The Unfundamental Conversion

When Missions Leaves My Heart Raw

April 3rd, 2014 | Posted by Lana Hope in Missions

I got an email from a dear friend I worked closely with overseas, and all I can do is weep because I feel so detached from it all.

As a child, my image of God was that he would heal and rescue the world. I had a rough childhood – much more dsyfunctional and rough than I’ve expressed on this blog. But it was always the fact that I could hear God telling me that he would use me and heal me that kept me going.

Being in the missions world pumped my desire for the move of God. We could sing, “Let your glory fall in this place. Let it go forth from here to the nations” and really be apart of the “nations” aspect. In Cambodia this group of local Christians would wake up and meet every day at 6:30 a.m. The people would place their hands on a map of each providence, and weep and weep for the blood that was shed in their country and ask God to heal their land. And if you’ve ever been to Cambodia, you would understand the desperation of that cry. But it was that desperate cry that grasped my heart to keep praying and believing that the walls of sex slavery and prostitution would fall.

And now I am clear across the world where it is cold instead of miserably hot. Instead of Buddhism, I’m in a secular culture who barely believes in miracles. Instead of a culture where pirated movies are sold in the store and 10s of motorbikes cram into a single lane, I am in one of the most expensive and regulated cities of the world.  The internet has taken it’s toll on me. It feels so silly and trival compared the horrors I saw. I want action.

But yet as you know, my heart is on overload, and I don’t know where, if at all, I can find my way in Asia again. It starts with the fact that I’m done evangelizing the world. I’m done worrying about people’s salvation. I’m done using abuse as an excuse to take away kid’s culture and religion.  And sometimes I don’t know what the hell we’re doing in other people’s countries

But there’s more – this is not really about the church. This is about my heart. My heart can’t handle the cycle of abuse and all the kids in brothals and all sex shit and all of the slums and desperate cries. Some of the best mental health professions have worked with my children, but yet they have still ended back in the streets.

Nothing exposes the limits of humanity when we face how little our mental health professons have really accomplished. And you can say the west is more progressive than the east, but it’s not true. Mentally ill kids in America are using knives to kill people. If by some miracle a professional is able to help a specific troubled person overcome violence, such as one of the kids I worked with, the person is still often like a walking zombie, depressed and disheartened. Keep in mind, I worked with severe cases, but the severe cases expose the rawness of it all.

I’ve realized that should I go back to Asia, realistically I’ll be picking the same person up over and over. 

Sometimes I just want to throw my hands and scream what the freakin heck. Somehow I have a whole lot less faith here in Canada than I did in Asia. In Asia I had no time to contemplate it all. I just worked my ass off picking people up over and over. Here I’m detached, I’m either too numb to feel God or I’m not desperate enough. Either way, faith is a lot harder in this part of the world.

But I remember the faces, and I talk to my friend on the phone, and I think about grad school and the internet. And I know that a child is worth more than any freakin’ books.

Dang, Asia, you draw people until they can’t leave.

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  • Michelle

    I’ve spent most of my adult life teaching adjudicated kids who were expelled from their regular schools. After a while, I started thinking that simply planting seeds has to be enough. It has to be, because that’s all we can really do. Love can go a long way, even though a child’s path may be strewn with thorns and rocks for years to come. Thanks for stopping by my blog — I’m enjoying reading yours!


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