Sunday, 27 January 2013

Something's Not Quite Right

Four of the high school students from my church and two from work are off on short term mission trips with their school this week. The trip is 10 days in length, so it's very short term.

I've been talking a bit with some of the kids going, as well as a couple of the parents. Some things I like: one mom told me about the mission prep classes, and how her son had to write about what being a Christian meant, how to give his testimony, someone who had impacted is life. This is good stuff.

There are too many things, however, that bother me. Most if it has to do with the purpose of the trip. When I talk to the students, they talk about things like building houses, interacting with kids at an orphanage, being involved with a sports ministry. None of them talk about bringing the gospel to the unsaved. Most of it sounds like regular volunteer trips that could be done by any secular school.

When the parents ask for prayer, it centers around their children. Now, I'm good with prayers for safety. I totally understand that they are sending their children into a foreign country, most of them for the first time. The rest of the prayer requests, though, bother me. They want prayer that this trip will have a great impact on their children, that their lives will be changed. They do not ask that their children will bring the gospel to the lost, or that God will do a mighty work in the unsaved.

This is wrong. A mission trip is not supposed to be about the missionary. It's supposed to be about the recipients of the missionary's message.

Listen: if it's all about the children, don't send them to some foreign country for 10 days. Instead, get them involved regularly in volunteer work in their own city. Get them learning to reach the lost and needy around them.

Also, why the foreign country? I find it a bit suspect that all the mission destinations are places where it's hot with nice beaches. Why not bring the kids up north, maybe to the reserves where there is great need? That way, they can go more than once through the year.

The more I hear about these school mission trips, the more concerned I am. It seems to be too much about the people going and that's not right.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Why Visit New Zealand?

1. They don't eat their enemies anymore. Cannibalism has been banned for many, many years.

2. It's beautiful. Seriously: anyone who has seen The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings knows that.

3. I'm pretty sure the Shire is somewhere in New Zealand. After watching The Hobbit, I've decided that I want to live in the Shire.

4. Sheep. They're remarkable stupid and not as cute and fluffy as they should be, but I still like sheep, especially after reading A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.

5. Blogger's spell check can't handle Zealand. It wants it to say "zeal and," "zeal-and," or "Dreamland." I like the third choice. It makes New Zealand sound magical.

6. This:

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Another Sunday Post

Honestly, I do intend to write more often. I have stuff to say, and now that work has settled down to manageable, maybe I'll have time as well!

Our senior pastor, as you may or may not know, has retired. His last Sunday was the end of December; we had the kids all go up at the end and we all gave the benediction together (from Leviticus; Pastor Lyle did it so often that everyone had it memorized). Then the pastor and his wife managed to hug all the children, I think. They're still at the church, but now Pastor Lyle can rest.

All of this means that our young associate pastor is now doing the entire service. This is his third Sunday on his own and he's doing a good job. Last week he led communion and we decided that our baby pastor was all grown up now!

Today we almost had a fight in my Sunday School class. We were talking about guarding your hear and being careful about what influenced you. We got to being careful of what you read and I asked them what type of books might be a bad influence. Someone said The Hunger Games and someone else protested and there would have been trouble but I stopped them and told them that I wanted types of books, not titles, and that everyone could have his or her own opinion on specific titles.

Work is better and now I have to get going on schoolwork. I'm behind where I should be, and it doesn't help that everything is due on the same day. I do much better with deadlines. Also, the professor approved all three of my potential topics for the major paper so I still don't know what I'm writing about!

And on that note, something to make you smile:

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Sunday Update

Sunday school started this week. I wasn't teaching; it was a missionary week with the other teacher. She taught them about Wilfred Grenfell, a missionary to Labrador in the late 1800s and early 1900s. My small elf was on nursery duty, so I was alone in church. It's amazing how much better I can focus without that little distraction!

She, by the way, doesn't really want to be known as a small elf. I tried leprechaun and hobbit, but she doesn't like those either. I'm open for suggestions.

This afternoon I went with a friend to see Les Miserables. It was really, really good. It's on the short list of movies that I plan to purchase one day.

Next week will be rather long. At some point I need to focus on homework.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Sunday Stuff

We started Galatians today. Most of the sermon was background about the situation at Galatia. Eventually we got through the first five verses. My small elf was taking some notes. She started with "The Galatians didn't have Romans in their Bibles." I explained that they didn't have the New Testament at all and she was surprised. Then I pointed out that when Paul wrote to the Galatians, he was writing part of the New Testament. She understood then. Her picture was of Paul writing the letter while thinking about the people in Galatia. She scribbled out the mailbox once I told her that he couldn't mail the letter; someone would have to deliver it.

Sunday school starts next week. I've been enjoying the break. I have managed to write the next few lessons so I'm ready to go. Someone asked me what I'm going to teach them next year. I should have that planned already? I'll worry about that in the summer.

It's Epiphany today, so I think it's still okay to play a Christmas song.