I just had the opportunity to hear a little more about the area and the people we’ll be working with during Project Compassion 2012, so I want to pass it along. Each year, students from all over Europe come together to serve the poorest of the poor in Eastern Europe. This coming spring we’ll be working in a gypsy community near Arad, Romania.
Many families in Romania live in mud houses with dirt floors and many have to walk great distances for fresh water. There are children who don’t have clothes, and winter temperatures can drop below zero. There are massive needs.
We’ll be working on a variety of projects, including repairing roofs and plugging rat holes in an effort to provide safety for large families living in one or two room “houses.”
A couple of years ago, a film crew traveled to this area in western Romania to film a documentary about the idea of mission. Here’s a brief synopsis from the website of “No Bright Lights:”
The whole area of mission, as explored by the global church, has developed over the centuries to become largely expressed through aid and short-term support to areas of extreme poverty.
But the deeper you look into the life of a person who has sacrificed much to be with the poor and needy, the more you start to realise that mission is less and less about aid and reaction to crisis. It is actually more about simple principles of consistency and time, together with a selfless attitude and genuine heart of love.
What if it is not about bringing the ‘west’ to the poor, but rather about being with the poor in their setting? What would the long-term effects be in an impoverished community if we stopped providing hand outs, but instead provided a hand up?
Off the map, away from any bright lights and certainly not making news headlines, ‘mission’ is being redefined upon these simple principles. Can you redefine your contribution?