Now that’s a loaded question. It’s both a reflective and forward-thinking question.
You can look back on your life and ask “What if?” What if I hadn’t quit softball in college? What if I had never gone on that mission trip to New Zealand?
Instead of using this as a reflective question, you can be intentional about imagining a different future and better reality. What if I trained for a half-marathon? What if went back to school for a master’s degree? What if this city was a gateway for education and opportunity?
We’ve spent a few weeks asking and answering a multitude of questions here about Mae Sot. What are the problems the people here are facing? What obstacles stand in people’s way? How do they need? What do we have to offer? Who needs the most help?
Now we’re on to the next step. Now it’s time to ask “What if?” What if these people had computer skills? What if more people knew English? What if we sold motorized bikes? What if we opened a restaurant and employed Thais and Burmese people? What if we trained and certified housekeepers?
The Journey is actually divided into 4 phases: Research – Experimentation – Implementation – Scalability. We are moving into Phase 2: Experimentation. After all our research it’s time to ask “What If?” and start experimenting with some of our ideas and solutions. This isn’t your typical missions trip. We could spend 10 hours a day playing with kids in the village, but we’re trying to split our time up so that we can develop long-term plans to help these kids. We’re picking ministry opportunities with which we can commit to serve consistently over these next couple of months, but we are also simultaneously developing business plans that can fund more ministry, create jobs for those in need, and educate and train people to make better lives for themselves.
It’s different. We are trying something completely new as we blend discipleship, missions, and sustainable businesses. Not only are each of the participants on the team finding a way to contribute in ministry and developing a business plan, they are engaging in deep community and discipleship. Each participant is undertaking 2 personal projects: a creative project and an intellectual project. One guy is learning and developing his photography skills as his creative project and reading and teaching himself how to write HTML code as his intellectual project.
We’re studying business on Monday mornings. I have personally gained some incredible knowledge about microeconomics that’s relevant and applicable to my goals for being here in Thailand. On Tuesday night’s we have our Spiritual Formation class. We’re reading and discussing deep topics like overcoming fears, being sons and daughters of God the Father, and living out our faith to see the Kingdom of God come to where ever we find ourselves. Friday mornings are dedicated to learning more about the Bible. I may have had the opportunity to sit in on tons of Bible classes in my degree program, but for many this is all brand new information. We’re trying to cover the basics and teach people how to ask good questions, engage with Scripture in new ways, and walk away applying the Words of God to our daily lives and ministries.
So are we busy? Yes we are. Do I feel a little over my head sometimes as I help Jimmy start this program and lead this team? You betcha. But I’ve asked the question, “What if?” enough to know that this effort is absolutely necessary. What if we don’t help our new friends in the refugee camp? What if we don’t set-up a business license for our contacts to use to fund their ministry? What if we decided it was all too complicated and walked away? What if we left this reality unchanged?
That’s unacceptable. My generation wants to give more to this world and this world needs more people to face the tough stuff. I believe it’s more important to ask “What if we did give it all to see these realities changed?”