Practical Faith and Missions

 

Kelsie Fields is an OSU student with a degree focus in International Studies and she is now interning at Relā for the summer.  Kelsie’s internship is made possible thanks to the generous support of two local businesses:  Sequent, Inc., an HR outsourcing and consulting firm and MT Business Technologies, Inc., a third-generation office and print solutions firm.  One of Kelsie’s primary projects revolves around Relā’s often unknown work in the Dominican Republic.  Read on to find out more about Kelsie’s heart for world missions and how you can get involved too!

 

by Kelsie Fields

At the heart of Relā is practical faith—a faith bigger than our actions or our habits—a faith flowing through everything we do, whether we be at work, home, or elsewhere. A part of living out our faith is engaging with the world around us, and engagement is powerful because through it, we learn. When we step outside of our comfort zones, we experience a change, and that change allows us to be better leaders, and more importantly, better lovers of Jesus and others.

This fall, Relā is taking a group of people from the Columbus area on a short term mission trip to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. As many of you know, Relā’s Executive Director Harvey has been taking trips there for years, and these trips have had a profound impact on his life. We hope you will choose to be a part of this trip, but more importantly, we hope you will see the important link between Relā and this endeavor. Mission Emanuel aligns with the mission of Relā because it embodies leading in a practical way. This missions trip fulfills the physical needs of the community and empowers local leaders to make lasting change.

International short-term mission trips often receive criticism, and with good reason. Sometimes they are filled with week-long, shallow relationships and unskilled workers causing more harm than good. However, I truly believe there is more to the story, especially for Mission Emanuel, and here’s why—

Mission Emanuel has been working in the community for over 20 years in partnership with Dominican leaders who handle on-the-ground operations. Mission Emanuel provides tangible examples of Jesus’ love to the people of Santo Domingo through not only churches, but also through schools, medical clinics, a women’s co-operative, a water purification plant, and more. Mission Emanuel makes lasting change because it realizes that physical needs are important too. We are earthly beings, and Jesus understands this because he too was an earthly being. If you’re like me, you may wonder why God hasn’t eliminated global poverty, and I’m sure like me, you don’t have an answer. But what I do know is that in the meantime, we are here, and we can make a difference.

Not only does international missions provide an avenue to help tackle this issue of global poverty, but also it creates a change in us that is permanent. Once you’ve seen true global poverty, you can’t unsee it.  Once you’ve learned what people in other countries endure to survive, you can’t unlearn it.  And this simple truth has made all the difference in my life and the development of my passion for global poverty. When we travel abroad, we are taken out of our American bubble, and our eyes are opened to the world around us and the people that live in it. It provides us the opportunity to experience things we simply might not ever encounter in the United States, and once we really experience them, the effect is irreversible. By experiencing another culture, even for just a week, we are able to think critically about the way we interact with others, both abroad and at home, and form deeper, more meaningful relationships with people who are different from us. This change is significant, because if you think about it, most people are different from us. That’s the beauty in it all. International mission trips give us a greater understanding of the world around us and the people that live in it. By gaining this global competency, we are better able to serve our neighbors here in Columbus.

I hope you will choose to join us on this adventure, and if not, that you will be inspired to engage with your faith in new ways. International mission trips make a difference, but so do our daily lives, and we encourage you to seek opportunities to love Jesus and others right where you are.

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” Romans 12:1

 

We will be hosting an information session for the 2016 trip to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Tuesday, June 28th at 7PM at 5760 Kempton Run Court (43235). We hope to see you there! To RSVP or if you have any questions or would like more information, please email me (Kelsie Fields) at fields.436@osu.edu.

 

 

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