I saw something on Facebook recently that irked me in a large way. It actually shocked me at how much the remark made by a stranger caused me to be so irate. I debated writing a comment in response, but how ugly does that become? A Facebook comment war is fun for no one and usually does more harm than good anyway.
So, here we are, I suppose? I blog post directed not at a single person, but at a single way of thinking.
You see, this isn't your typical high school he said/she said drama that has me so mad, but rather something of much greater importance. I see online all the time the arguments between political policies, personal beliefs, vaccines, etc. And when it comes to people advocating taking foreign missions on in their lives, there is always always always that one naysayer who is wont to make the comment that people in America are in need of domestic missions too.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with the idea of going on a domestic mission, I find great offense in being made to feel bad about going on a mission abroad instead of helping the people in my own country. That is an incredibly rude and selfish thing to say to someone who is traveling to another country to volunteer their time for a foreign people.
How dare you belittle my experiences.
I believe in foreign missions. I believe that traveling to a third world country while you are currently living in a first world country will change your perspective on life in ways that you had never imagined. We like to take plumbing, electricity and internet access for granted from our spots on our couches in our comfy living rooms. The ability to drink our tap water, take a shower, and flush our toilet paper down the drain are things that other people across the globe go without daily.
Even our homeless in America have better living conditions than a large population of the world.
Traveling to a third world country will help change your thoughts towards the people in your area. It will help raise an awareness in your being for helping those closest to you - so then, why not go travel the world?
And so, with this knowledge in my own life, that there are people out there who have quite possibly never taken a shower in their lifetime, how can I believe that they are not important? How can I let you sit in your comfy office chair behind the screen of your computer and let you tell me that I need to be taking care of the people in my own country first? Why is it that you somehow think I am ignoring the needs of my country and that I have no idea of the conditions here if I should express my desire to travel or live abroad? I think that is what make me the most mad - that you think I don't know about the people in my own country.
But that's where you're wrong. And I can't be silent while you bring up the fact that you believe domestic missions should come first and that I am in the wrong for not working in the local soup kitchen before I pack my bags for Honduras/Guatemala/wherever. If that is truly where your heart is, then go down to the soup kitchen yourself. You go and help those that have the least of the country and when I get back from my trip I might join you.
I have done both foreign and domestic missions. I have helped people in my hometown, in my home country, and in other parts of the world. And I am here to tell you that helping people wherever you are at should never ever be something to be ashamed about.
Don't let anyone ever make you feel bad about traveling to a foreign country to help out people who were not given the same life we were. And also don't forget that there are already lots of missions happening here in our great country to help those out here who have no voices.
You go wherever you feel led to go and encourage the naysayers to go with you and offer them a little perspective on their narrowed viewpoints.