A society is the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community. As disordered as it may seem the world has become one rather large and more or less ordered society. I remember sitting in the living room of the Earth Watch Institutes compound at Wamba, Kenya, which to me was pretty close to the end of the earth, and finding folks from Brainerd Minnesota had signed the quest book. This sign struck me at how small the world has become. Have you been to West Africa in the last 21 days?
I don’t believe that I am wrong about this – in my life time there was a time when it could have taken you 21 days to get to West Africa, or at least the place where you were going to visit there. I was involved in a conversation about a book written in 1962 in which the author spends a huge amount of time describing a flight from London to New York. The writing is great and makes you fell like you are on the flight but the conversation revolved around the amount of time spent in the description. One of the folks in the conversation said, “we need to remember that when that book was written, few of the people that would read that book had been or would be on a flight from London to New York for quite some time”. In fact few of the people reading the book would be on an airplane flying anywhere for quite a while. My first trip on a jet was between Minneapolis and Denver in 1971 and it was a huge deal. I wore a suit. They gave me champagne and a full meal. It took my parents and me 6 months to get the money to pay for the trip.
Sixty Two million Americans flew on all flights foreign and domestic in 1960. In 2010 the number was 720 million. Mission Societies can get on a plane and take folks over to some project somewhere and be home again in Perham MN or Newburg ND in a lot less than 21 days. So even though the world is becoming a large and ordered society it can still be a dangerous place as recent events show us. The ability and desire of Christians to do good works and advance the mission of the Gospel is imperative. Take the time to find out from those who know what the dangers are, what the result of your trip might be and whether or not it is efficacious. Call your District President or the Office of International Missions and see how your mission society can best serve in the larger society that needs “mission”.