Two years ago, God blessed me with the opportunity to travel to Ghana, West Africa. My dear friend, Dana, had recently opened a maternity home for teen mothers in the city of Teshie – a village near Accra.
It was all very last-minute but through my husband’s conviction, I agreed to go. I wasn’t sure how I was going to serve but I knew I was going to serve in some capacity.
To say it was humbling would be an understatement.
I learned not only about their beautiful culture but about myself as well, and when I returned to the United States, I was confused.
How do I translate what I saw in Ghana to the obscene wealth here in the U.S.?
I once read the words (and I can’t recall who wrote them) “you cannot unsee the seen.” What I saw was poverty at a level I couldn’t even imagine.
- Children who were insecure about food.
- Teen boys playing soccer with an inflated pink balloon because they didn’t have a ball.
- Early teen girls impregnated at too young of an age and oftentimes, as a result of rape.
- Filth that would be unacceptable in the United States.
No. We can’t unsee the seen.
Yet it took me close to a year to begin to open my eyes to what was right in front of my face.
While we may not be a third world country, we certainly have our fair-share of poverty – and some of the worst cases of poverty are in the wealthiest neighborhoods. There is very much such a thing as being poor in spirit.
While I still long to serve in Africa, the reality is, I have three young children who need me to be stateside. I’m not in a season of life where I can regularly travel to this beautiful continent, but I can integrate what I learned during that trip into everyday life.
Rejoice in suffering. Encourage one another. Trust God to provide for your needs. Smile more often. Be patient. Water is a precious resource – use it wisely. Kindness will take you further than a short tongue. You don’t have to indulge every craving. It’s not all about you.
Friends, we don’t need to go on elaborate mission trips—though these are wonderful and I’m in no way discouraging you from doing so—we have a mission field right under our noses each day when we walk out the door. God can use every single last one of us to glorify Him and spread the news of His son.
And we don’t have to walk door-to-door to distribute pamphlets, or stand on a corner with a bullhorn, or incessantly talk about Jesus in every one of our conversations.
Show. Don’t tell. A simple writing rule that really translates well to life in general. And when we teach this to our children? We create backyard missionaries who consistently view the others around them as their mission field.
Join me in learning about Project Home Indy?
Project Home Indy supports teen mother’s need for a safe and healthy environment to encourage individual and family success. In addition to extended-stay residential services in a safe, structured and supportive environment, Project Home Indy offers each teen a comprehensive assessment designed to determine the appropriate type and intensity of services needed for her. PHI also offers programs and activities in the areas of life skills training, healthcare, and education either internally or through community partnerships in order to promote self-sufficiency for our residents and their children
Located in Indianapolis, Indiana, Project Home Indy serves up to five teen mothers and their child(ren). A 13-member Board of Directors governs Project Home Indy with expertise spanning healthcare, social services, development, legal, accounting, technology, non-profit management. An Executive Director manages the daily operations of the organization.
Love this. This is how I’ve been feeling convicted too. We work with a home for children in Uganda and I’ve often felt pulled to relocate to Africa. I also have young children (3) and my hubby and I just don’t feel specifically called right now to live there… though we have been burdened with the plight of all the lost people around us. We live in a fairly affluent area (hey, we’re the poor kids on the block) and yes, we see a LOT of spiritual poverty and even children who are neglected for the sake of jobs, hobbies, and other distractions. I love the idea of being intentional about being a local missionary… it is exactly what the gospel calls us to. Thanks for this! Cass from – http://www.theunpluggedfamily.com
Wow–I think it’s so great that you had this experience…I always wonder what it would be like. And Africa! Wow. I can imagine that being SO life changing…and heart wrenching. Thanks for sharing–and also about Project Home Indy! :)Aloha