Guest Post from Sarah: Why Missions

SarahGallagher

Sarah, from her trip to the Czech Republic with SHARE. Photo courtesy Sarah Gallagher.

This post is a guest post from Sarah Gallagher, my sister and partner in non-crime for the Hungary mission trip. If you missed earlier posts about the upcoming trip, check them out under the Hungary 2019 category. Other than deleting Oxford commas and adding links to appropriate resources she mentioned, this post is unedited.

What does everyone want more than anything else?  The answer seems obvious and yet obtuse: everyone wants to have friends, to be in relationships, and to avoid loneliness.  Solitary confinement is the most severe form of punishment. Many cases of depression, severe anxiety and other mental illnesses can be attributed to loneliness.  And still, most of us would say that we feel lonely sometimes, that our relationships have conflict, that our friends occasionally hurt us.

God created humans to be in relationships, both with one another and with Him.  In fact, God himself is in relationship. No human fully understands how the trinity works, but somehow the three persons of God (God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit of God) are in relationship with one another (see, for example, John 3:35).  Not only that, but God created humans to be close to Him, to be intimate friends with Him. This relationship without conflict is what made the Garden of Eden perfect; God and humans were living in intimate friendship without any dissension.

In contrast, humans feel lonely because of conflict.  We do things that create rifts in relationships, build walls around our hearts and protect ourselves from hurt.  Others do things to us that make us feel like we need to protect ourselves from being hurt. Christ followers would call these things sin.  Sin is an action or failure of action that puts a barrier in our relationships. Those actions or failures of action put barriers in our relationship with God as well, although we might not always be aware of that.  Sin is the opposite of love.

Throughout history, humans have sinned.  No matter how well-intentioned one might be, there comes a point at which sin happens.  We have times of selfishness, thoughtlessness, carelessness or perhaps even maliciousness.  Sometimes we do things because we are reacting to someone else’s sin; sometimes our actions propagate someone else’s sin. Either way, the result is the same: we create cracks in relationships. There is conflict, disagreement, sometimes even termination of friendships.

No matter how hard humans try, we cannot seem to get over ourselves enough to obtain what we most want – the lovely company of other people and the beautiful company of God.

Most religions espouse a view of God up on a mountain, with people trying their hardest to get to Him.  There are many paths up the mountain: Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Hinduism, etc. All paths ultimately lead to God, and humans are striving to get up the mountain.

Christianity is different.  God knows that humans cannot get up the mountain under our own power.  We are too selfish, too careless, too thoughtless, and sometimes even too malicious.  We are not enough like God to climb the mountain to Him by our own strength.

So, God came down the mountain to us.  As the person of Jesus, God came down into the valley.  In order to allow us to be in relationship with Him, Jesus died and paid the price for our selfishness, carelessness, thoughtlessness and maliciousness.  He did what we could not do. He lived for 33 years without any selfishness, carelessness, thoughtlessness or maliciousness.

(This is not my mountain analogy, by the way.  I got it from a book by David Platt called Radical, and I think others have used it, too.)

Here’s the kicker, though.  Jesus’s death is only part of it.  Really, if you think about it, everyone dies.  What’s the big deal about death?

The big deal is this: Jesus rose from the dead.  He is the only lead figure of any religion to have risen from the dead. (If you want more information about Jesus’s resurrection, I would point you firstly to the biblical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and then to A Case for Christ by Lee Strobel.)

Christ followers believe that we can live in relationship with God and with each other because of God’s grace that he showed to us by coming to Earth, living a perfect life, dying and rising from the dead.  We are not trying to get up the mountain. We are just riding the ski lift that God built. God is making us more like Him as we ride.

This is amazing!  It is life-changing, and Christ followers want every person on Earth to have the same joy and peace that Christ followers experience.  Missions are about sending out love and peace and joy into the world in tangible ways (like building wells, feeding people, buying them livestock and teaching them to read) and in less-tangible ways (like listening to people, being a friend and sharing the source of my joy).

(Now, am I joyful and peace-filled all the time?  Definitely not. I still sin; I’m still selfish, thoughtless, careless and sometimes malicious.  But I’m on God’s ski lift, hopefully becoming less selfish, less thoughtless, less careless and less malicious than I used to be.)

And that’s it.  Missions are about loving people.  They are about doing God’s will on Earth as it is done in heaven (see Matthew 6:9-13).


Thank you Sarah for sharing your perspective! 

Ways Stay in Touch:

  1. Blogging here leading up to and during the conference.
  2. Instagram @meganunedited (beware the ridiculous number of dog photos I post)
  3. Email me at megan_brincks@hotmail.com for information on how to help sponsor me and my sister’s trip.
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Why Hungary? Why Now?

IMG_4789If you missed the news, I’m going to Hungary. Now, your regularly scheduled programming. 

Many people who know me might recognize that I’m not a strong candidate for missionary work. Over the last 10 years of “adulthood” (what’s adulting?), I rarely attended church (my current faith community is the first consistent one I’ve had since high school), I don’t “send prayers” on Facebook (“thinking of you” is more my style), and my version of a transcendent experience is to stand on the top of a mountain and listen to the wind.

But I do believe in education. I do believe in a higher power. And I do believe that when we come together as community, amazing things can happen.

Given that information, why would I take more than a week off work, fly half-way across the world and spend several days in a town that should probably be visited in the summer instead of February?

Let’s play pretend for just a moment.

If you were living abroad, doing work that you were called to do, there are certain things you forfeit in order to do that work. Some of them are relatively minor, like missing a niece’s birthday party or not having access to a particular kind of candy. Other things are bigger.

Now let’s pretend you have a child, and that child is consistently mispronouncing some letters. They’re young, so maybe this is normal. Maybe it’s not. What if it’s not? In the United States, you could easily set up an assessment with an English speech-language pathologist and get the whole matter sorted out, either through assurance that it’s nothing to worry about at this stage of development or through ongoing therapy.

But you don’t live in the United States. You are an expat in a country that does not speak English. How are you supposed to find out if your English-speaking child is developing properly linguistically without access to an English SLP? Do you make an expensive trip back to the States? But if it’s an ongoing problem that requires therapy, do you keep making those trips? Do you quit your work and move home?

Enter SHARE. At the conference I will be attending and volunteering at, families will have access to educational resources that might otherwise be completely inaccessible to them in their current locations. Lack of resources is a big reason why families stop their work overseas or need to buy expensive trips back to the United States to get assistance.

The young child with a speech impediment is just one example, but these kinds of issues crop up in every age group at every development level.

My role at the conference will be to assist families with teenagers in navigating the college experience. At this point, I don’t know what that is going to look like exactly, but I’m looking forward to helping these young adults develop plans for their futures and start to compile resources of their own and questions to ask as they start the process of pursuing higher education in the United States.

Traditional, four-year college is not for everyone. But education is. Whether you’re looking at a 5-year-old who is learning to tie his shoes or an 18-year-old who want to take a 12-week phlebotomy course while her best friend is gearing up to get a degree in civil engineering, education gives us freedom to make choices. The content of education is important, but teaching people to be learners is of much greater importance.


Ways Stay in Touch:

  1. Blogging here leading up to and during the conference.
  2. Instagram @meganunedited (beware the ridiculous number of dog photos I post)
  3. Email me at megan_brincks@hotmail.com for information on how to help sponsor me and my sister’s trip.

Going To Hungary

Megan Brincks

I so rarely share pictures of myself, but this one is personal, so let’s get personal! [Photo by Rachel Florman Creative]

There’s a lot to squish into one little blog post, but I’m going to do my best to keep this short, sweet and not too tedious.

Here’s the punch line: at the end of February, I’m headed to Hungary for a short-term mission trip. (Pause for reaction.) I will be working with missionary families stationed across Europe, the Middle East and Asia to navigate the transition of their teenage children into college life in the United States.

So let’s back up a little. My sister, Sarah, is a speech-language pathologist, and she served two years ago at a conference in Prague. For a week, she screened children whose families were concerned about their language development. When SHARE asked her to come back, it was a resounding yes.

Obviously, I asked if I could tag along and play tourist for the week.

Well, when some of the event organizers found out I work in higher education, they asked if I would be willing to assist families with older children for the transition into college.

Obviously, I said yes.

Obviously (maybe?), I was, and still am, incredibly nervous about this. I have never participated in a mission trip before, and “my religion is kindness” still sums up most of my theology.

However, as I sat with this decision, I felt in my gut that I have something to offer these families, and they need guidance. By amazing happenstance, I have that knowledge they need.

One thing I’ve been learning (or re-learning) lately is that signs don’t always come in big, neon signs. Sometimes, it comes as little whispers in the dark. But when the universe, God, the higher power, whatever you want to call it, offers you a big, neon sign, YOU LISTEN!

And although I will also be sharing some photos on social media before, during and after the trip, I woke up this morning with a whisper that said, “You need to write about this, Megan.”

So here I am. Rekindling the blog, seeing where all this goes, and just doing my best to stay aligned with what I’m feeling called to do in every area of my life.

But Hungary. Here are some things you might want to know if you follow along, which I really hope you do!

What: This conference will be in a little resort town named Siofok, Hungary, at the end of February. Missionary families from all over Europe, the Middle East and Asia are welcome, and it’s hosted by SHARE Education Services.

Who: My sister Sarah and I will be volunteering at the conference, and one of our aunts will also be joining us.

How to Follow: I will share a lot here and on my social media (Instagram @meganunedited is a public account; my Facebook is more for family and friends). That said, the privacy of these families, just like the privacy of my current students, is a top priority. No one’s personal stories other than my own will be shared without express approval.

How to Help: First, and foremost, please think of us and send us light and love as we work to help these families to the best of our abilities.

Second, you can follow along here and on social media to be part of the support system. I would love advice from anyone who’s gone on a mission trip of any kind, especially something like this, and any tips from anyone who’s visited Hungary.

Third, and let me be perfectly transparent about this point, this trip is happening whether or not we raise even a dollar of funding. But if you are interested in helping financially, please email me at megan_brincks@hotmail.com, and I can send you information on the church with which we are partnering so that all donations are tax deductible. If we raise more money than the trip costs, all remaining funds will stay with that church for future mission trips.

I might talk more about funding in an upcoming post, but for now, just know that I’m excited to share this journey with all of you and using it as an excuse to get back into regular creative writing.

Also… Hungary! Three months from TODAY I will be in Budapest.