I came to Brazil with the idea that the American Church was going to help the Brazilian Church and not vice versa. I will call this mentality the enlightener mentality. The enlightener mentality was warned to me throughout the preparation week for Brazil. However, I still fell into the trap. Within the first week of being in Brazil, I was shown the truth.
The Lifeshapers and the Impact 360 teams had to do a presentation over a chapter of a book pertaining to a characteristic of God. The team I was on was given the chapter of God’s grace. Nonetheless, before Brazil, I did not even begin to understand the detailed complexity of grace. The Lifeshaper that was in our small group was named Douglas and he along with other Impacters showed me the exact redeeming grace that I never truly knew. They showed me, through a discussion over the chapter, the exact redeeming grace that God gives out to us.
They brought this new grace to me, wrapped in gentleness and application. They challenged me by bringing the truth to me. It caught me off guard and in need of debriefing. This came to bending of my walk-through Brazil. The bend was a changing of my enlightener mentality towards my true purpose in Brazil. No longer was I only there to bring theological knowledge to other Brazilians that I meet, but additionally, I was there to be a student sitting before the Brazilian Church eager to learn.
This enlightener mentality was a challenge to get past, not because there is a temptation to do it. It was difficult to tear down because it was easily looked past. I would fall into the way of thinking a blink after I forced myself out of it.
This certain mindset is something that I notice is a common theme in missions for the United States. We go to another country, offer resources to better the standard of living, and use this only as a tool to show the loving Gospel to those who have not heard it. Now do not get me wrong, these things are good. We just miss a big portion of the purpose of traveling across the world to show others God.
We miss God’s footprint.
We miss how God is working in the peoples that are in the mission field.
I mean you are on mission, not a conference. You are not supposed to learn anything on a mission trip, right? In Proverbs 18:15 it states, “Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insight.” We are meant to learn things, all the time. We are sponges even in our 90’s. That is how God intended for us to work, but we cannot stop there.
The big thing is to not make two worlds out of one. We need to bring breakthroughs we learn on extended trips away from home and bring them back to where we are from. These breakthroughs overseas are the missing jigsaw pieces that we lack in our homogenous body of Christ.