There are a lot of missions organizations out there. I just discovered a site that has some dozen different trips to choose to be part of this year.
When I look at these sites and these missions organizations I know that Capturing Courage is not the same, is quite unique, yet I’ve had a hard time articulating the difference.
Released into the international aspect of our ministry 1 1/2 years ago it only took a couple of months to know that we were not going to be taking ‘teams’ overseas in any way.
Let me try to explain why.
For starters, we stay with the people. Jesus told his disciples to enter the towns, stay with whom will keep you and eat what they feed you. This is what we do. In each place where we go we stay with a family. We are not looking for nice per se, need no hotels, just simple and safe.
Doing this enters us into immediate interdependence. Sure I may be there to pray over and train and to facilitate an intimate encounter with the Lord, but I am dependent on those who keep me. In this we are mutually coming under each others leading and guiding.
Fellowship doesn’t stay at the surface. It goes much deeper.
Because I’ve gone by myself on all of my trips thus far, I’ve entered into relationship with those I’ve been privileged to be with. There is no other Canadian nearby, the easy comforts of a persons familiarity are not right at hand, and this forces real dynamics between myself and those I am with.
Our primary goal is building relationships. In fact, our entire ministry is dependent on the relationships we build. No relationships, no ministry.
Investing in each other has us looking ahead together in each other. I’m not sure how that can completely be done in a team setting. Can you imagine moving six or more people through a crowded city street, or onto a taxi, or via boda-boda’s into the villages and to sit with the elderly. I can’t.
Which brings me to the other thing that is different. We move as they move. Capturing Courage uses the same transit that our hosts use. In fact, our hosts are the ones arranging all the transportation.
We are entering into their worlds. We are not bringing ours with us, rather we do life and our time there in the same way they do. This is our goal.
The world over we have this prevailing idea that more is better. But I am convinced that less gets the job done far more. With less of us we connect more. With less of us we fit in better. With less of us the conversations are richer.
It is similar to years back when I would take my kids to Science World. Here in Vancouver we have a science playground of sorts where an entire day can easily be had. And there was a marked difference in the ways we could spend a day at Science World.
When I and just my five kids went, we found that we took our time. We went from area to area at our own speed and pace. We delved deep into the areas that struck us that day. My interactions were with my children, each one in turn and as we conversed together.
Every so often we had this ‘great idea’ to go with another family. Another mom and her kids would join us, and it was never as good a day. For all of a sudden I’m talking with this other mom more than with my own children. The conversation that did happen with my children was brought down to the level of giving instructions, issuing warnings, calling and commanding.
Sure I loved visiting with my friend, but all in all, these were far less superior days. The quality cannot even be compared.
Instead of moving at our own pace and entering into deep discussion and learning that was not rushed, we instead gave way to being in sync, organizing the children’s needs (who needed to go to the bathroom now?) with our conversation about planning and strategy and other such sundry details.
As much as I loved the idea of going with another family it was just never what we imagined it to be.
And I am pretty sure that moving a team through a foreign land would amount to the same. All the shuttling, strategizing, planning, organizing, timing, checking in, double checking, and more and more, certainly is not what we at CCI are called to do.
We must think very carefully about what the actual goal and the job is that we are taking on.
For instance, get a job in women’s fashion at a local department store as a ‘customer relationship manager’ and you will be folding and hanging clothing all day long. Is that really the job you wanted?
If a missions organization wants to pay thousands of dollars (actually charge you thousands of dollars) to move a team through airports, and in vans and through villages, care-taking the team, managing the team, providing for the team, solving problems within the team, ensuring the team has something to do, maintaining equilibrium within the team, and so on, then go for it.
But maybe we don’t want to call it missions so much as a grand team experience. Lets get real.
My niece recently said to me that when she did a missions trip to Mexico a few years back, that she never once interacted with a local Mexican person. So, I may be new to this scene, but there is something about this that is not okay. In fact, there is something about this that is very bad.
Having said all that, there is an organization based out of South Africa and they explicitly say, we do missions trips so that western youth might see other world realities. This is great. They are sure of their mandate and are stating it explicitly. Way to go for them. Because here the goal is to manage a team, grow a team, develop individuals to work within that team. This is honest. This is clarity.
It is hard to find clarity in anything we do in life. Even more so the rather nebulous arena of ‘helping’. What exactly might that be anyway! Well at CCI we enter into relationships and into life, into interdependency and mutual blessings.
There is nothing so grand as walking out of an international airport completely dependent on one person to be there to receive you. Nothing so amazing as to put one’s safety and care into another’s hands and guiding, “You lead the way, I’ll follow.” Little else compares to humbly receiving and sinking into the one family bed that has been prepared for you as your recover from your flight.
Nothing like receiving the jug of water that has been warmed for you that you might bathe. Nothing like falling asleep to the low sounds of the family conversing from bed to bed as they settle for the night. Nothing like your host following to the toilet (a pit toilet/outhouse) to stand guard since it is now dark outside.
It is these intimate adventures through life that bond us to each other. And it is out of these types of dependent interactions whereby we settle into each other, acknowledge each other and can then turn together looking forward committing to the future together.
At CCI it will never be about ‘here let us come help you’. Rather it is all about ‘we see the amazing strength and passion of your life, we see the work you are doing day in and day out, unceasingly and with great faithfulness, how might we encourage you?’
It’s as simple and profound as that.
At Capturing Courage we are simply finding friends we never knew, family we hadn’t yet met, and colleagues we are simply privileged to enter into the work alongside.
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