Friday, February 03, 2006

Investment on Mission

JAB, FZ and I had lunch today. We ate at Ikea, which is always fun and different. It was great to see them and connect and just talk. Of course I was trying to recruit them for this summer as well. HA.

We talked a lot about their experience in New Orleans and it was so so fun to hear. Listening to people who have come back from a missions trip is difficult. In some cases, you only want to hear so much, and then it gets old. And so many times, you are listening but you still feel like you are on the outside of a cool club because the people talking have all this shared experience. On the opposite side, being the one who just came back and trying to tell your stories is also difficult. There is so much to tell, you could go on for hours and hours, and no one seems to quite understand. [I didn't feel this way with them.]

I think when you listen to these stories, you have to let people talk for as long as they want to. They oh-so-desperately *need* someone to listen to them and be captivated by their stories. They need to get it out and if you are part of their support system [a youthworker, a prayer/finance supporter, a good friend] and don't help them by letting them telling their stories part of the experience and its impact may be lost.

Generally, I just let people talk. [Over IM, I tell people, "Just keep typing."] And, of course, I'm honestly very interested in hearing their stories, because I kind of have a thing for it. But I just encourage them to keep talking. I also usually ask a lot of questions. What were the leaders like? How many people on the team? Tell me about the schedule. Questions about logistics get people to remember the experience and then the real stories start.

GCC helped with their team just a little bit financially. One other question I posed to them, which I normally wouldn't ask, but since we have led together, they are old friends, etc. is - Was the investment worth it? It is a valid question that we need to be asking. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to boil it down to a pure quantitative answer. This is not in the context of a corporate climate or a for-profit business.

I don't know what the best way to answer it. I do know that people should be asking the same question regarding SPACE. I've got a few ideas but I don't know if they make sense. In any case, asking the question is the right start.

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