Safety & Security Tips for Mission Travel

Safety & Security Tips for Mission Travel

In less than 2 weeks, our team will be leaving for Haiti! A while back, each of us attended a security training at NorthPoint Church, presented by Brian Webb. I also just finished his book, ”Open My Eyes”, which elaborates on the information he shared at the training through the lens of mission travel. As I’ve been reflecting upon the material, I couldn’t help but share it with you. It’s simply too important not to pass along, and easy to share, with the possible reward of a life saved. Therefore, this month’s story is a little different from those past. It’s a bit serious and maybe even a bit frightening to learn about the realities of security around the world, but as Brian mentions often throughout his book, “With proper training and awareness of the dangers you will not only be safer but it will be possible to live life nearly free of fear!”

Brian’s bio is extensive, (and can be seen at the end of the story), but here are a few highlights: He served for nearly a decade as the National Program Manager for a government special operations program, he’s managed covert operations throughout the US and numerous foreign countries for 20+ years, he was certified as a Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Instructor, being the primary instructor for government law enforcement special operations since the mid 90’s, and is considered one of the world's leading experts in international narcotics smuggling and airborne counter terrorism operations. In short, he’s the guy I want to learn from when it comes to travel safety and security! Likewise, I’m so thankful he’s found a way to share his experience in training others how to prepare and equip themselves for dangerous situations.

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How could a simulation help me feel poverty?

How could a simulation help me feel poverty?

As many know, I’m co-leading a mission trip back to Haiti this June (Yay!). As part of our leader training we had the opportunity to experience a poverty simulation lead by HOPE International. I was eager to partake in the experience for the first time, not knowing at all what it would entail. I was pleasantly surprised (and surprise is the name of the game)! We were taken through an immersive experience forcing us to make decisions and actively partake in roles to stay alive. It really hit home for me. After all, imagining what it would feel like to live in extreme poverty while carrying the immense heartbreak and burden it brings, is what ultimately drove me to walking with people living in poverty in the first place. I’ve often thought, “I don’t know what I would do if I were forced to survive on the streets”. This simulation helped uncover some of that in a deeper way - so much so, that I eagerly want to share it with you! 

In speaking with Ashley Dickens, the HOPE experience facilitator afterwards, I learned she’s already written a story about the experience and I decided there’s no better words than hers to share it with you!

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The Reflecting Pool - How to help the poor without hurting them

The Reflecting Pool - How to help the poor without hurting them

Here we are, at The Reflecting Pool, a place where we can consider how best to serve others through reflections, learning, questions, and dialogue! Occasionally, we’ll dive-in to step away from traditional Lovelight stories and reflect upon what we’re learning, how we’re helping others, and what other content you’d like to see. I’ve been working with nonprofits since last spring and this is already my eleventh story, so I feel like it’s time to take another dip in the pool. :)

When I set out on this journey to work with the vulnerable, I didn’t know what to expect other than that the journey would be more than I could ever expect! Soon after I started preparing for a mission trip to Haiti, I was exposed to a different way of looking at poverty alleviation. I was forced to think about what’s actually working and what isn’t. All of a sudden my perspective shifted. My eyes opened. My lens cleared of fog I didn’t know was there - and I want to share some of that with you!

So, let’s put on our glasses - that fog is about to clear!

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Serving without Hurting

Serving without Hurting

Three years ago I and some friends visited a local food distribution facility that provides food for those in need. My sincere feelings of compassion for those who don’t have food led me to volunteer that day. Yet to my surprise, I left their facility enraged at what I’d seen. We came to find workers throwing the food we just prepared directly in the trash. To say I was appalled is an understatement and I quickly started firing questions as to why they would throw perfectly good food away when there were people on the streets hungry for something to eat. Met with apathetic responses, my friends and I instantly started to devise a plan to help distribute some of the food to the poor, so they wouldn’t throw it all away. The plan was simple; we'd hand out the food directly to Atlanta's homeless, ourselves. It was a good idea in theory. 

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