Our head pastor, Dr. Ed Robb, likes to say that "missions is the heartbeat of our church's ministry." I'm one of the people who gets to really see how true that is. I've followed our mission teams all over the city, the state, and occasionally all over the world, and I get to see the difference our time and our work and our money make, from Houston underpasses to African villages.
In Rwanda, I traveled with the Zoe Ministries team to visit children who had been empowered by the program to develop basic sanitation, life skills, and small businesses, until they had the capabilities to support themselves - and eventually, others.
It's no small thing to be fed out of the fields of teenagers who had gone from begging in the streets to owning the largest banana plantation in the village, and it's no small joy to watch the pride on their faces when they show us that they now have enough to share.
I wrote a series of pieces on the mission and my experiences visiting Rwanda on the twenty-year anniversary of the genocide; you can read them here if you like (okay, okay, I know that sounds just awful, but it really is worth checking out).
"Hope For Today Ministries"
I've now gotten to travel to Northern India twice with Hope For Today Ministries, the first time to follow our pastors as they were introduced to the work of the ministry, and the second a year later, when I joined our first mission team to travel to support it.
Creating house churches anywhere in India is difficult, but we met pastors who were brutally beaten and their family's lives threatened, but they continued on, despite no support and a salary of about seventy-five cents a week.
I wrote a series of pieces both times I went to India, you can find them collected (and carefully sorted through for their noteworthiness, or lack thereof) here.