Identity, Life

My Christian mission trip is not a two week trip to “find myself” or “save others”

I want to make sure that people know of a Jesus that was all about loving your neighbors more than yourself and that was all about pluralism regardless of theological differences.

After finishing my summer internship with a Christian missions non-profit, my perspective on missions as an occupation and/or a way of volunteering has changed.

As a Christian, I believe that there is goodness in sharing with others about who Jesus was, because Jesus was man of color who believed that the serving others regardless of different ways of life and identity was the way to achieve The Way, The Truth, and The Light.

Basically, He showed that if you wanted to get “right with God,” you had to get right with the people around you along with sharing with the people around you about God.

If you wanted to get 'right with God,' you had to get right with the people around you. Click To Tweet

Knowing this, I also don’t believe that ignorance is bliss.

I believe that before one were to go into missions, they would need to know the history of harm of those who identified as Christian caused to people of color and non-Western areas of the world.

Add religious and nonreligious minorities into the mix of both causes, and there has definitely been harm in that regard that Christians have done. Some is continuing to be done.

I am tired of the same stories of people going on a missions trip saying, “I’m here to save them. They’re the ones in trouble.” Or, “I’m here to cradle these minority kids and be like a parent or sibling to them” even though they already have attachment issues and you already make it worse by leaving them after two weeks and those “minority kids” don’t need your B.S. coddling.

I'm here to save them. They're the ones in trouble. Click To Tweet

When writing about missions work and pursuing a form of missions work, I am making it my job to change the narrative of missions. I want to make sure that people know of a Jesus that was all about loving your neighbors more than yourself and that was all about pluralism regardless of theological differences.

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I don’t want to introduce people to an ethnocentric, ableist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, and/or transphobic Jesus. That’s not a Jesus I know. I don’t believe that that Jesus exists, and it kills me that there are those who believe he does, because of the arrogant privileged missionaries who brought that to them.

I am making it my job to change the narrative of missions. Click To Tweet

When I tell some people about pursuing missions work this summer, some become uncomfortable, and with good reason! It can get really emotional discussing topics such is this in regards to Christianity, but that doesn’t mean that dialogue should be non-existent.

I believe in a God that embraces discomfort, so it’s been an emotional rollercoaster when these conversations do come up. Moreover, those same people are still not going to agree with me going on a missions trip, and that is fine.

As a Christian, I believe that there is goodness in sharing about who Jesus was. Click To Tweet

As long as they know that I’m not going to wreak havoc when that area has been through enough already, that’s more than enough for me. As long as they know that Christianity is not a monolith of privilege and turmoil, that is definitely more than enough for me.

It is a blessing that more and more missions organization are using a cross cultural lens in order to pursue missions and ministry well. However, it should be a requirement for all missionaries to obtain that lens.

Maya Williams

Maya Williams

Maya Williams is an MSW and Applied Arts & Social Justice Candidate at the University of New England. She has published content on sites such as INTER, AltFem Magazine, Black Girl Nerds, and The Mixed Remixed Festival. In her spare time, she enjoys writing and teaching poetry, watching movies, and watching musicals.

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