Written by Josh

More than Meets the Eye | The first Trip to Toloha

Posted by on Aug 6, 2013 in Clean Water, Trips to Toloha, Written by Josh | 0 comments

  Why is it that people go on mission trips? Some might say that it is because they want to experience another culture so that they can develop a more realistic understanding of how the rest of the world lives. Others may say their main purpose is to assist our fellow man in his struggles and eventually religiously convert him. I have struggled with this question for a while now and have mulled it over every summer for the past three years. I was raised with a heart to serve and believe that as a follower of Jesus, I am called to serve others for my whole life. Prior to my trip to Tanzania this past June, I thought that I had a basic idea of how most mission trips work. I thought that a good group of Christians would travel to wherever, whether down the street or across the world, and that they would partner with another good group of Christians and help to aid them in whatever way possible. The group might minister to people in their village or provide them with resources they were incapable of obtaining. That kind of mission work really is the most common and well known to me, and I perceived it was what the majority of mission work entailed. I knew that this was not the only way mission work was done, but the other way seemed fairly far-fetched to me and pretty obsolete, at least at the time. This other way was the kind of missions you would only hear about at large conferences and on television. It was someone, or group of people, targeting a primarily unreached people group in order to aid them in some way and eventually convert them to Christ. Prior to this trip, I had been to the Dominican Republic a couple of times and had participated in numerous service projects in the United States, so I assumed that I had a pretty good feel for the mission field as I had seen many different scenarios play out in different kinds of situations. Before this trip our knowledge about Toloha village was pretty minimal. We had one real source of information on life in the village and, therefore, had very little to base our preconceptions of the conditions in which we were about to be immersed. Consequently, as I prepared, I fell back on previous experience to guide my preconception and didn’t think much of it. Well, not only was I wrong, but I was actually visualizing the opposite of the circumstances in which I found myself. I was expecting to be greeted by a large body of Christians, eager to welcome fellow Christians into their village and church body. In fact we were met by a hearty group of extremely grateful people, the vast majority of which were not Christians. Throughout our time in the village, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of thirst coming from the villagers. As we surveyed the water system, people approached us thanking and begging us to repair their water line. I saw their thirst for useable clean water so that they could support their struggling families and just survive. We not only heard stories but also saw with our own eyes people sabotaging the existing system that had been put in during the 1950’s. People hacked the pipes with machetes to divert it and dammed up the source of the water with cement and dirt. I saw their thirst for a solution.  But, despite the hundreds of examples of physical thirst that I saw, their thirst for...

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