Short Term Missions from the Perspective of a Long-term Missionary ~Joey Weed

Today’s blog article comes from Reach Out Orphanage Ministries’ Missionary Joey Weed.  Joey serves on the mission field in San Pedro Sula, Honduras along with his wife, Kellie, and their son Connor.  Joey is passionate about building relationships with children living in orphanages and about empowering local churches to take an active role in orphan prevention by serving families at-risk for abandoning their children due to poverty.  He is also passionate about creating opportunities for individuals to engage in meaningful ministry through short-term missions.  You heard from Joey in Giving Thanks In ~Joey Weed and A Season of New ~ Joey Weed.

I’m in no way considered to be a seasoned missionary. I’ve only been on the mission field now for close to 10 months. But in this time, I’ve been stretched in just about every way imaginable. It’s easy to see that God didn’t just take me overseas to help change a country, He also took me overseas to change me.

Since my family and I moved to Honduras, we’ve had the privilege of meeting many new people. We may never see some of these people again, but many others have become part of our extended family. Some live here in Honduras with us and share life with us on a regular basis.  I want to focus on the people we only had the chance to know for a short period of time.

One of the biggest lies I’ve heard here on the mission field is that short term missions are a waste of time and money. This couldn’t be more wrong. Yes, it takes a lot of money to bring a team overseas for a week. Yes, it takes a lot of planning to make things operate smoothly. Yes, the money spent on a team for a week could probably fund a single missionary for an entire year. And yes, there are times where the things accomplished might be less important than the things left undone. Even still, how could anything we do for the Lord be a waste of time and money? Will God not meet our every need (Philippians 4:19)?

Speaking from my little bit of experience, I have a whole lot of opinion on this. I’ve personally only been able to experience two teams through ROOM in the time I’ve been serving on the Honduran mission field, but I have also supported other teams through other ministries and organizations. Some things they all have in common are that they bring excitement, energy, encouragement and even new direction. Sometimes, it’s easy to get tired and lose focus. Unfortunately, just because we get tired, that doesn’t mean the enemy backs off so that we can have a breather. In these moments, it’s nice to have a group of volunteers that are refreshed and energized to capture the vision of what God is doing; people who jump in and get things done. Short term missions bring hard workers. Look at it like running: You have some people who run short distances really quick, and you have those that run long distances at a slower pace. They’re both doing what they’ve set out to do. In one way, it looks the same, but in another way, it’s much different.

Not only are short term mission teams able to accomplish a lot in a shorter amount of time, they become a long-term part of our team. Even at the end of the week when everyone goes home, what they experienced and the relationships they built built, goes back home with them to be shared with others who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, go. God begins to use a week’s worth of ministry to plant seeds. These seeds become long-term, life changing decisions. Overseas ministries typically require a great deal of support Stateside. What better way to build that support system than for God to use someone that has seen it, experienced it and has a heart for it? Not only that, but God may use this short-term mission experience to shape someone’s heart into a long-term ministry commitment.

 There are people everywhere who would help if they knew how. There are people who would go if they knew where. Testimonies from mission trips can impact the hearts of countless people and call them out of their comfort zone. Saying that short-term missions is a waste of time and money is like saying a good shepherd wouldn’t leave his flock to find the one lost sheep. It’s completely wrong to think that just one person isn’t worth every resource from another, if it means them finding Jesus. I’m a firm believer that God would do it all over again and send His Son, even if it was for one person!

To learn more about how ROOM empowers children and communities through the love of Christ, please visit www.makeroom.org

To learn more about the Weed Family missionaries, please visit:  https://supporttheweedsinhonduras.wordpress.com/ 

If Joey’s blog inspires you to get more involved in ROOM’s ministry, whether planning a mission trip, organizing a special event, or contributing in some other way, please email us at room@makeroom.org to get plugged in.  We can’t wait to hear from you!

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Let’s build a wall! ~ Ali B.

This week’s ROOM contributor is Ali B., our India Country Coordinator. Ali works tirelessly to bridge gaps for the children she came to know by name while serving as a missionary in India with Reach Out Orphanage Ministries. One of the cornerstones of ROOM’s vision is to ensure that the children we serve have a safe, healthy living environment. Read more from Ali to learn what that looks like in real life. 

Bethel Kids

While I was anticipating moving to India in 2013, I was mentally preparing to encounter poverty and lots of it.  Based on previous experiences in different countries, and even parts of the United States, I was ready to see children in the streets, families making their homes out of garbage, and sub-par living conditions.  I was expecting this- and I thought I was “ready” for it.

For the first few weeks of being on Indian soil, my anticipations and preparations served me fairly well.  I saw idol worship that broke my heart; children living in straw huts that were in worse condition then the cow’s huts; cardboard mats set up for beds in the railway station; and innumerable people suffering with sickness from curable diseases.  I saw these things, and while it broke me, I could handle these experiences as I leaned into Christ and His Word and related the injustices around me to a broken world.

I could handle these experiences until I moved into the place I would call home.

I arrived at Bethel Children’s Home about three weeks after being in India and I experienced something completely new.  Bethel is located in a beautiful campus surrounded by little mountains and open fields.  Bethel has a school and college located on their campus, along with their staff living quarters and children’s home. Spiritually, Bethel is well-off.  They know the one true living God and find their strength in Him. The children who live here have some food to eat every day.  Bethel has running water and electricity (well, about half of the time).

Bethel is a beautiful children’s home filled with the love of Christ.

However, the children at Bethel have struggled significantly with unmet needs.  From the time I first came to Bethel until now, ROOM has been able to help in a number of ways.  We fill in nutrition gaps by providing fresh fruit and protein.  We provide basic healthcare services and medicines.  We supply hygiene items.  We provided culturally-appropriate Gospel materials in the children’s first language.  We provided a safe place to play by building playground equipment.  We built sanitary bathroom facilities.  We provide school supplies, school uniforms and other education needs.  We provided durable, easy-to-clean bedding materials for each child.  I am so thankful for what the Lord has done through ROOM for these special children living in this special place!  While I celebrate this joyfully, I know there are still urgent, unmet needs.

At this time, the two top needs at Bethel are safety and building repairs.

SAFETY:  Bethel’s open campus is beautiful.  It gives the children ample room to play and run.  However, it makes Bethel a target for unwanted guests (both people and animals).  Years ago, Bethel was the target of Christian persecution.  This children’s home ministry was burned to the ground and, although no one was seriously injured (praise God), the buildings were destroyed.  In areas near Bethel, there are reports of gangs kidnapping children for terrible purposes like sex-trafficking and begging-rings.  Building a concrete wall around Bethel’s campus will protect the children and staff, as well as ensuring the children (the oldest are teenagers) do not leave the campus unsupervised.  It will cost approximately $10,000 to build this safety wall.

BUILDING:  The roof over the children’s bedrooms (both boys’ and girls’) is in poor repair.  The tin desperately needs to be replaced.  During this current rainy season, the leaks mean it is literally raining inside the kids’ bedrooms.  This makes it difficult for the children’s bodies to dry after walking to and from school in the rain.  It also creates standing water which attracts mosquitoes.  As a result, many of the children have fevers, coughs and diarrhea.  Several have been hospitalized with malaria.  It will cost approximately $5,000 to replace the leaking tin roof.

When I consider life at Bethel, I am tremendously overjoyed that each of these children are growing up in a Christian home.  They have food to eat.  They are receiving an education.  They are loved.

All of these things are great from the surface, until I began to live and invest in each life represented at Bethel, and I began to realize that God was asking me to pray for, and strive for, more for them.  Due to the priority of providing food, clean clothing and personal hygiene materials, health needs, education and Gospel materials… there are not enough financial resources to repair the roof, or build a safety wall. These children deserve to sleep in safe, dry bedrooms. They are worthy of living in a safe, secure campus. These are things that are important and matter in the eyes of Christ.

I have begun to see that, not only does God care for the needs of the one, but He also cares for the needs of the 70.  We have a chance to be a part of keeping 70 children safe from the rain and malaria-carrying mosquitoes by replacing the roof over the children’s dormitories.  We have a chance to build a safety-wall that will keep out people aimed at harming our children or robbing the campus.

Will you be a part of these children’s stories today?  Please visit A New Roof and Safety Wall RAZOO PAGE to learn more and to make a donation!

A good return for their labor~ Kellie Weed

This week’s ROOM contributor is Kellie Weed. You have heard from Kellie in her blogs Surrendering Perspective  and Claire’s Story . Kellie and her husband, Joey, are serving with ROOM Honduras in pivotal roles strengthening and developing ROOM’s Orphanage Care and Orphan Prevention programs. In today’s blog, Kellie highlights the importance of coming together and supporting one another. We are so thankful for Kellie and all she does to support our ROOM team and the children and families of Honduras!

 

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

I wrote out the details of “A Sunday to Remember” because I wanted to share about an awesome day of new cultural experiences; the Lord reminded me that the reason I was able to experience these special times is because He has surrounded me with a support system greater than I could have imagined. Recently the Lord is reminding me of His provision, even in ways I didn’t see necessary. I have my support system 1,500 miles away, but have realized the importance of friends in my life.

This past Sunday our family had the privilege of standing in unity with our friends as they professed their love for one another and committed their relationship and family to the Lord. This was not only our first Honduran wedding to attend, but we were chosen as the Padrinos (Best Man & Maid of Honor, and Connor was the Ring Bearer). The Padrinos are a couple to not only to be present as the witnesses, but also to provide emotional support and spiritual mentorship throughout the marriage. It was an honor to stand together with them on their wedding day and to truly call them friends as we walk alongside them in their marriage.wedding

We were also invited to a 16th birthday party with some friends in our neighborhood. We enjoyed great food fellowship with friends. The evening ended with a live mariachi band! Watching my pale, blonde hair and blue eyed boy dance his heart out to Spanish mariachi music was not only beautiful, but hysterical. The very next day we were able to take a large group of new friends to Iglesia Restauracion so they could see all that God is doing in this church. While we were spending time with the kids and introducing pastors from the States to the pastors here in Honduras, Connor decided he needed a nap. Thankfully the same friends that make us part of their family through celebrations, cradle my baby (yes, he will always be my baby) as he sleeps while we do ministry.

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As a child, some of your first friends are your cousins.  I remember carving pumpkins, hunting Easter eggs and wearing matching dresses with my cousins. The Lord has not only given me a great family that loves and supports us, but He also called my cousin to Honduras a few years ago. She’s a few hours south of us, but makes it a priority to visit us, encourage us and serve alongside us. It’s great to have her and her best friend (who happens to be one of our best friends, too) sharing the Gospel with the children we love and serve.

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Friendships make us stronger. Proverbs 27:17 tells us “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” The Lord has given me friends who invite me for coffee and listen as I pour out my heart. He’s provided friends that send me grand gifts like sunscreen from 1,500 miles away. He’s given me friends who volunteer to take us to the airport at four in the morning. He’s given me friends who encourage me, lift me up and most importantly stand with me in prayer. I am thankful for each experience, good and the bad, that the Lord gives me. But I am even more appreciative that He has given me a great support system through friendship near and far, new and old that carry me through.

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Oftentimes the Lord reminds me of great things, such as the importance of friendship, to not only lift me up, but to challenge me to search my heart in the same area. Have I been the friend that others need? Have I reached out to encourage others when the Lord has prompted? Have I been the iron to sharpen someone else? My challenge to you is what the Lord has challenged me with, are you the friend the Lord has called you to be?

 

Joey and Kellie are heading home to North Carolina tomorrow for a month to advocate for their work and recruit others to come alongside as a source of encouragement and accountability. If you are interested in having coffee or joining them at their BBQ, please email kyleandcassiem@makeroom.org for a schedule of events. 

 

If you are interested in becoming a financial partner with ROOM please visit makeroom.org to learn more about our ministry.  You will also find links and mailing addresses to support our work.