This post continues the story begun in Signs & Wonders, Why Haiti?, and What Is Enough?
I have very, very little experience with anything to do with mission work. When I was working as the Campus Ministry Coordinator at Waldorf College for the last couple of years, one of my duties was to plan a mission trip during spring break (service is a very big and important part of the mission of Waldorf College). I thought "great! That will be fun!" Then I thought, "what on earth am I going to do? I have never even gone on a mission trip as a participant. And now I am in charge of planning one?"
Luckily, I thought to contact my sister-in-law, who was one of the founders of The Hope Center in Kansas City, MO. She was able to put me in touch with someone who worked there and I was able to bring a group of people there to help them with some behind-the-scenes projects that they had been wanting to get done for about two years. During our few days there, we learned more about poverty than we probably cared to ever know, and our eyes, hearts, and minds were opened to the reality of the poverty that existed just five short hours from where we'd come. (To read more about the experience, see page 10 of the Waldorf College Alumni Magazine from Spring 2011).
And so the email exchange with Andy about Haiti led me to think about mission and vocation, which, of course, with such an emphasis on them at Waldorf, made perfect sense. At first, my thoughts were of a somewhat depressed nature; as I thought about what Andy had done in Haiti and looked at the pictures of Haiti he had on Facebook, I felt very disconnected from the world and wondered what I’d ever done or could possibly do to make a difference like that.
But what I learned through working at Waldorf (and taking the “Religion and Career Values” class for fun when I was pregnant with my second son--yes, I think taking college classes is a fun way to spend time) were the ideas of multiple callings and not necessarily needing to have some big, grandiose plan to change the whole world. By not devoting my life to one specific thing, I know that I am freed up to do many different things that God throws my way, and I actually really like the variety of that. I’ve been in monotonous jobs and couldn’t stand that they were always the same thing all the time. If I am faithful, I can affect just my small part of the world, even if I don’t get to see any big results. I may not see any small results either, for that matter.
In the article I linked to above, I quoted the CEO of The Hope Center, Chris Jehle, as saying “we
will never sit under the tree of the seeds that we plant.” I didn't remember that quotation until I looked up the article for this post, but it is still relevant to me right now, right here, today. I know I have planted seeds in places, and there may be places that I have planted seeds without knowing it, and I will never know how those seeds will grow and thrive.
Another thing that Andy said was "I think the more
involved you get in a cause and/or a place the more you realize you could be
doing...and unfortunately, could often become should, at least in
our guilt-ridden mind's eye."
Isn't it true? We often feel as if we could and should do more, especially when there are so many needs out there in the world. But none of us can do it all (and being a person who often ends up being too busy, it has taken me a long time to realize this) and there may be seasons in our lives for certain things. This doesn't mean we should ignore needs that we see just because it "isn't our time" or "someone else will do it" and use that as an excuse (though I really wouldn't put it past myself to do so), but we should realize that we can't do everything we might think we should do.
Are you wondering what you could or should do?
Start small. Plant some seeds.