Imagine What If?

Alternate history or alternative history, sometimes abbreviated as AH, is a genre of fiction consisting of stories in which one or more historical events occur differently. These stories usually contain “what if” scenarios and made me think about the way I approach missions. When I began missions more than a decade ago, I had the mindset of going and doing large medical brigades, sometimes seeing thousands of patients, but never questioning the impact on the Kingdom of Heaven.

Man with growth on his faceI met this young man on a trip to rural Kenya where we had a clinic with a large medical team. Hundreds came every day and I felt a sense of pride that we were showing compassion to those without access to medical care. This young man arrived with a cloth covering his head. He had been suffering for years from the psychological as well as the physical pain of the growth on the side of his face.

He told us that year after year it continued to grow, and he had been seen at many small clinics as well as by many western medical teams who had come and gone with no treatment. I had no idea what the growth could be, so I took a picture and sent it to a group of doctors in the US. That night I was burdened with the thought of doing nothing and that was not an option. Through a series of calls a group of surgeons and the hospital back home graciously agreed to care for him at no cost in the United States. All we had to do was to get him here.  I was so pridefully excited and proud of my efforts to coordinate his care and treat him, but Christ had other plans.

Jesus Changes Everything. Do you Know Him?
Christ had a divine appointment prepared for me with one of my spiritual mentors, Dr. Florence Muindi, the founder of Life in Abundance. The organization has a passion and vision to transform communities in the name of Christ by empowering the church and national believers.

Her response to my solution to the problem was gentle, but profound. It changed the course of my mission work, planting the seed for Teach To Transform. She thanked me for my efforts to help this young man, but in her ultimate wisdom told me this would be the “Worst” thing I  could do for this village. Whaaat!

Naturally, I was devastated, how could she not accept this help?

She explained my solution would send the message to this village that if you have a problem, you wait for the medical team from America to come and fix your problems; therefore, creating dependency on the West. The road to dependence is paved with good intentions.

Her answer amazed me when she said we would present this problem to the village at the church service. Dr. Florence explained to the community that they had someone who is suffering and the church, as the body of Christ, needed to show compassion on him.

Man with bandage after surgeryThe church slowly over the next few months raised the money for him to go to Nairobi and have his surgery.

Dr. Florence explained that now if there is a problem they know they have the power as the body of Christ to solve their challenges. This empowered the church to see that they can take care of their village and community without waiting for the West to solve the problem. At the same time, they were given a great testimony to all those watching and seeking the truth by showing love and compassion in the name of Christ.

Matthew 5:16: In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

To once again revisit the alternate history concept, I thank the Lord for the divine appointments He had prepared for me to meet three key mentors who ultimately became partners with TTT.

Dr. Florence’s wholistic ministry Life in Abundance; Steve and Jamie Saint, founder and leader of  I-TEC ministry which equips indigenous believers; and Dr. Charlie Vittitow, founder of mPower Approach‘s dental ministry which trains lay dentist. If Christ had not arranged the meetings of these great mentors, I would not have understood that the most powerful impact we can have on the Kingdom of Heaven is to empower and equip indigenous believers with skill sets to open doors to share the love and compassion of Christ.

Ask yourself this question: Are you impacting the the Kingdom of Heaven?

Is your strategy to pridefully “Go and Do” unintentionally creating dependency?

I challenge you to “Go and Empower” indigenous believers. They know the language,  the culture and have relationships that create a sustainable impact on the Kingdom long after your team leaves.

Come … Join us!

For His Glory,
Tom

 

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