Pastor IJ: Why Another Mission Trip?!

“What are you actually DOING?”

“Just send money instead.”

“Why South Africa? Why not your own backyard in America?”

etc. etc. etc.

These are all valid points and thoughts that I myself have had, and still do, when it comes to the topic of “Mission Trip”, but especially Short Term Missions.

Recently, I committed to going to South Africa with Metro’s Singles Ministry. I’ve thought about this a lot and wanted to share THREE reasons “why another mission trip” and why I believe THIS mission trip is separate from the rest:

1. Short term, LONG Investment

The word “zimele” in Zulu (isiZulu) means “To Stand On One’s Own Two Feet”. Zimele’s mission is to confront the root causes of poverty by uplifting women living in poverty in rural South Africa, and providing small business skills training, and financial literacy programs. These women believe in THEIR ability to work their way out of poverty, taking what they HAVE, and building on it. Zimele women do not rely on handouts, but have been empowered to lift themselves out of poverty.

Zimele USA is an organization that was founded in 2007 by Pastor Peter Ahn after a trip to South Africa where he visited an orphange. During that trip, he met several people who shared a vision for confronting poverty through self-reliance and community development. Metro Community Church has had the privilege of partnering with this organization for over 12 years!

Which brings me to the question…

What am I actually DOING?

Although I, the individual, will only be staying for a short period of time (September 21-30) and cannot physically make much of an impact, I, a representative of the collective whole of Metro Community Church, have been and will continue to invest into this wonderful vision that God has bestowed upon us.

This is not about painting the same house as previous years or making another shed that someone else in that community could have done better making, but this is about the LONG-TERM investment and seeing what WE, Metro Community Church, have been supporting for over 12 years!

2. Partnership: WITH thou, not FOR thou

Just send money instead.

As stated before, Zimele is about self-help and uplifting women by enabling them to believe in THEIR ability to work. This is not about what I can do for them nor throwing money at people, but this is what WE can do together as the body of Christ.

Our team will be going to observe what our church’s LONG-TERM investment has done (and is going to do), and educate and be educated on what WE can do together in fighting injustices of poverty, sexism, and much more.

As Martin Luther King Jr. stated: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to Justice everywhere.”

3. Education, Education, EDUCATION!

Why South Africa? Why not my own backyard in America?

In her book, Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement, Angela Davis makes a profound statement about identifying struggles with others as your own struggles, in order to make a greater change for the human race: “It is in collectivities that we find reservoirs of hope and optimism.”

This very hope of change in the collective is what we need to be constantly reminded of. I cannot make changes in America, if I do not identify with others around the world as having the same struggles of fighting against systems of oppression.

South Africa has a very rich and painful history of the constant struggle toward freedom, much like the struggles we see in America.

We need to learn from one another as a HUMAN race and find commonality in our brokenness.

With this being said, I encourage ALL of us to have a missional mindset. The world is constantly changing and our understanding of furthering God’s Kingdom must go further than what our forefathers have accomplished. We must think and re-think what the future of missions will look like.

Please join US in furthering the Kingdom of God, both globally in South Africa, and locally here in the United States of America.

Submitted by IJ Hur

Photos by Dave Yoon

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