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Friday, January 05, 2007

World Missionary Needed: No Travel Required

Oprah has been in the news lately, with the schools she had built and is opening this week in South Africa. You can Google it and get several hundred hits. I think it’s wonderful she wants to do this and apparently it fulfills some promise she made to Nelson Mandela some time ago. When asked why she didn’t build a program in the U.S. she stated (inclusively) that people/children in the U.S. have a sense of entitlement, as if they are entitled to both material things and a good education.

I translate that to mean: the kids in the U.S. don’t DESERVE it.

I’m not a HUGE Oprah fan, I never really have been. Sure I’ve seen her show and I’ve cried as she’s given people incredible gifts and fulfilled wishes for many people. But this recent media blitz just reinforced my own feelings about the self-defined philanthropy of these mega-stars.

Let’s talk a bit about entitlement, shall we? Does Oprah honestly think I believe she doesn’t feel entitled to what she has…fame and fortune alike? Furthermore, does she HONESTLY believe there are no ‘deserving’ children in the U.S. for this type of program?

She can do what she wants with her money and fame, my question is about the hundreds of media that were ‘invited’ to this grand opening. Why make it such a showy event if it’s truly done for the betterment of a nation? Clearly there is an advantage and potential gain from this media frenzy.

I know there is a need for ‘mission’ work of all kinds to be done worldwide, but I still affirm that there are needs right here in my city that need to be met. There are homeless people, hungry people, abused people, sick and dying people (children included) right here in this small city.

If your call is to go start a school in Africa…go, by all means…but don’t ever overlook the needs right there in your hometown. You may find your mission work as close as next door, or even in your own home!

Have a missional Friday!


Tami Boesiger said...

I think Oprah's saying American kids wouldn't appreciate it, not that they don't deserve it.

Anonymous said...

What is it they say? Charity begins at HOME. Which I interpret to mean where you live. True, many American kids would not appreciate it, but so very many of them NEED it.

Dawn said...

Re: yesterday's post:

Being a p.k., I call my dad a successful pastor, even though he never pastored a large church. In fact, after he left each church, the next pastor gained from what he had planted - higher salaries, better parsonages. But he can go back to any of those church (or maybe most of them - there were a couple of really rough ones), and find adults who were teens when he was there, parents who give him lots of credit for those children still being there, being called back to help in funerals.

As for today - I think Jesus said to do our good deeds in secret. I don't think that involves having a t.v. crew recording it and splashing it al over the world.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you whole-heartedly. 100%!

absonjourney said...

Amen...and amen...and amen...


FarmgirlCyn said...

So true, Kim. Our mission field first begins in our own home, then our neighborhood, then the outer most parts of the earth. There are SO very many needs right here in my own little home town.

Anonymous said...

I do agree that much, MUCH needs to be done in Africa. But it does seem lately that media is allllll over the celebrities helping in other countries....Bono.....Madonna...Brad Pitt and Angelina...and you're right, there are many, many kids in the U.S. who need help also. I think it is great for Oprah to do this, but the media hype around it is wrong. I mean she obviously isn't using the media to ask American's to help her. Or is she? I mean she should definitely have enough money and resources at her fingertips to do all she needs to do. So, it looks like the purpose of the media hype is to make her look like a saint. There are so many wonderful, everyday citizens out here who spend each weekend working in a homeless shelter, or mentoring to children. There are so many who spend their evenings volunteering at a Children's Hospital. They do it out of the complete love in their hearts. And not many know. Those are the true heroes.

Swandive said...

Ok - I catch Oprah once in a blue moon. Really. And I don't think that much about her really, other than thinking about what it might be like to be someone like her or say Bill and Melinda Gates.

I agree with you - mission is at home and abroad.

The day that I recently did catch Oprah, her whole show was about her Angel Network that she and about a ba-zillion viewers raised enough money to build a whole community for people from the 9th district in New Orleans. That seems like its right here in the US. And she did this in conjunction with habitat for humanity, which is in about every place in this country.

Here's what I think. If everyone just responded to mission, in the way the God placed it on our very own heart, we could make a difference, wherever it is that we are called to do.

We cannot start to villify people like Oprah and Bono, just because they feel convicted to do the good works that they do and because the media can't get enough of their words and mugshots.

Bless you dear one.

Cool Mama said...

Hey Girlfriend...have to disagree with you on this one. I used to be a big Oprah watcher - just don't have time much anymore! The key is, that she also does do lots of good things in the states...and what I've liked is that she's honored and acknowledged all those 'little' people that are out there serving in schools, the hospitals etc. She continually honors teachers in the States - gives all sorts of gifts to them. So...I understand that it could look like she's just giving to another country, but in her defense, she has been very generous promoting all sorts of things for schools in the States( I wish she'd give some of that concern and cash to Canada...but that's another story!)...Anyways..I think her comment was more that we can tend to be complacent about what we have here, but overseas (especially focusing on third world countries) they KNOW the key to getting out of poverty is education. You have to admit...we have alot of kids ( and parents) atleast here in Canada, that don't seem to take our education as something priceless and to be valued. I think it's like anything, if we don't have to pay for it, we can tend to take it for granted. I don't think she was lambasting anyone...just stating an opinion. As far as the media being invited, personally, I think she is just trying to keep these issues of the third world in the spotlight. ( She did do the same thing with her Angel Network and her Teacher Awards - invited media to them too!) So..hope you're still my friend!

tam said...

I was JUST discussing this topic (serving God) yesterday...

I stated that sometimes I long to be doing work someplace, for God, building or helping or healing His Kingdom...somewhere. I would love to go on at least one overseas mission trip someday.

As I stated those words I was being reminded in my own mind by God, that my mission for Him is my relationship with Him, my Husband and my Children.

In that order.

Especially now while my marriage is young and my children are too...He has called me, personally, to those things first. After this, He reminded me, are my Grandparents who invested a great deal of time and effort into me (of which I never complain of caring for my Grandparents)...

Then, my elderly neighbors of whom we all adore and are in need often lately due to the husbands ill health.

Then, where ever else God calls me too...

I have only to listen.

tam said...

I meant to add that God's call for me is just that, for me.

Even if you are a wife and a mother or sister or daughter, He very well may have you someplace else, serving very differently...just maybe not Africa, or Asia.

Where ever He has placed you and what ever He has given to you to do, it is equally as important as the work done all over the long as it is in HIS Holy Name!