Love with abandon.
Almost every person who goes on a short term mission trip or travels for an adoption is deeply impacted during their time in-country. They are confronted with the complexities of poverty as well as the fact of their own poverty. They leave after 10 days in a country not their own somewhat different and ready to see injustice confronted and the world changed.
However, for a certain percentage of those people there are gravitational forces that take place upon re-entry to their homes. Facing the need to dive back into work, re-assume family responsibilities, discouragement by family members or friends, busyness and the pull of society to pursue the Middle Class dream leaves many drawn away from the work that God started in their hearts and the change never comes into full bloom. The gravitational pull of what “matters” in the West suddenly pulls someone back into the vortex.
For others there is not time, energy or encouragement to wrestle through the emotions, thoughts, smells and sights that one saw while serving in impoverished settings. Or there is sense of hopelessness that sets in, but with no one to process those emotions with. An incredibly amazing trip to serve among the poor (and be impacted by their joy in the midst of distress) quickly fades into distant memories, long forgotten powerpoint presentations and dusty photo albums.
The zeal to change the world fades into the distance.
Now, that is not true for everyone, though. We hear stories of people who are deeply impacted and they return to their home country ready to see a change made. Sometimes it takes time for the opportunities to present themselves, but in the end they will work to see change made.
This is true of our friend Rachel. A couple of years ago she and her husband adopted from Ethiopia. Then she was here on a mission trip a year ago and left “different.” Now she is doing something about seeing a difference made and seeing families kept together. God continues to do a deep work in her heart and she is responding.
This past week she launched the “Love With Abandon” campaign. Her goal is to raise $6,000 total to help support: Embracing Hope Ethiopia, Bring Love In, Compassion Family Project, orphan and widow projects in Florida, a family who is adopting, and a friend who was recently widowed.
But, you have to read her story and how she got to this place. You can read it here:
One year later: what I learned about adoption on my mission trip
And when you are done reading that, you can read about the Love With Abandon project here:
If you’ve gone on a mission trip and left ready to change the world, but somehow got caught in a Western culture gravitational vortex when you returned home, then I think you will find her words a great encouragement to you.
You can regain that zeal and still make a difference.