My darling, My daughter…
How are you, My beautiful child? I have missed you, I’ve been wondering where you have been. I feel as though I have spent so long watching you, being there for you, just waiting for you to notice Me.
You often feel that in a crowded room; you’re…
Pornography, swearing, dishonesty, lust, drug use, greed, masturbation, anger, pride, alcoholism, bitterness, gambling, prostitution, cheating, partying, idolatry, stealing…
Perhaps one or more of these things resounds with you and your heart. Perhaps you have felt the pain of…
Just want to share this article that was made by Stephanie Capper, An article featuring the mission trip we had - Jrm Youth Ministry- with the Aussies here on the Philippines… Its entitled “BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING”
THE SMELL hit her like a slap to the face.
The foul stench of human waste and leaking petrol stung her nostrils and her eyes began to tear as the true extent of what she saw hit her like a tonne of bricks.
Emaciated children peered at her from rickety shacks made of timber, plastic and corrugated iron.
There was no road, so she wandered through endless puddles of murky water littered with rubbish.
Standing in the slums of Manila, Tessa Neething was a long way from home.
“It was the worst place you could possibly imagine,” Tessa said.
“It honestly didn’t even feel real because it was so bad – it was absolutely shocking to think people actually lived like that.”
You could be forgiven for wondering what a blonde, blue eyed, beautiful teenager from the sun-soaked Gold Coast could possibly have been doing there.
Like other 16-year old girls on school holidays Tessa could have been relaxing at the beach, shopping with her friends and gossiping about boys.
But instead, like growing numbers of young Australians, she found herself face to face with the reality of human suffering on a mission trip to The Philippines.
“It was cool that we got to see where the money went from fundraisers at school and it was insane to see exactly how the money we had benefited anyone,” Tessa said.
“But likewise, it really hit us that if we weren’t there, they would still be living with these ailments, or they wouldn’t have eaten that meal.”
Stories like Tessa’s affirm the escalating social responsibility among Australian youth and the reality of young individuals living for the good of others in stark contrast with a consumerist society.
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics Australian Social Trends Voluntary Work Survey (2006) found that young Australians volunteered for the purpose of helping others, for personal satisfaction and to do something ‘worthwhile’ – and the number is growing.
Schools, churches and secular volunteer organisations provide aid outreach programs of rapidly increasing popularity, which send students to impoverished developing countries, from the slums of East Asia to African states still stricken by war.
Yet Gen Y hasn’t fared well in recent profiling studies, which have labelled the generation as lazy, selfish and narcissistic, which Volunteering Australia’s 2007 Young People and Volunteering report acknowledged is a societal misunderstanding.
“Unfortunately, many misconceptions about young people in society still exist, such as young people are selfish, uninvolved, are incomplete or not fully developed people and dependant,” the report said.
“These limiting misconceptions do not lend themselves to a culture of youth involvement and participation and additionally, society often downplays the role that young people have in performing voluntary services.”
Tessa said she felt Generation Y was delving into two extremes when it came to social awareness and consumerism.
“I think there is definitely an increase in the amount of young people going on mission trips but I think there’s still room for improvement,” Tessa said.
“Our generation has been labelled the most selfish but we’re also seeing it become more generous in the same way,”
“It’s the two extremes – we want everything, or we go on mission trips,”
“We’re greedy, or we’re selfless.”
Youth Pastor Molly Goodhew, of Elevation Church, attributes the increase in social responsibility in youth to exposure of the reality of human suffering through the internet and social media sites.
“I think that young people are so much more aware of what is happening in the world outside their own,” Molly said.
“[Through the internet] they see images and situations that at times can be quite horrific, and the difference now is they do not just bypass these situations and real life stories or pretend it doesn’t affect them.”
Molly said from her socio-behavioural observations at church, university and of students during work experience as a high school teacher, her peers tended to believe that with privilege comes responsibility.
“They don’t just see the pain, they want to help be an answer to the pain – the awareness leads to action, and action leads to change and this creates a ripple effect amongst their peers,”
While Tessa said the experience was confronting and at times brought her a sense of guilt due to her comparatively privileged life, her circumstances allowed her to help others, which gave her hope.
“We kept being told it was not our fault we were born into a wealthy family and not to feel guilty, but because had so much, it was our chance to go out there and be a blessing to other people,”
“Blessed to be a blessing – that was our motto while we were over there,”
“In the bible it says go to the ends of the Earth, feed the poor and preach the gospel and it was so cool because we were actually doing that – we were actually feeding the poor and it felt amazing.”
When volunteers returned from Elevations’ mission to Zambia, they had a new appreciation for home and the privileges they had.
“I believe the biggest change was the realisation that in our culture we have access to so much ‘stuff’, and they have next to nothing – but their joy far outweighs the joy of many in countries like Australia,” Molly said.
“They are truly humbled that they were blessed enough to be born into a country where they have access to education and water at the drop of a hat.”
So great was the impact of the Zambia outreach on the members of Elevation Church that one particular volunteer was so affected they had to receive counselling to integrate back into Australian society.
“They just felt so guilty that they had so much here and couldn’t give it all to those in underprivileged countries,” Molly said.
But does this sense of social responsibility stem from religious affiliation?
“If you believe in God and are a Christian I definitely think a sense of social responsibility comes from here, but I don’t think it matters,” Molly said.
“I think all people have a social responsibility for the world around us, they have seen the atrocities happening all over the world, and they can’t ignore it.”
Molly said that regardless of faith or where we live, the modern world was changing.
“People can no longer turn a blind eye and that brings me so much hope and joy,” she said.
“Despite the fact that we live in a broken and hurting world, there are people who want to make a difference - Isn’t that a beautiful thing?”