Saturday, April 19

Blogs....what are they for?


For now, read "My Letter" concerning Vision Trekk's mission and my semi-transformative experience with it:

"I've been trying to figure out a way to articulate what Vision Trekk meant to its very first trekkers. Most of us expressed a need for adequate articulation, unsure how to verbalize our time in Montana with those who didn't go. "Leadership retreat" has been a term to fall back on. It's easy, it's tangible, it completely misleads those to whom it's spoken. Many have tried explaining the activities: "We snowshoed, built igloos, hiked up a mountain....there was also a lesson time each morning." Oh great, in case snowshoeing with Bethel leaders sounded "bible camp"-y, that "lesson time" comment will for sure bring them in. No....something more is needed. The words are needed to express....we need a Vision Trekk Shakespeare, or maybe just an Anne Lamott. Although I am neither of those great writers, this, my friends, is my attempt to give Vision Trekk, Montana 2008, its due justice.

The marketing for Vision Trekk was something like this: "Don't take a break, take a risk!" "Who am I? Who is God? Are these questions you're interested in? Come to Vision Trekk."
But when I read those words and looked into Vision Trekk, I didn't see the cheesy, catchy phrases. I saw "Hopeless about the state of the world? Want to try to do something about it? Find Vision in Montana."
It was not just a trip reeling in volunteers for a non-profit organization. It was not just a mission trip that pretends it will change someone else's life, but really changes yours. Vision Trekk was admitting it: this trip is all about YOU. But not just for your own sake, but for the sake of the world and each individual in it.
It was an investment in a future generation, a generation that would contrive and start new and better non-profit organizations, one that would raise up counselors and teachers and guides to help the broken...which is everyone. An investment in individuals, seeing the potential individuals have if they can work together as a collective, using each's God-given strengths. Vision Trekk could see the upcoming people that would raise enough money to stop world hunger,....recognizing the importance of "Church" in a generation that no longer accepted the average church in America, a community that can infiltrate the world with its kindness and love and help, one that can train them in practical relationship building, as well as and organizational formation,, and spiritual ministry , one that works on peoples' hearts, but doesn't just allow that work to sit there: it asks it to go out and give that work to others, each in her own unique way. I saw in Vision Trekk a program that was not just a "learning time", not just a "wilderness excursion". It was a Vision. It was the hope I gave up on a few years back, brought back to me in a practical and do-able light. A hope that may in fact be obtainable...hope for hope. A vision that starts small, but if scattered all over the world, if one person shares all of this with one more and that one with one was a tangible, palpable Hope, one that made the movie "Paying It Forward" look like jello compared to the turtle cheesecake Vision Trekk was offering. A hope I couldn't have known until I had gone on this wasn't just a volunteer program asking me to be a participant in someone else's dream to save the hopeless world, a dream that I didn't see working in the long run, a dream that was too idealistic to draw me in. My hopelessness was realistic in my opinion, what can one person do? Other one-persons will do the volunteer work, and have been doing it....and there still hasn't been change in the world. The world still reeks with pure evils....plural. Evils that pervade families, pervade friendships, pervade roommates, pervade colleges and highschools and junior highs. Evils that pervade individuals and nations alike, evils that pervade the very food we eat, the food that millions of others don't have. Evils that rape, that beat, that abuse, that use-up, that take the soul from the average Christian and toss it on the grill like raw meat, 20 minutes of turning and basting should take the hope right out of it.
Vision Trekk is a bran-new program that's been in the making for 9 years. It invests in a generation of Nuclear Men and Women, to use Henry Nouwen's words. "[The Nuclear Person] is confronted not only with the most elaborate and expensive attempts to save the life of one man by a heart transplantation, but also with the powerlessness of the world to help when thousands of people die from lack of food. [They are] confronted not only with man's ability to travel rapidly to another planet, but also with his hopeless impotence to end a senseless war on this planet. [They are] confronted not only with high-level discussions about human rights and Christian morality, but also with torture chambers in [various broken countries]." (Wounded Healer, 10).
This generation in America is dying for a change. Not just a political change, but a religious one. Religion in America has lost a lot of its credibility with many of those the age of 18-25. But they are not against a spiritual presence. They are not against God, they are against those who claim to be God's people and do his work by nothing more than what seems at times self-gratifying worship services and a 5% tithe. If that is all God can do through his people, many of them want nothing to do with that God. But is that really all God can do through his people? Vision Trekk is a new people, a revitalized endurance to do the work of God, to broaden our shoulders and not brush off the responsibility. To raise a Kingdom. "