Monday, August 15, 2011

A Shift In Missions


There seems to be a shift underway and I'm not sure what exactly is going to come of it.

It's been on my mind and heart for several months lately, but seems to be compounded even in this past week.

The shift seems to be trending from handouts to hand ups and truly exploring the purpose of and reason for missions.

A Love146 intern put it in the most emotional, and therefore most mind remembering way for me this week in an article. She said, "Often, it seems as though short trips are more beneficial to the travelers than to the people at the “mission site.” I must admit, I have loved my own two short trips to Cambodia. I remember those two summers as times of spiritual growth and of getting a tiny taste of what it’s like to be totally outside my comfort zone. When I think about the way all of the wonderful, adorable children were crying as I left, however, I question the benefits of my trip. I had a great time but what did I put those kids through? Okay, maybe I gave them a week of fun games and singing but I also gave them one more reason to cry, one more reason to say goodbye, and maybe – although I sure hope not – one more reason to think that no one loves them enough to actually stick around."

Then there was a NY Times article discussing Uganda's maternal health care. Did you know that for every dollar we give, Uganda's domestic spending for health care has gone down 57 cents? Does that seem right?

That's what I mean.

It seems as though although we've intended to help, what we've actually done is hurt. By stepping in and handing things out we've actually taken away the motivation for others to do things for themselves; given them a reason for dependence instead of independence.

Here's one of the problems I see with the approach of handing things out to others that are common in our culture but not in their own - they can't sustain the new expectations or items themselves. There are so many around the world who need help. I'm sure the ways to hellp are endless. But if we're providing handouts to people and not providing them with a sustainable way to keep the change going on their own, it seems we are setting everyone involved up for frustration and discouragement.

If, on the other hand, we provide something that is not only tangible, but sustainable, they can make their own difference in their own environment and those who want to help can keep moving and to help provide sustainability to others who so desperately need it.

Delicate Fortress Creations is existing to help provide sustainability for those who are enriching their livelihood through dedicated and quality work. We believe in hand-ups, hands down.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts on these things.

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