16 November 2007

Welcome to the Jungle – Part 7

Jack and Jill met at college and got married…

Jack and Jill wanted to change the world…

Jack and Jill… less than a year out of college… sold everything…

Jack and Jill moved to Malawi, Africa…

Jack and Jill found out their first day that they had been lied to and there was no salary or ministry grant for the orphanage that they had moved to…

Last night I went out with my friend Mark to grab a few pizzas… Christine was at the hospital with his wife Abby who just gave birth to a baby girl… and we ran into the McDonalds…

They were having dinner with Jack and Jill…

Jack and Jill ended up staying in Malawi for a week… they had 2 options 1) go home 2) find something to do in Africa… Jill had done a semester in Uganda with Food for the Hungry and called up one of our friends who works with them… he knew of an orphanage that needed help here in Uganda… so after 7 days in Malawi they moved to Uganda…

Jack and Jill had no place to stay and were completely… shell-shocked… deer in headlights… what just hit me…

Fortunately our friend with Food for the Hungry took them to church this past Sunday where they met the Fibinachi family… the Fibinachis are on their way home to hopefully raise funds so they can come back… they invited Jack and Jill to house sit for the 2 months while they are away… small world…

Today is Jack and Jill’s 15th day in the Africa… they have exchanged countries, switched ministries and redirected their focus… some start…

Jack and Jill’s story does not surprise me… they are not the first people to find that they didn’t get what they paid for… or came for… I find it shocking how little people know about the country, culture, partners and ministry that they sold everything to moved to… to help…

I decided over a 2-week trip to move to Uganda… Christine was 7 months pregnant, eager to come and willing for me to decide where we would go… so 18 months after deciding to “look into missions” we were on the field…

Would you take 2 weeks to decide whom to marry?

Would you take 2 weeks to decide what to do the rest of your life?

Now I believe in being passionate, spontaneous and willing to take risks… but there is also room for some wisdom, prudence and patience when attempting to change the world…

I want to start a missionary half-way house… people can move in for a year to find if they are ready to assimilate into the country, culture, partners and ministry… or they find out the they have been institutionalized and need to move back to the US…

Some would probably move to a different area… some would probably join a different ministry… some would find different partners… most would come with a much different perspective… and many would discover that it wasn’t anything like what they had been promised…

But this probably wouldn’t work for everyone… but I think many people need to slow down and find out all the facts…

This last year we switched ministries… after the switch exactly 22 friends, family members and strangers have mentioned to me that they had some hesitations with our original plans and each expressed remorse for not saying anything… I don’t blame any of them… who knows if I would have listened or if I would have said anything it I were in their shoes…

But I have 2 suggestions:

1) To the missionary… beg people to give you a reason not to go and allow people to express concerns… better to hear before instead of after… slow down the decision process and involve as many counselors as possible… it is hard for people to stop your youthful enthusiasm… but give them a chance…
2) To those back at home… express your hesitations and concerns early… even though you are not the one going you have wisdom that young Jack and Jill’s and Jeff and Christine’s need to hear… even if it does hurt their feelings for a few days… it might save them years of pain and regret…

I think Jack and Jill will be okay… they are coming over for a late Thanksgiving on December 1st… who knows what could happen in 15 days…

4 comments:

Jeremiah & Angela Main said...

Jeff,

I’m with you. It seems that sometimes people will give more consideration to moving down the street then to moving onto the mission field.

I think that one of the biggest questions that needs to be asked of potential missionaries is “why?”

Why do you believe that God is calling you, beyond a shadow of doubt, to the mission field?

Why do you believe that you have been confirmed in this call?

Why do you believe God is calling you to the place you want to go?

Why do you believe that is the right ministry?

Why do you believe that is the right partnership (with follow teammates, missions agency, and national ministry)?

It seems that too many people are being allowed to make up this “call” on their own when in Acts 13 God spoke to the elders of the church in Antioch and told them of Paul’s call to missions and they confirmed it, not him.

Perhaps as a pre-requisite to your halfway house, you could have people thoroughly answer questions like that before they could even be allowed to take the halfway step.

geraldo said...

Hola dear jeff & Christine,
I beg your permission to enter and write on your blog, which may be only for close friends or relatives.
The reason is that I am visiting virtualy the countries and islands.
Until the present I had never visited a site in Uganda.
So I beg you please, if this does not steal your precious time to give a quick look on my little site.
For your attention, my thanks beforehand.
Kind regards from Brazil
Geraldo

James said...

since when is there mcdonald's in Uganda???

Teenietinyt said...

WOW...now there's a Thanksgiving story..!
Thank you JESUS for the house!