Throughout the summer of 2010, our movement has sent out approximately 75 men and women across the world to serve the marginalized in society. One could not only imagine the needs that are abroad, but also the need for our movement to respond appropriately to the transition that we are currently experiencing. Our immersion trips are no longer solely utilized for exposure purposes, but preparation for the future. However, our movement’s preparation cannot only take place abroad but here in Antioch as well.
This summer has provided the perfect opportunity for our movement to experience this “home team” preparation since we will be sending our first missionaries to Africa, India, El Salvador and The Philippines in 2012. Those who are moving abroad in 2012 are educators, healthcare workers, farmers and administrators within our movement. They have great responsibility within our community and leave big shoes to fill. Understanding the reality of our moment within this transition, our movement has experienced a rare opportunity to become empowered in the responsibilities that need to be fulfilled in response to the absences this summer.
I have personally experienced the importance of being an active hometeam-er this summer through my participation with SLAM (Students Living a Mission). Throughout the summer, SLAM hosts mission weeks for youth groups from all over the country which provide the students an opportunity to serve the least of these within our nation such as refugees, widows, the elderly and the homeless. Through my participation with SLAM this summer both administratively and logistically, I have learned that relationship with God is not just study and experiences abroad but a willingness to fulfill the needs that are present by believing that God is a God who participates in meeting the needs around us.
Quality time with the Lord must not only take form in a mission trip, writing a theological paper, and studying the Bible but by responding to the real human needs that are present by accepting responsibility. And this responsibility extends to every community member, whether in Antioch or abroad, because it is an invitation to participate in selflessly becoming more like Christ through support and serivce.