Most of the missions / giving / church / ministry projects I do turn out very well. I aim for 1 major mission project a year and several small projects each year. If I’m feeling rather rich, I’ll do more, if I’m actually financially poor, I have to cut back and do less, but I always do something – even if it means cutting back, for instance not having a car for a year, cutting the cable, etc.
Some of the major projects can include digging a fresh water well for a village in a 3rd world country or sponsoring a 12 month mission trip. A smaller project would be sponsoring a missionary to go on a 1-2 week trip, making sure they have enough money and supplies to reach as many with the gospel as possible. One of my favorite missions project included this one where a team of missionaries would go into remote villages in India and setup a makeshift portable movie theatre and play a movie called the Jesus Film. It’s a film about the life of the Lord and the purpose is so that many people will give their life to Him. This isn’t as simple as it sounds.
My friend Wiebke went on this one where a cruise ship was converted into a ‘mission ship’. It traveled around parts of the world for 2 years (talk about a long mission trip), and they would play the Jesus film on the side of the massive sea vessel and evangelize in areas that are hard to reach by land alone. She told me about her many adventures. We try to trade stories and hers are usually better than mine. She’s been a missionary since she was born, her family has traveled all over the planet, starting churches everywhere.
Regarding the Jesus Film missions project, aside from the ship, most teams have to carry portable equipment, including a power generator, by bike because there aren’t roads everywhere in the world. They go into remote tribal areas that haven’t been reached before, and the film is voiced over in most languages. People sit on the ground and the picture quality isn’t really good. There are dangers of being kidnapped, raped and killed. We do a small get together when people come back here safely and hear their stories about being spat on, stoned, beaten up, shot at, and sometimes worst. We consider a project successful when people give their life to Jesus and there are positive changes in the community. I get to hear this kind of good news regularly and then I share the good news with my friends. Interesting fact; wherever Christianity spreads, crime goes way down, economic problems go down, suicide, murder, rape, all goes down. Education, health, well being, quality of life all goes up. This can’t be said about other religions or atheism.
On the other hand, sometimes missions projects just don’t work. People take advantage and do their own thing, money goes missing, people misrepresent what they want to do. It doesn’t happen often, these failures are a SMALL percentage but when it happens it hurts everyone and can be discouraging if a lot of hard earned money and TIME was lost. When you are expecting lives to be changed and found out that instead of that – dope was smoked or a new wardrobe purchased or house was renovated, well it makes me furious and discourages everyone. Recently I wasted some valuable time and money on this exact thing, what can I do but say oops and move on?