But When Do We Start?
When you think of short-term mission trips, what comes to mind? Maybe sleeping on the floor, no a/c, culture shock, and work, work, work. Sometimes that picture is right on the money, but sometimes when you come to learn and serve best, it might not look like “roughing it.” You might even have a hard time knowing when the “real work” begins.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: sometimes serving and volunteering involves more than nose-to-the-grindstone tasks. Sometimes it’s sharing a meal and a conversation with a local ministry partner. Sometimes it’s catching up with a shopkeeper you’ve met in years past. Sometimes it’s exploring a neighborhood and piecing together a better understanding of everyday life as you watch and listen to the people of that area. And sometimes serving involves sitting still and being present and ready and willing.
To be totally honest, the “real work” begins long before you arrive. Restoration Journey teams actually start “working” months before as they train for a trip, praying, getting to know the culture, and confronting and tearing down their own biases and expectations. Meanwhile, our staff works day in and day out to navigate better ways for our teams to step into what’s happening here so that they can learn and experience serving on a different level. And more importantly, God’s work is happening and has been before our teams even had the notion to come to New Orleans and serve with Restoration Journeys. We are a handful of tiny threads in a much larger tapestry, a beautiful picture of the Lord’s love and heart for the people of NOLA.
So if you ask a team if they’re ready to begin “really working” once they arrive in New Orleans, it’s our hope that they tell probably tell you about how they have been “working” for a good long while already. And the Holy Spirit has been at work here for even longer.
Pray for our Restoration Journey teams and our staff. Ask God to give them and us sensitivity to what He is already doing here in New Orleans so we can continue to be a part of His work and so that like Paul said in Colossians 3: 17, whatever we do, we will “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”