Day Fifteen // For the Love

Poverty Tourism // For the Love by Jen Hatmaker - Online book study hosted by

Chapter 21: Poverty Tourism – Pages 153-160

I still remember the moment when we first arrived in Mexico.  I still remember the excitement I felt the next morning when we finally arrived in the neighborhood we would be serving for the week.  I also remember the feelings that overwhelmed me at the end of the week.  It wasn’t enough.

Four days of work wasn’t enough. A whole summer still would not have been enough. Once you have an epic encounter with the divine, other parts of life are not nearly as significant. You can never go back to who you were before.

Doing ministry or mission work changes you.  This might be a trip to another country, a different region or the serving you naturally fall into in your own community. The work you are doing for God and the people close to home can be just as significant as work done abroad.

Personally, I have had significant spiritual encounters with God while on a mission trip and while driving down the road.  God can use you wherever you are.

Mission work is awesome, if that is what God has called you to do. Some people have that calling, for life or for a season, and they do a marvelous job at it.  Others are meant to serve in many other ways.

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”  – 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

Mission work is about following God, not about following some trend going around in churches.  Faith isn’t trendy.  It is life-changing.

For two years, I had dreamed of this trip and it had finally arrived.  As a teenager, I had a life changing experience on a short-term mission trip.  It was a great moment in my life.  However the change didn’t last.  Not for me and certainly not for the community.  As Jen writes, I have found to be true.

“As uneducated, inexperienced outsiders, we must work with people who live and work and breathe the sustainable, holistic health of their community.” {For the Love}

That is how lasting change is made.

We are models of Jesus wherever we go. Traveling around the world to bumble through a poorly planned construction project is a pretty poor example of Jesus. When I was on that mission trip, I also got banished from the construction of the home we were building because I was that dangerous with a hammer. I wasn’t doing anything for the Gospel by attempting construction work. Skilled craftsmen would have been far better for this specific project than an overly enthusiastic bunch of teenagers.

However, I discovered that I was great with the children. I thrived in the environment of soccer games and footraces. I realized that I was given an incredible gift.

I utilized my spiritual gifts when I was there, as well as when I returned home. I continue to use those skills and gifts every single day as I pour knowledge into my students.  The children were able to gain glimpses of how much Jesus loves them, in a small part by my actions.

It takes many such influences to make a lifelong impact. Only God can tell how long it takes to impact a life for eternity. Why waste a moment of our short time on this earth doing ineffective ministry?

Missions is not a sprint.  It is not a vacation destination. It is a mindset.  It is a way of life. It is far less complicated than we make it to be.

What are some practical ways you can invest in the community, be it your local community or a special place in your heart?

Leeann Perry is a 30 year old life-long Jersey girl who loves Jesus, her family, and the ocean.  Her other favorites include Harry Potter, polar bears, pink polka dots, sparkles and her boyfriend.

You can connect with her on Instagram and Twitter.



Bree is a recovering perfectionist, whose weaknesses include the clearance rack at Target and anything pumpkin flavored. Though she is an introvert, she has an insatiable craving for community and desire to bring light to God’s purpose in the imperfections of life. Read More

One comment

  1. Loved the blog post today, Leeann! I was really passionate about volunteering at a local hippotherapy center for special needs children, while in high school. However, when I moved away for college, I never did check in that area for centers. Thanks for the motivation I needed to go out and look for another place to volunteer!

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