened to God instead, because otherwise I would have missed the great lesson He was to teach me through this trip.

I remember the first day we were in China, looking around this big bustling city and comparing everything I saw to Africa, and I truly thought, this place is just not for me. And the trip confirmed that. It was not FOR ME.

We as Americans have an inherent tendency to make everything about US. Even right down to our mission trips. We look at the list or search for organizations that will take us where we want to the name of Jesus of course. I know this because I did it.

Africa as a nation is very poor. BUT, in the areas I visited, the church was there. It was working. Tirelessly. Do those long term missionaries and churches need on-going support? Absolutely. But what about the places that are spiritually poor? That is what God opened my eyes to in China. I can't like China because I felt so sad there........because there are just so few believers there....much less followers. So many people who have never heard (let that sink in) the name of JESUS. Never. That was a tough pill to swallow for me. It is hard to see so many faces in such a spiritually poor place. They seem almost emotion-less. What motivates them to live their every day lives? What about the children? It is just hard. BUT, the spread of this great Gospel is the whole reason we go right? So then doesn't it make sense to go to the places where people haven't heard even if it is a tough place to be?

I was able to love on so many sweet kids in Africa and show them the love of Jesus. But, to be able to look into the eyes of another human being, fearfully and wonderfully made by God, who has never heard of Him, and tell them the story......there are just no words to explain how that feels. And that is what we are called to do. Not to go to the easy places, or only the safe places, or only the places that look pretty in pictures. We are called to GO therefor and MAKE DISCIPLES of ALL NATIONS.   

To quote John Piper:

Missions exist because worship doesn't.

Watch this quick video (only a little over a minute long):

Isn't that so true of us? We are believers, but we don't truly want to be followers. We will leave that up to the crazy people who go places no one else wants to go and adopt the children no one else wants to adopt. The crazy people who take their children in tow and move to the dangerous places because they believe that this Gospel is worth sacrificing everything for. The people who give their money away left and right because they don't feel called to go overseas themselves but want to be zealous senders of those who do. We want comfort, security, ease and safety because that is what people in this country have taught us to believe that we deserve

Africa is a beautiful place and it will always be etched on my heart. I would LOVE to go back there one day, but that is up to God. This is HIS work, not Jenny's work. People have also asked me "Would you ever go back to China?". They expect me to say no, but my answer is, I will go where ever He sends me.



1 comment:

  1. I love your heart for God and missions. Glad I found your blog and am getting to know you better through it. :)