My recent trip to the Ukraine was inspiring and informative. Having only been on the Life.Church staff for two years, I gained a firsthand perspective of what it means to be restorative in nature—how to be a hand up, and not a handout. It’s not that I have questioned our philosophy, but I had only seen the traditional approach to missions. Having taken five mission trips prior to our trip to Ukraine, this was the first time to see “when helping doesn’t hurt.”
The dignity, hope, and entrepreneurial spirit that I saw in the eyes of individuals who have had access to small loans through HOPE International stood out to me. They may not have an MBA, however the savvy and wisdom they possess is inspiring. God puts within each of us the desire and ability to not just survive, but to thrive economically.
Take an individual like Ludmilla, who owns an office supply store. She has learned to sell seasonal or holiday items when the need for office supplies is down. She also sells inflatables during the summer, and has a keen awareness of inventory control. Her business was in an unbelievably good location, and I can’t help but think she strategized that, too. At the time of our visit, she had $15,000 in inventory in school supplies. School was starting that week and she was ready for the demand. Impressive!
It is so evident that we are not the answer, the “know-it-all” for the world’s problems. Rather, God has uniquely gifted people everywhere to find dignity and hope economically. All they need is someone to trust them with a little money and a lot of grace. I love that we get to be a small part of life change around the world, and see what the capital “C” Church is doing in the lives of individuals.
If you’re interested to find out more about how Life.Church approaches missions, consider going through the Restore video series to see firsthand how God restores lives through local churches worldwide.