Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cajun Cookin’ and Camp Fire Smoke - That's Mission for Me, by Larry Savage

What does a Mission smell like? I understand the imagery, but the “smell” is very real to me. For me, it’s the home cooked Cajun meal served by families of the Homa Nation in Louisiana and the camp fire smoke during a youth mission trip to Heifer International in Arkansas.

You might remember the generous gift given by one of our Sunnyside families after the Katrina event. This was an important opportunity. Sunnyside organized a canvas of the storm area affected and selected the Homa Nation IndianTribe as the recipient of the grant. We organized a group of Sunnysiders to travel to the Homa Nation , to add our backs to the clean up. I wish the whole Sunnyside family could have been with us. There were so many in need. Yet, there was courage and determination within the Homa Nation. It was a great spiritual renewal for all.

At the end of our time within the Nation, we were invited to a going away dinner. Homa families brought their favorite foods to provide a real banquet. The smells of home cooked Cajun dishes and the fellowship within the tribe was a treasure.

I also had the opportunity to travel with our youth on a Mission trip to Arkansas where we did maintenance work around the Heifer International Farm. This was a different kind of focus. Painting fences and debugging gardens was the work. Time spent with our youth was the reward. Rebecca did a great job of organizing the trip and keeping the “missional” event in the forefront of the teenager’s minds…if that is possible.

I will always treasure a quiet walk with a young adult with a true Christian heart.

So, to me, the smell of Mission is very real. But, back to the figurative, I think a “Missional” church, maybe Sunnyside, may look different than it does now. Maybe our Gathering Space takes on the look of a “situation room”. The various missional activities having a space assigned for posting of recent activities, successes, assets (labor and $) in use,and key issues needing to be addressed. A center where we all can get updated on our external activities and, hopefully, find activities that are a good fit for us personally. It may not be a perfect fit but one that can take us forward.

I suspect that the eleven disciples, when challenged by Jesus to “…go and make disciples of all nations…” were very full of doubt and feelings of inadequacy Maybe, the missional spirit of a “situation room” type environment can slowly bring each of us put a toe in the water of mission.


  1. There is a story about a man who left his wife and children to go play music, left home and traveled the country. No net income, just bugged out. Lots of appreciative faces and immediate praise about the inspiring work he was performing.

    There is more to being grown up, both civilly and in Christ than that. Sometimes it means the less showy lifestyle of doing dishes, reading to the kids, providing a safe home and helping one's spouse. Sometimes it means commitment, effort, and long term planning and projects.

    You can't say this to a teenager, they won't understand, but it IS the reality. It requires elder people to witness to the youth, or the odd born concerning how to live a respectable prudent God blessed life. It is a good satisfying way to live and the incubator of our sustainable culture in the USA.

    I think being a father, a member of the local community and contributer to good creative works is a calling from God. If we have a mission, particularly as Presbyterians, it is to teach our community this truth.

  2. The previous comment, was by William Nash.


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