THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL -Jennifer Neumann


It is a gift when Jesus breaks your heart for the things that break His heart.


He’s done this a number of times in my life, all of them altering the trajectory of my faith. One of those times was on my first mission trip.


That moment happened when we went to a tiny Haitian village tucked in a corner of the Dominican Republic, a country littered with acute contrasts. On one side, you have a lush, tropical paradise full of tourists and vacationers, escaping from their own reality to oceanfront paradise. On the other, just outside the peripheral of the resorts, abject poverty.


And in between, a wall.

The majority of Dominicans are poor…and the Haitians have even less…and this remains hidden from the guests living the life of beachside luxury. To make matters worse, the Dominicans have major animosity toward Haitians, cutting a deep ravine of segregation between the indigenous people groups.


As we stepped out of the gua-gua (the small, battered van that took our little tribe everywhere), it was that wall, spoiling the breathtaking landscape between our village and the sea below, that wrecked me. It wrecked me far more than the destitute village where our little missionary team played soccer on a dung and trash laden field. It wrecked me more than sitting on mud floors with the villagers and laughing at their stories.


That wall broke my heart.


But being on the other side of the wall lit up my soul.


The gift of Jesus breaking your heart is that the Holy Spirit then has incredible access to all your little, hidden spaces. You are unexpectedly and unashamedly displaced by the same Love that could not and will not be content with a broken world.


Jesus is all about the other side of the wall…and He wants us to be about the other side of the wall. Though I have yet to travel on a Come and See trip with BLESS, I have heard the stories firsthand from those who have. Stories about how it felt to be on the other side of the wall; of a country or a culture’s picturesque best. And while you will see both sides on a BLESS trip, the other side is the one that changes them.


As I listened to more stories shared yesterday at Mission Rev (Yes! I’m going to make the shameless plug that you need to go next time BLESS hosts one!!!), I heard it again. Come & See trips agree with the gospel of Jesus; that Love Himself gave everything to be on the other side of the wall with us, to go right into the middle of our desperate poverty and the muck of our sin-destroyed world - not to play and laugh and tell stories with us, but to radically clean up, transform us, and move us to His side of the wall. Then without asking or suggesting, he tells us to venture back across, to Go and Tell the others.


If God asks you on a Monday to get on a plane that Friday and your passport is current, then GO! He’s setting you up to be part of something amazing, heartbreaking and life-giving.


-Jennifer Neumann

BLESS AMBASSADOR




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