In less than 30 days, I will be headed to Zambia to spend the summer months working side by side with our international partners through a variety of ‘mission trips’ and other similar opportunities. Short term ‘mission trips’ have understandably found their place in a bit of controversy, between helping, feeling good about oneself, and actually hurting those we mean to serve. I, along with the rest of the staff at Poetice, have wrestled with this on a very personal level. However, what we have come to believe is that short term ‘mission trips’ serve as a powerful tool, one that cannot be found elsewhere, for both the individuals going, as well as our partners, who receive hese individuals. What we have also come to believe is that this tool must be used for the right purpose and with the right heart. Thus, we have come to call our trips, ‘immersion experiences’ – not because we want to believe this is all they are good for, but because we believe fully in the power of experience, of transformation through interaction with a different culture. We believe in what happens to us when we leave our comforts and are confronted with a different reality. We believe in the expansive space this creates for our God to intervene and capture our hearts once again. We believe in what our mindset does to the African culture, and we believe in what the African mindset does to our culture. And we believe that embracing this truth allows our programs to make leaps and bounds towards influence in creative, innovative ways that wouldn’t have otherwise been seen. It has been my joy to take up this challenge. To embrace this tool, call it what it is, and learn how to squeeze as much value as we can from these ‘immersion experiences’ allowing both Americans and Africans to more fully encounter God in our lives, step out of poverty, develop as leaders and experience freedom like never before! And this summer I get to help make these experiences happen.
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Abby Phillips is the Program Architect of Poetice International.