I want to note something in regards to one of my quotes in the below article.  I made a over-generalized quote “You go to other parts of the world, and they’ve never heard of
Jesus. They don’t know what church is. They are illiterate, and
they’re starving.” 
While those things are true in some places, it is not the case in most of Africa.
  I said this not thinking specifically of Africa but as I mentioned, in very general terms, too general and I would like to apologize.

Kenya (according to the country’s Fast Facts on CRWRC’s website page on Kenyalinked on the sidebar of this blog) has a literacy of over 85 percent.  Kenyans are 45% Protestant and 33% Roman Catholic and 10% Muslim  which  means nearly all of them can read, and quite near all of them not only have heard of Jesus, but probably either Follow him, or revere him as a great Prophet.  Only 50% of Kenyans are below the poverty line, which means well over half are not starving.

Many parts of Africa have a higher percentage of people with advanced degrees than Americans do, and most African countries are either predominantly Christian or Muslim, or have had missionaries there in droves for years.

 I would like to thank Holly for bringing this error to my attention.  I encourage each of you to do the same if you see something that you find hard to believe or know to be incorrect.  Thank you for learning with me.

One of my hometown papers published an article about me and my trip.  Here’s a link if you’re interested.  It doesn’t include the photos, but it’s fun.  Enjoy!

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OK, so the link isn’t working so I’ve included the text here.  It’s from Sunday June 16 in the Southwest Daily Times.

Thompson helping people throughout the world

By TINA BRIDENSTINE
Southwest Daily Times

Liberal High School graduate Amy Thompson took her first mission trip in 1994, two years after her high school graduation. Now, after several other mission trips, Thompson will be taking a trip of a different sort. This time, the trip will last at least a year.

“I leave for Africa July 16,” Thompson said. “I have about two months of training before I actually start working.”

After her training in Canada, the United States, Mali, Africa, and Senegal, Africa, Thompson will be based in Nairobi, Kenya, spending 30 to 40 percent of her time in rural Africa.

When she does start working, she will be serving as a bridger for Christian Reform World Relief Committee, or CRWRC. This means she will train North American volunteers to prepare them for the cultural transition from North America to Kenya.

“I will be with them for their trips and help them process through what they’re doing, what they’re experiencing, and prepare them to come back to North America,” Thompson said.

Though this is the biggest mission trip she has been on, it is not the first. Other major mission trips she has gone on have been in Haiti, Japan and Mexico.

They are experiences she describes simply as “life changing.”

“It’s an opportunity to see life in another light, to realize that not everybody is like me,” Thompson said. “You grow up in rural America and, whether you realize you’re making the assumptions or not, you have these assumptions that people have similar experiences.”

People here may assume that everyone grows up with a decent school, a normal family, and a church to go to or at least knowledge of Jesus, but a trip to another country can show how wrong those assumptions are.

“You go to other parts of the world, and they’ve never heard of Jesus. They don’t know what church is. They are illiterate, and they’re starving,” she said.

One of the reasons she goes on the mission trips, she said, is because she feels it is her responsibility.

“I have a responsibility as a Christian, as a human being, to share what I’ve been given. That doesn’t mean to go in and do everything my way, but it means to go someplace and learn from them and learn how best I can help them, however that may be,” Thompson said.

It is the service aspect of the mission trips that appeals to her, she said, and that was also the aspect that drew her to the trips when she was younger.

However, sometimes she said it does take sacrifice to go on the trips.

“The first two were easy. I was in college. The others, I just made that my vacation time,” she said. “This is completely different. I quit my job. I sold some of my belongings, and everything else is in storage. This is a whole year ­ a year minimum ­ that I’m going. So this is very different this time.”

However, Thompson also said she thinks she is well prepared for the trip. She received her undergraduate degree in communications from Sterling College in 1996, and recently she went on to get her master’s degree in communications from Bethel University. Her master’s degree focused on cross-cultural communication, she added.

Aside from the school, she also said the jobs she has had have helped her prepare for the experience.

“It’s going to be really exciting. It’s an organization that believes in me, and they’re training me well so that it’s a situation where I’m well supported,” Thompson said.

She also explained that mission trips and service projects are continually evolving, and they are not always what people think of when they think of mission trips.

“It used to be that a mission trip or a service project meant that you went somewhere and you built something and you came home,” Thompson said.

Though those sort of mission trips still happen sometimes, many of them are not like that now, including the mission trip she will be going on in July.

“The volunteers I will be working with are more white collar. They’re coming to Kenya to train people to use computer systems, to train them in management practices,” she said. “They may not build anything tangible that you can say, ‘Oh, I built that!’ And I think that’s really exciting to be able to be a part of a service and help other people realize that they can serve no matter what their skills are.”

Thompson said she sees herself always doing service work and mission projects in some capacity.

Though she hasn’t lived in Liberal since she graduated from high school, she does come back to visit her parents, Kenneth and Julia Thompson. She concluded by saying she wanted to extend a thank you to the town she grew up in.

“A thank you to the community I’ve been a part of most of my life, and the people who are so encouraging and supportive. Liberal is a different community now than when I was there,” she said. “It’s very culturally diverse now, and that’s exciting to see, to watch people embrace that and be a part of that.”

To read Thompson’s blog, visit rubyslipperlady.wordpress.com, or for more information about CRWRC, visit www.crwrc.org.

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