Tuesday, September 25, 2012


So this is the part where I collage together a few things that I have learnt from my travels to afar. Excuse how presumptuous it is that at 21 years old and after a mere 3 years experience of the 'missions' world I feel like I have a bank of knowledge. I write assured and excited that I have plenty more to learn but I do want to give voice to the smaller reflections which arose after time. To begin, I have found that it is better to be in a place for a longer amount of time than shorter (although perhaps this confident declaration has a tinge of being specific to how God has made me). You see, the longer you stay then your understanding of what is 'normal' gives way as a new culture begins to convince you, steal you and teach you. I remember being in India and thinking that 6 months couldn't last any longer. My journeys which followed after this are progressively getting shorter in their duration and I feel aware of God's intention show me that 'short' isn't quite long enough. It's too luxurious; too possible to sidestep around cultural expectations; too forgiving of not needing to make relationships with people and not learning the language. Frankly it's harder to be torn from wherever you geographically want to be in order to commit to a vague location. But I see now that there is such fruit to giving a place more of your time; being generous with your time! If the only reason was for making relationships alone, this argument ought still to stand. Along a similar theme, I find that it is better to work for a charity or organisation for a longer amount of time. In Mongolia we worked with an inspiring business which hires women with dignifying jobs in order to free them from lifestyles of prostitution. The first few weeks were ones filled with hearing of testimonies of how the women came to freedom and to faith. We got to watch the women work in skill and diligence and saw their creations of beautiful jewellery. Happy families. However, staying longer meant seeing beyond the blue skies. We saw conflict and deception and tears and regret. As someone who hopes to work towards the prevention of trafficking in the future I initially questioned why God was showing me this. I know now that I needed to see the reality of this future and have my naive perception of easy happy endings broken. I am so grateful to see how messy it gets when you work with people who are hurting, and grateful to understand a slight bit more of the cost it takes to invest into a charitable organisation. God willing, there will be many lessons to follow.