Committed to learning, growing, sharing and visiting
By MAGGIE MOHR
More than 15 years ago when Mark and I began our journey into missions, we really had no idea what we were doing, just a nudging in our hearts to do something outside of the walls of our cozy suburban home. We had 2 biological children and adopted 4 more, 2 from the city near our home and 2 from the country of Haiti. When we traveled to Haiti to bring our sons home, the reality of life for 2/3 of the world (the majority) looked completely different from ours. I couldn’t reconcile my emotions as we brought our beautiful boys home to all of the comforts of Western world life, while leaving behind tens of thousands of babies who may not live to see their first birthday.
Like many do, Mark and I plunged into our version of mission work by helping to build wells, fund the building of homes, sponsor children, and support orphanages. Sure we would often even travel to the developing world and do some physical labor ourselves, but much of our “work” was done from the comforts of suburbia. Being a learner at heart, I typically have at least 10 books at bedside, mostly nonfiction with titles ranging from motherhood, aging parents, 1000 places to visit before you die, and there was always a title or two on helping the materially poor, and missions.
Several years ago I read a book titled “When Helping Hurts.” I had been having thoughts about how much our “work” was really helping and how much was potentially not helping at all, and this book hit me between the eyes. What if all of our ideas of what “should” be done to help our friends in the developing world were actually causing more harm? This thought mortified me because we had grown to deeply love our friends in the developing world. Were we causing them more harm than good? Were our ideas rooted in the common Western thinking of “we really know what’s best for you better than you do?” Our hearts screamed no, but the evidence pointed otherwise.
“What if all of our ideas of what “should” be done to help our friends in the developing world were actually causing more harm?”
After several months of retreating, reflecting, confessing, and wanting to call it quits altogether, I decided instead to start reading some of the other books in my pile and figure out how to make a difference without causing harm. My heart beats hard for the majority world, always has for as long as I can remember. Why was I blessed to be born in the US, a country where most of us don’t have to worry where our next meal comes from, or whether our children will receive an education, or whether or not I will sleep with a roof over my head tonight? Why has God allowed me the comforts of this life when others suffer daily just for their basic needs? A wise friend cemented in my head a long time ago that “we are blessed to be a blessing!” I believe that, but want to be sure we are doing the blessing well, not causing more suffering.
So here we are, our kids are grown, and our nest is emptying. The task of doing missions well continues to seem like rocket science, but we are committed to learning, growing, sharing, and bringing people to visit our friends in the parts of the world that are materially poor, yet considerably rich in so many other ways. We hope that one day you might join the journey.
Maggie Mohr, Inspire 180 Founder & President and Mother of 6 kids