I was first introduced to international missions when I was a senior in high school. I signed up to go with my youth group down to Mexico to build houses for a small poverty stricken town just outside of Mexico City. I remember thinking it would be a great opportunity to give back, help others, and at the same time hang out with my best friends. There wasn’t much spiritual preparation. It was a pretty cut and dry trip. Build houses, help the poor, and go home. So that’s what we did.
Ironically, it wasn’t until my senior year of college when I was able to take another missions trip with the local church. But this time instead of going to Mexico we were going down to Haiti. Unlike my past experience there was a lot of preparation and thought put into this trip. Our team met numerous times to discuss our plans on how to create a lasting change in the area that we were serving and ways that we could minister to the people’s hearts.
I was forever changed by that second experience in Haiti. Unlike the first missions trip to Mexico, we were not going just to feel good about ourselves but instead to develop Christ-centered relationships with the people. Our work had long-term effects and our church committed to seeing them through in the years to come.
That experience coupled with the wisdom that I found in reading When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor or Yourself has convinced me that there is only one way to do effective missions. By mending the broken relationships among the poor. Starting with the most important relationship…Christ.
This is why I love working for Bethel Mission Outreach in Haiti. In my three years on staff I have had the great privilege of watching the ministry invest in people’s lives with the aim to mend every broken relationship with Christ around it. It might be the longer road, the slower road, and often times the hardest road to travel in missions but it is well worth the sweat and tears!
This blog post was written by Bethel Mission Outreach’s American Represenative Lindsey Hansen