Thursday, April 3, 2008
First of all, ten more bonus points to whomever is currently watching "The Perfect Storm." Ten points to my poor kindred spirit who is also being subjected to this film. And then minus ten points for watching it in the first place: Mark Wahlberg should duck his head in shame over his cinematic choices (until The Departed, obviously) and George Clooney should probably stick to movies written by the Coen brothers or ones in which he's ridiculing the government. Also this movie has big waves, which I don't like...thus i blog.
So my friend Ryan Supak, the infamous instigator (I say this only with love, sir), asked Naseem and me an interesting question, one that I think he and I have actually discussed while I was working at Taft:
"Do you feel like this excursion will be a worthwhile use of resources?In other words, is it doing "the most good" to send educated, well-heeled people from a first-world country to the place, or would the money/energy have been better spent hiring some natives to run the orphanage?What can you (and we, in general, as USians) bring to the table that natives can't? Do we really know what's best for poor people?"
Scotty Peckler, a fellow Ecclesian and volunteer here in Roatan, has actually beat me to the punch and posted, in my opinion, a really great answer to this question; even so, I'd like to make a few brief comments. This is a completely legitimate question and a tricky one to address but I believe that this must be a worthwhile use of resources: the resources I have to offer are availability, flexibility, a genuine desire to seek purposefully a wholehearted commitment to serving the Liberating King, and, as trite and sappy as this may sound, love. To believe that these resources are not being utilized in a worthwhile way is to suggest that God is only half-heartedly using us. Do I think that I have anything to offer that Hondurans cannot? Absolutely not. I would never say that Americans know what's best for poor people; I wouldn't even say the Church knows what's best for poor people, but the fact of the matter is Jesus has called us, as Christians, as American Christians, as Honduran Christians, to, as Scotty has said, live missionally and holistically, thus we serve overseas where we are called. We love poor people, and while there may not seem to be any clear and easy answers of how this looks in a practical way, we must trust that God is using for His Glory and for the Kingdom the paltry offerings we put forth. What is at the heart of this is obediance to a King.
Anyway, I hope this is a satisfactory answer to a great question. I've struggled a lot with trying to set myself at ease about ideas revolving around "missions." How much of it is legitimate, how much comes from an authentic desire to serve and not a selfish desire to earn the proverbial jewels in one's celestial crown? Or impress our church friends at the Sunday potluck? And how much good does short term mission work do? It's a difficult thing to wrestle with. Like I said, I don't think that wealthy, well-educated Americans and WASPs will be solving any of the world's major issues anytime soon or that the aforementioned people group can bring anything to the table that impoverished, third-world citizens cannot (except maybe time and money, eh?), but I have to believe that God redeems any authentic, loving service performed in His name.
So, meanwhile back at the ranch, today was pretty hellacious as far as schooling goes. Both Naseem and I had difficulty with our boys and about every ten minutes, there was a crying toddler or a ten year old on the verge of a meltdown. Everyday Nolan gets irate with me because I make him do English work, but as soon as the twenty minutes are over, we get to be buddy-buddy again. Today, however, I got so fed up with him being disrespectful, I ended lessons early, which I'm pretty sure shamed him and he tried to shower me with cuteness:
Nolan: Wait, Alison, can we do the vowel cards again?
Me: No, Nolan, you were not very nice or cooperative so I don't really feel like working with you anymore.
Nolan: But-but-'ice' has a long i sound and 'fish' has a short i sound! Will you come to geography with me?
Me: No, Nolan, I need a break from children.
Later, though, we did arts and crafts together and I made him a sweet wizard hat to show him that I forgave him, and all was well.
So school was a nightmare of epic proportions, but in the second half of the day, things picked up a little: we baked the world's ugliest cake for Debra, whose 19th birthday is tomorrow, ate a lot of icing, went to the beach, laughed at just about everything, enjoyed a lovely golden sunset, reached the pinnacle of our sugar high and now have subsequently crashed in front of The Perfect Storm.
A lot of other hilarious things happened today (including Naseem and I being given nicknames by one of the kids: she was White Monkey and Gollum before cajoling David into settling with Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, and I was Pocahontas) and maybe I'll get energy to write about them at another point, but as for now I'm sick and tired and have somehow been sucked into watching the stellar on-screen chemistry between Wahlberg and Clooney. Signing off for now. Peace.