Last October, I went to the generic Spring Break Missions meeting with no expectations. I heard about all of the locations and trips and I didn't really feel particularly drawn to any of them...until I explored the Nicaragua trip a bit more. It's a missions trip for business majors and Spanish majors (of which I am neither) and it was quite a leap of the imagination to think that I would be accepted to the trip. But I applied anyway and also e-mailed Dr. Hadley Mitchell, economics professor and leader of the trip. This is what I said to him:
My interest in business is both personal and public service-oriented. One of the reasons business and economics are so fascinating is because they are a perfect example of how individual actions impact the rest of one's community and the rest of the world. In both individual and community life, I believe stewardship is one of the key ways a Christian, a true follower of Christ, is set apart from the world.
First, my personal interest in business comes from a desire to use my personal resources—talents and finances—for God's glory. For example, I am currently acting as director of media relations (drafting business plans, investor letters, and other technical writing) in a growing entrepreneurial endeavor with a few other TU students. While our company's public goal is to assist artists in the business world, our private goal is to create a stable resource to serve and finance non-profit missions organizations. We are not only filling an immediate and practical need, we are also seeking to ultimately do God's work.
Second, I am fascinated by the impact of business and economics on government, international politics, and missions. The influence and reach of economics is so broad that I think Christians fail too often to realize how much potential we have to minister through business. To come into a community and bring food and medical care is a wonderful imitation of Christ's love for people with great material needs; but I think we can do even more than that.
As Frédéric Bastiat said, "Life cannot support itself." However, by fostering communities that are self-sustaining—whether by digging wells, teaching agricultural techniques, or developing local businesses and creating jobs—Christians can fight for the life and well-being of the poor with a long-term perspective. When we enable and encourage people in impoverished communities to support themselves, we show them that they are valuable—both as children of God who deserve the basic necessities of life, and as contributing members of a community, with special abilities and purposes who can support themselves and their families. This offers not only the means for life, but also a reason to live.
Good, huh? Yep. But to no avail. Weeks passed and I heard literally nothing about Spring Break, whether I was accepted to any trip, much less my first choice. Then just before J-term break, I received an e-mail informing me that I was accepted to the Chicago trip, my 3rd choice.
Now it's two weeks into spring semester, I'm a little on the swamped side, and spring break is rolling along...until yesterday when Dr. Mitchell interrupted my lunch at the DC. He just sat down at my table full of 2nd South girls and started talking to me and I was thoroughly amused. He recommended a book, saying something like "I'm going to suggest this to all of you..." and I thought he meant my macro class. Then I realized that he thought I was going on the Nicaragua trip. I told him that I wasn't accepted, that I was going to Chicago instead. He just said, "It's warmer in Nicaragua." Basically, he said there's a spot open and he wants me to come. WHAT?!
At first I was thinking that it was impossible--heck, you can't back out of these things! Once you accept, you're in. Then I get this e-mail today, saying that Dr. Mitchell requested that I join the SIFE trip to Nicaragua. SHEIZ! No kidding.
So although it was a hard thing to "abandon" Chicago, it was really an easy choice to make. I don't hastily credit God for bunches of stuff that happens, but some things "work together for good" like I could never even imagine. This is absolutely sick.