Tuesday, August 27, 2013

An Afternoon Interview

My heart is full. I have spent the last three days soaking in missions from Mario Freitas. He leads an organization called MAIS. Translated into English, that means MORE. MORE for the world. Doing MORE Together. MORE for those in need.

I have asked him a few questions (or a few hundred) and I think this would be helpful for us to understand missions and community development a little better. Check it out below:

1. Mario, your organization does work with the suffering church related to several areas...what are those areas?
MORE is an organization that works supporting the suffering church in areas where there is natural disaster, religious persecution and war. 
2. Mario, you have been talking about development work as a strategic move in missions. Can you explain what that looks like in a country like Haiti?
Haiti is one of the countries in the world where there was more international investment related to donations than any other developing country. Still, it is definitely the poorest country in the western hemisphere. That proves that preaching and giving were not enough. I believe that poverty has a lot to do with mentality and worldview. I would say that development is the available strategy to sufocate the poverty mindset. By teaching them development, we are just showing how far they could go and that is always empowering.
3. From your perspective how can short-term teams be exposed to missions, impacting their heart and mind, without messing up long-term development in those countries?
Short-term missions are an amazing strategy for churches to get their members involved in missions. Once a 17-year-old goes to the mission field for a week, his life will never be the same again. Even if he doesn't work in missions for his whole life, he will still be a mission oriented banker or real state developer or whatever his career path is. And if short-term teams work along with organizations that are doing a long-term development work on the ground in those countries, there will be no undermining of the work those organizations are already doing. The problem is when teams try to create ministries and donate money or goods without enough understanding culture and context.

Ultimately, we need to be thinking in terms of how we can support and come alongside locals who want to see their communities improve and who are willing to work to get it done. I'm excited about the work MORE is doing in the world in Haiti and beyond. It is truly a gift to be able to spend time with Mario. Thank you, Mario, for your time and investment in coming to share with The Church at Lake Travis this weekend. God has big plans for you and your ministry.

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