As many of you know, I am currently preparing for a trip to Moldova, the Ukraine and the Czech Republic, scheduled for May 8 through 18. I will be travelling to these places with 3 other pastors from our presbytery, as well as some representatives from a ministry which is a part of the Church of the Czech Brethren, called Diaconia. Diaconia is a world-wide ministry, which has dedicated itself to working with the poorest of the poor, the most marginalized of the marginalized, those who the world has forgotten completely, those for whom it seems there is no hope at all. In Moldova, they are working with people to end human trafficking and problems related to the human trafficking epidemic that country is experiencing. In Ukraine, they serve those who have been impacted by internal fighting that has been ongoing since 1991. They have ministries in serving refugees in Syria and Myanmar, bringing potable water to Ethiopia, aiding people with special needs in Georgia, helping women in Zambia.
In preparing for this trip, there have been people who wonder why global mission is important. After all, charity begins at home. And this is undoubtedly true, but just because charity begins at home doesn’t mean it needs to end there. I’d like to offer a few reasons why global mission is important. First, global mission connects to local mission. By building a relationship with Diaconia, we will be able to learn how they tackle human trafficking problems. This relates directly to the Milwaukee area, as Milwaukee is a hub for human trafficking within the United States. Additionally, we can learn about refugee care, and apply what we learn to the large refugee populations we find in our city. When we work together on broad topics, we can learn to take them on both locally and globally. Second, we can find God in the face of the other. When we meet someone who is so completely different from us and put aside any judgment or preconception, we can find God speaking in and through them in ways we never would have dreamed of. This builds faith in a God who is far bigger than our own culture. Put simply, when we stay in our own bubble, we lose sight of the grand scope of the entire family of God. Third, and on a related note, God loves this whole world. Jesus rose from the grave, and so we have hope, not just for ourselves, but for the whole world. As we recall the risen Jesus’ parting words to his disciples as he ascended into heaven, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”
Dear friends, the Holy Spirit sends us out as bearers of the good news, that the Kingdom of God is coming near. We are sent out as messengers of the Holy Spirit to tell the good news to the poor and to bind up the broken-hearted and set the captives free. By embracing God’s call to reach out to those who suffer the most, Diaconia Ministry is doing the work of God’s Kingdom, and I am excited to be a part of it!
Yours in Christ,