When I was speaking with someone from my church about my summer plans, I told him that I was going to Detroit on a mission trip. His response was, “You’re going to a third-world country.” At first I was confused, I repeated that I was going to Detroit, Michigan. He then said, “Yes I understand that, but it is like a third-world country.”
I have a feeling based on this conversation, and some of the pictures we saw at the pre-trip meeting in January, that there are going to be a lot of needs that we are going to try and address. I believe that there is going to be a lot of poverty. When I googled “Detroit Michigan Problems”, I found that Detroit is one of the most violent cities in the U.S., and youth account for a lot of that violence. We are going to have some day camp experiences working with children. What can we do to influence these younger children to be more peaceful? The youth there probably don’t have the same access to resources and support systems that we do. We will have to reflect God’s light to these youth, and share and reinforce His message of peace.
Violence is just one of many social problems that we will see in Detroit. I heard once, “If you give a man a fish, he has food for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he has food for a whole lifetime.” How can we teach the people we encounter in Detroit to fish? Addressing the source of social problems provides better, more lasting solutions than simply offering handouts to cover up those problems.