Finding Connections Through Mission
Keri Lynn Lucas, Associate Pastor of Creekwood UMC, reflects on partnership opportunities in Honduras
Growing up as a United Methodist, I found myself on a mission trip nearly every summer with my youth group. I have served with teams that painted houses, built wheelchair ramps and redone shingles on a rooftop. I have always been around churches that love to engage in mission. When the opportunity arose to be part of an exploratory-trip partnership with Methodist churches in Honduras, I jumped at the chance to see the early stages of the mission process I have been part of my entire life!
As it turns out, the mission process is more complicated than we might have thought.
Our group from the North Texas Conference had the chance to visit a few churches in the country of Honduras to see what a future partnership might look like between our conference and the Methodist churches in Honduras. We visited churches that have had partner churches here in the United States that are engaging in helpful and ethical efforts.
Then, we went to a church with sewing machines …
Our travels took us to a church in a rural community called La Cofradia. The church has two levels. The top floor had one of the most intricate sanctuaries in the entire country. From the sanctuary, you go downstairs to the bottom floor, which has rooms built like classrooms. One of these rooms is full of sewing machines … but with no one sitting at them. Apparently, the American church that had previously partnered with this church thought it best to bring over sewing machines and materials on one of their short-term mission trips. The church in America thought it would be best if women in the area sewed things they could sell to make money.
It seems like a great plan, but, in the middle of the afternoon, the room with the sewing machines sat empty. The church had considered solving the problem but lacked a long-term continuous plan for the community. Suddenly, sewing machines made our group a little sad.
We know that engaging in mission is one of the trademarks of the people called Methodists. Part of our heritage and tradition is reaching out beyond the walls of our churches to show the love of God to all the world. However, as we move about a world that is wildly more connected than ever before, we must consider the ways in which we engage in sustainable mission efforts that heal places instead of hurting them.
Let’s not provide sewing machines if that is not what the community is asking for. Our team that traveled to Honduras grew together in our understanding of this, and we are still learning after we returned home.
As we grow in our partnership between the North Texas Conference and the Methodist Church in Honduras, I pray that we might grow together in partnership and love.
Published: Thursday, November 14, 2019