Saturday, February 18, 2012

Half Way There

I realize this is a bit long, and most of you are far to busy to read all of it, so as a disclaimer, This is an encouraging update. A chance for me to share with you where all your money, prayers, love and support have been going the past (almost 2) months.  Thank you so much for the privilege of having a community, a body in christ, back home to write to. I love you, I love that your apart of all this, I love that we are all working together for God's kingdom. Your hands send my feet. Thank you for all you do in my life.

Now that I've come to the closing of week 6, I feel like I can update you all properly on the logistics, "trials", good times and what to expect next....

Walking into this, I think I put a lot of expectations on God and myself. Expectations on what i thought it meant to come back to YWAM and what this must have meant for my future.
....But the awesome thing about serving a God that loves me is the joy we have in making each other happy.
I started putting all the things God is to me, in the beginning of verses and started look harder at my life from that perspective. For example, Jeremiah 29:11
"For I the Lord (Your creator, your advocate, your protector, provider, your very best friend, your Father, Daddy, brother, Beloved, Soul mate.) Have Amazing plans for you."

When I started to break down who these people are in my life; " My Father and Best friend" I started to think how both those people in my life always want me to be happy, always want me to grow, only ever want the best for me, and think I deserve the best...when i started praying with that in my mind, I started to connect with a God who only wanted to talk to me on the most intimate level.  It's easy to see why Song of Solomon calls this "A divine romance."
All this to say, the future plans I THOUGHT I'd have at this point are not at all where I feel God leading me.
This school has, surprisingly enough, been one of the hardest things I've done in missions so far. ( I keep thinking, "Send me back to a bush in Africa!") But its also been one of the most beneficial. (I guess the hard things always are.) L God has been speaking to me so much about His heart for long term missions and what it looks like to "make His kingdom come here on earth." ....and Its not at all what I expected. Learning that pretty much everything you've been doing on the mission field for the past few years was doing more harm then help....was a tough, humbling pill to swallow.
I've been asked several times throughout the duration of this school "Why do you do what you do? What motivates you?" After trying to answer this question on my own several times (looking for something profound and inspiring) the Lord finally gave me the answer. Worship. My life is about worship, its our number one calling, that's why we were created. And by dedicating my life to missions, using the gifts God has given me, is the greatest act of worship I can ever give to my Heavenly Father.
I know I've rambled on (for years now) in my news/support letters, about how I want my life to be more then me. I want it to reflect the Christ in me and fulfill all the plans he has made me for. But I just can't get enough of thinking and writing about Him emphasising this in me. He wants all of our soul...When is the last time we lived our day in full for nothing else but to worship God? Not to feed the hungry, not to sing a song in church, but to really just bless God's heart.
I WILL get burned out if I work in missions off my own strength just to help the needy....But my passion for wanting to please God wont ever burn out if i continue to seek the Lord daily....because there is so much of him, that there will forever be a reason to be amazed.

Amos 5
21-24"I can't stand your religious meetings. 
   I'm fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects, 
   your pretentious slogans and goals.
I'm sick of your fund-raising schemes, 
   your public relations and image making.
I've had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. 
   When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want? 
   I want justice—Its what my heart is full of, I want oceans of it.
I want fairness and peace—rivers of it. 
   That's what I want. That's all I want."
James 1:27
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress {to LOVE one another} and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Of course getting more spiritually fed and having deep profound thoughts, isn't all I've been doing here. We've had weeks of practical (long term) mission field work. Such as; "Water and Sanitation" (learning that the number two killer in developing countries is diarrhea which can be dimensioned by thousands if they knew how to just wash their hands properly.) Learning how to build latrines and wells. Weeks on "How to start your own NGO or come alongside an already existing." Learning how to come into communities properly, to live among them, gaining there trust. Making there struggles your struggles, their dreams, your dreams. Finally realizing, You can't change the world until you change peoples Hearts, perspectives, self worth....relationships with each other, and ultimately, God.  
SO, the plan from here? I'm not headed off to a far of place in the jungles of Africa right away. I'm going to continue to live in this new light and knowledge He has given me. I'm going to finish out the next 6 weeks strong. And as of right now,head back to the mission field at home. Purse God's heart in medical missions, understanding the spiritual root and what God has to say about diseases and sickness. Working and studying from both home and overseas (Haiti mostly). 

Please continue to stand with me in prayer for direction in missions and for God's kingdom to come here on earth, in my own heart so that I will be fully equipped for the next assignment. And Please send me prayer request and updates on your lives as well. I Love them :)

-Kourney Hetrick

"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Eph. 2:10

My Team :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lifting the Veil; When Helping Hurts

Its a dangerous place I'm stepping into. The farther you go with God, the deeper your responsibility and life becomes. You start to see people, creation and the whole world the way Christ intended us to see it.  And you can no longer ignore the problem.
I thought I knew a lot about missions work before I came here...I was the first to rise to occasion when the words "Orphans" or "hunger"  was mentioned. But slowly, being humbled every step of the way, I'm learning that not only do I know nothing....but the majority of the work and "help" I was giving...may have caused more damage then good.

                                                .................What I'm Learning So Far...

When Helping Hurts
Being made in God’s image, human beings are inherently relational and have a divine responsibilities to the world that the Creator left in our care.  What exactly is our responsibility after we've prayed "the sinners prayer". When does the "taking up of the cross" start? <--- these questions and comments are nothing new of course. We've all seen cries for help and been apart of an incredible plan bigger then ourselves. But here's something you may not have considered before:
What exactly is poverty? and, Is it possible that we are all living in a state of poverty?

When the question was first asked---of course I said "no". Americans are not in a state of poverty, and its insane to even try to compare us to developing countries  such as South Africa or Haiti.
But once we took a look at what the bible would define "poverty" as, I was quickly corrected. 
Like mentioned above, Being made in God’s image, human beings are inherently relational. So when we work out of the perfect combination and order of relationship...we find ourselves "poor in spirit."....and can become physically poor.
A) Relationship with God – This is our primary relationship, the other 
three relationships flowing out of this one. The Westminster Shorter 
Catechism teaches that human beings’ primary purpose is ‘to glorify 
God and to enjoy Him forever.’ This is our calling, the ultimate reason 
for which we were created.  
B) Relationship with Self – People are uniquely created in the image of 
God and thus have inherent worth and dignity. 
C) Relationship with Others – God created us to live in loving 
relationship with one another. We are not islands! 
D) Relationship with the Rest of Creation – The ‘cultural mandate’ of 
Genesis 1:28-30 teaches that God created us to be stewards, people 
who understand, subdue, and manage the world that God has 
created in order to produce bounty. 

Obviously, America, the church, and my own community lack highly in some of these areas. 
How can I even comprehend the healing of others without fulling understanding what God's intentions for His people are. 
I think in a lot of ways we tend to think that as Americans, we are the solution to all the worlds problems, and if we hop on a plane with water bottles, food and a blue print for a sustainable water well, then we've successfully checked off all the "essentials" for the trip and we're good to go. This, however, is not the case. 

The Creator calling the creation.
Real needs vs. American needs
"Stop coming into MY community and assuming YOU are the answer to all the "alleged problems."
I mean, are we even asking the community if they want...or need a well? More often then not, the answer is, no. Although its a beautiful dream and desire to bring amazing ideas, like wells, to third world countries, and some times (often even) they do need the wells. (And I am definitely not bashing anyone who has ever or will ever build a well in Africa's desert lands.) Don't misunderstand....But here's what's happening; We never took the time to become apart of the community. We didn't do life with them, and therefore have no history of there values, culture, religious views, education, etc. How do we know that after the well is built and we leave, that they aren't doing some kind of animal sacrifice to their gods in the water that completely decontaminates it, doing (in the long run) more harm then it did good. (Yes, that's an actual example.)
Lets do life with our brothers and sisters. Lets learn from them as much as we've come to teach.
Let's start at the root of the problem; Their worth, their value...their relationship with God and His creation. Doing this....could take months....even years. You have to build their trust...and make their life your life, their dreams your dreams, their problems so real to you, that you seek a solution as a community, using the resources around you. Lets show them every side of Gods heart: Physical, Spiritual, Wisdom and Social. God got his hands dirty. But he also sought the heart out. Both must become essential on the mission field. People are the worlds greatest resource <--- God says so.
Lets humble ourselves and agree we know nothing and we are nothing.

The "4 P's" to the Mission field.
Prayer ---in everything
Passion---for the community you've dedicated your time to
Perseverance---Don't limit God with a time block....real results can take years...decades and we might only be the seed. We may never see the harvest.
Patience---Wait on God's timing. And understand that trust takes time and answers will be made in God's timing. America tends to want to microwave the world. We want results instantly. 

For a long time I've said "I want to be the hands and feet of Christ." And I do...but I want much more then just the hands and feet. I want the mouth, the mind and the heart.