Throughout my travels as I have been attending conferences and visiting ministries, I
have invited folks to send me short write-ups on their ministries and,
with the understanding that, as I was able, I would post them on this blog.  My hope in doing this is by no means to
touch upon all ministries with a Presbyterian connection, but only to gives glimpses of the breadth and depth in which we engage in ministry
around the world.

Here is one  received from from Bread for the World, a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s
decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. By changing policies,
programs and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist, we
provide help and opportunity far beyond the communities in which we
live.

from Sarah Councell Turner, National Church Outreach Associate            

Screen-8 Mission trips can be life-changing experiences. Lily Cheng, who traveled to
Guatemala to teach English to school children, tells this story: “God broke my
heart as I finished up my lunch one day. When I got up to throw away my unused
condiment packets, one of the girls asked for my mayonnaise. She relished it,
making it last as long as possible. These kids have learned long ago how to
deceive their empty stomachs with flavor. This is hunger. This blew my mind!”

Lily’s life was permanently changed by her experience. But it often doesn’t
happen that way. People may be excited and even deeply moved during their time
overseas, but once they come home, they tend to drift back into life as it was
before the trip. One reason is that groups spend many hours preparing for their
trip—but little time thinking about how they can put their valuable experiences
to use when they return.

How can a short-term mission team continue their ministry after they come
home? One way is by becoming advocates for the people they meet on their
journey. Everyone can be an advocate. Advocacy can mean speaking up in a number
of different ways. There’s advocacy with God, also called intercessory prayer.
Advocacy within the church and community means educating people about a
situation and inviting them to help bring about positive change. American
Christians who have visited developing countries make especially strong
advocates for people in those countries. They can speak up for their new
friends and speak out to our nation’s decision makers. By so doing, they can
change the policies and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist.

The new guide Getting Ready to Come Back helps Christians returning from mission trips become effective
advocates to end hunger and poverty.
Getting Ready to Come Back was produced by Bread for the World—a collective
Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger—and supported
by the Presbyterian Hunger Program and a dozen other partners. Tools throughout
the resource help teams prepare for their trip, reflect on their experiences,
and take action once back home—all with the goal of making a long-term impact
by helping address the causes of hunger and poverty. The guide encourages
participants to think about how they can become advocates and includes Bible
studies, suggested discussion topics, journal exercises and prayers for each
part of the journey. You can order yours today—or download it for free at www.bread.org/advocacyguide ($10
each, or $25 for five copies.)

Lily Cheng used her mission trip experience as a springboard to become an
advocate for the hungry and poor children she met in Guatemala. She has spoken
out on their behalf, in prayer, with her community, and even in the halls of
Congress, where she has advocated for more and better development assistance to
poor countries. God broke her heart, but that wasn’t the end of the story. It
was only the beginning.

Follow Bread for the World on Twitter: @bread4theworld

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