“Was I called to love and care for the poor? Most definitely. Was I equipped to love and care for Costa Rica’s poor in respectful, sensible ways that went to the root of the problem? Like, not even close. As hard as I tried to apply all the feel-good Christian clichés we use as permission to descend on impoverished communities, I couldn’t keep pretending that it was actually accomplishing significant change.”
― Jamie Wright, The Very Worst Missionary: A Memoir or Whatever
I just finished reading “The Very Worst Missionary: A Memoir or Whatever” and my mind keeps replaying some of the stories the author mentioned in her book.
For most of my Christian life, I imagined myself doing mission work for the Church. I imagined working in very poor areas where the children looked terrible, sad and hungry. I envisioned arriving with food, clothing and aid to then go home with the sense of completing my christian duty. After reading this book, I realized how ignorant I was thinking that I would be successful in this work without any knowledge of the culture, language, need and lack of said country. I felt embarrassed for even assuming that if a country wasn’t living the American dream, they were impoverished.
The writer mentioned how Costa Rica was FILLED with many many missionaries then suddenly she realized that maybe she didn’t need to be there. Costa Rica had their own churches, pastors and even had their own bible seminaries. The community wasn’t in need of more missionaries, clothes, candy or toys. She mentioned that the community needed resources for domestic violence and drug dependence. Kinda like what every city in the United States needs.
I’m not saying mission work isn’t needed. I’m sure it is but in countries that lacks the GOSPEL. Probably in places where a missionary would be martyred.
I knew I was in the wrong when my idea of being a missionary was going to make ME happy and feel fulfilled. But, mission work is not meant for us to feel good. It’s meant for us to be obedient.
The truth became clearer when on my way to the supermarket I see the homeless. Why go to another country when clearly, in my face, the homeless here needs that same missionary energy.