I've been to Georgia. They have accents that make Texans sound down-right proper! It's hot there, they have pine trees, an peaches and peanuts grow there.
There's something else there, too;
Warren Baptist Church of Augusta, Georgia.
I've never been to this church---never even been to Augusta. But, that church has found a way to reach across a few southern states and make an impression on me.
The reason is the way that I found they do missions---or at least the way they do missions in Ukraine. They have their own way---The Warren Baptist Way.
So, let me rant a little.....
When Alyona tells me about the orphans at camp, or in the prison, or in the village my first response is something like this:
"I'm going there! I'm going to see those kids and I'm going to bring them candy and I'm going to love their necks! In fact, I'm going to go every single year to show them how much I love them, uh, how much Jesus loves them!"
You might think that that is a very righteous and holy thing for me to say and feel. However, if you will go back and look at that sentence, you will notice how many times I said, "I'm." Hmmm, could be a problem, here.
And, that's exactly what's wrong. We, in America, like to think we make a difference if we do fund raisers all year, and take a group of teenagers on a big, ole' mission trip. I've been on the receiving end of those mission trips, and for the most part, they do more harm than good. Trust me...I remember as a small girl being devastated by those youth group mission trips.
So many mission trips can be especially harmful to orhpans. These kids are so used to having people come, give them things, then leave. It's hurting them. Trust me, I know. I know because I've adopted a handful of these kids and they all have some kind of attachment issues. They think love is a hug and that's all it is! People coming for a short time and and then leaving them is about the worst thing anyone can do for those orphans.
So, I have a proposition. Let's do our mission trips the Warren Baptist Way.
Now, I'm going to have to tell you right up front that I'm only getting this information second hand. But, unlike gossip, second hand is the best place to get this kind of information.
I'm going to paint a picture of Warren Baptist Church in the way that it was painted to me----through they eyes of those on the receiving end, you know who I mean! I mean Alyona and Slavik!
During my two months in Ukraine I heard about this church over and over. I heard how they bring adults or well-behaved-modestly-dressed-mature teenagers. I heard that they are sweet, kind, not bossy, and they come to meet needs---they don't come with their own agenda in mind. THEN, I heard the most amazing thing about them. They don't come, give hugs, turn around and leave!!
Nay, nay! They come prepared to leave a working program behind them. They have started Sunday School classes in the villages. But, once they go back to the deep south of the Red, White, & Blue, they keep on giving!!!! They keep whatever program they started funded so that it is an on-going mission! They help equip Ukrainians to do the work they start, they send the money to keep it going, they support them from the other side of the ocean, and they see themselves as servants! Their mission trip is not an EVENT-----it's an ONGOING LIFESTLYE!
I have another proposition for you! How about NOT taking any mission trips this year--or next year? How about we send our money instead? The money that a group would spend on plane tickets could outfit the whole camp and give scholarships for all the orphans to go hear about Jesus for the very first time! Or, how about this? Let's send our money to Warren Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga and let them use it to fund another on-going ministry in Ukraine.
Anyone prepared for this? Anyone willing to take a plunge and tell their churches that the year 2011 is going to be a different year for missions.
Just tell them..."From now on, we're going to do missions the Warren Baptist way!"
Let me know what you think, okay?
I don't know anyone from Warren Baptist Church---anyone out there? Can you let us know more about you!!!