“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” ACTS 1:8 (ESV)
Maddie’s Story Even a kick from behind is a forward motion; but no matter how fast you run, if you’re running in the wrong direction, you’re still wrong. I cannot tell you how fast I ran from my problems. I couldn’t wait to get the heck out of the United States. COVID-19 hit, flights were being cancelled, and above all, it was close to Christmas. I straight up thought that I was going to be getting to El Salvador and getting my life started. This was the thing that was going to cure my broken heart. The thing that was going to get a jump start on my purpose. My new start. My opportunity to shine. My opportunity to change other people’s lives to make myself feel better. See where I’m going with this?
My expectations were far too “about me.” I really saw this trip as a way to get away from all my problems and start fresh. I created this idea in my mind that if I did missions, I would come out on top as some “holy person” that was super cool and had everything together. LOL. That’s not how it went.
The first week I got to the mission center slapped me in the face hard. My view on poverty really was the typical “save the starving children of the underdeveloped world” type model. I am so ashamed writing this, but I know that most people do the same thing, and I don’t want you to fall victim to the same pride and vanity that I did. My orientation had one of the biggest impacts on me this entire trip. Danielle (my host) really helped me see what actual poverty could look like. Not that the model described before isn’t poverty, but many people don’t realize the emotional, spiritual, mental, and family struggles are forms of poverty as well. Some individuals just can’t get themselves to work because they simply have been told their whole lives that they are worth nothing, so there’s not even a point to trying. I think the key we are missing here, as Christ followers, as people who want to do better… is dignity. One of the best conversations I’ve had in a long time was with Jon in the truck on the way home
from the office. “Jon, why are strip clubs and pornography sites legal?” I asked. He took a deep breath and answered very matter-offactly. “Supply and demand, Mads. Supply and demand.” I was absolutely furious. Angry at myself for not knowing. Angry at the world for being so monetarily possessed. Angry at the companies who allow actual children to be exploited like this. At that point, I had met survivors of human trafficking. The world’s view of sex is so disgusting, so I knew I needed to change mine as well. As I learned in the book Overrated, “you should never do something that you wouldn’t do yourself”(Cho). So, I view sex as something beautiful and sacred, and I view the girls as survivors, not victims. Because when you see someone as a survivor, it gives them back their dignity. From now on, imprinted in my mind, and never to turn back. Not only do I need to dignify those of our
clients, who are amazing, smart, kind, innovative people, but I need to dignify the members of the Mission to El Salvador staff as well. Respecting how they do things, the way they innovate and plan and create bonds with the clients. They deserve to have their stories told. They are the most amazing people and the best kind of Christians I’ve seen in a long time. The kind that truly puts others first. The kind that truly follows after Christ’s heart, values, and fighting for the justice that comes along with the kingdom of God.
They deserve to have their stories told. This experience has truly taught me that I cannot run from my problems. Facing them head on builds my character and dignifies the people that I care about. By giving God my all, I am giving them my all. I truly hope
Maddie recalls her experience interning
& Danielle Snyder (Mission to El Salvador). I hope you are inspired and challenged by Maddie’s story. A crosscultural experience is one of the most transformative
events that can often lead to a notable change in your worldview and help you better understand God’s heart for all peoples and nations. If you are interested in serving with one of our partners in a cross-cultural setting for short-term or mid-term, reach out to me at email@example.com.
Grace Pothen Missions Champion
to be a youth pastor someday and dignifying and loving my kids in the field are truly what matters. I want to tell stories with dignity. I don’t even matter. These people changed MY LIFE. I did nothing in theirs. I hope to bring back what I learned in this experience with me to the US. The love, the respect, the dignity. The best practices. The unending kindness.
MISSIONS AT NORTH WAY 30+
extending the gospel in holistic ways across the globe and are represented in 5 continents. Every year we collect coats and toys for people in need, we partner with organizations and schools in our community. North Way collected
over 800 coats last year, that is 800 individuals blessed! During
partnership with World Vision was able to provide emergency food
For more information regarding missions, please visit our website: northway.org/outreach
boxes for over 1300 families in need across Pittsburgh.
Are you asking yourself, where do I start? Let’s start by getting to know our neighbors. Do you know the names of all your neighbors? Prayer walk around your neighborhood - pray by name for each neighbor, their family and their needs. Meet a tangible or felt need of someone you come across - buy a meal, do a grocery run, give a blanket. Talk to someone you have never spoken to or not too familiar with at work and start to build a friendship. Ask God to show you the right person. If the Holy Spirit prompts you, ask how you can be praying for him/her. Pick a country to pray for this week as a family (operationworld.org will help you with the stats and prayer requests for the country). You want to make it a fun and memorable experience for your family? Cook a meal from the country!
Identify people in your life who may be different from you in their views, political stance, ethnic or socioeconomic background and invite them to a meal to your home to simply listen, learn, and build a relationship. Find one local organization you can serve with this season. (northway.org/ local-partners is a great place to start). Learn where refugees are located in our city (perhaps right near one of our North Way campuses), what countries they are coming from and pray for them or prayer walk through those neighborhoods, seek to meet them and get to know them. Click here for more information. Movie night! Watch “God Grew Tired of Us” or “Poverty Inc.” with your family or small group to know more about living life on a mission.
“If your personal faith in Christ has no positive outward expression, then your faith - and mine - has a hole in it.” - Richard Stearns
Here are a few practical next steps you can take in living on mission right where you are. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in taking the right steps for you.
Human trafficking is an epidemic, not only in other parts of the world but even right here in our city. Pittsburgh is in the top 10 cities for human trafficking in the US. Pennsylvania is in the top 10 states for human trafficking in the US. Pittsburgh is one of the 19 cities chosen to welcome Afghan refugees in the coming months and the resettlement agencies are expecting to welcome a few hundred families to make Pittsburgh their home.
MISSIONS IN PITTSBURGH
Wednesday, December 8, 2021
SCAN THIS CODE For additional information about Outreach at North Way and to learn more about our Life on Mission Workshop.
Join us for an online workshop on living a life on mission. You can tune into a conversation Amanda will be having with a few of our leaders at North Way and you will then be able to join a Zoom session led by each of these leaders in living a life on mission locally (neighborhood), nationally (city/urban) and internationally (globally). Come excited to learn more!