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North Americans are really good at problem solving.  However, when we see people in other countries living in poverty with a variety of problems that poverty brings, we often try to jump in to fix the people.  Jesus, rather than just fixing problems, spoke grace and salvation into people’s lives that were experiencing problems.  We should listen to people, come to understand their pain, and offer a shoulder to cry on rather than just trying to fix them and their problems.

In this short clip from Session 1 of the Missions Dilemma, Oscar Muriu points out how great Americans are at fixing things and having compassion, but also how our culture can stand in the way of truly helping people.

“What I need is a brother who comes and gives me a shoulder to cry on, gives me space to express my pain but doesn’t try and fix me.” – Oscar Muriu


  • Anne says:

    My husband and I live among and work with African refugees in the USA as missionaries. Sometimes I catch myself doing this very thing – fixing. Unfortunately, it almost always creates dependency, false expectations, and loss of relationship. Those of us from the West are so idealistic, so passionate to conquer, and constantly improve our way of life. We blunder through sensitive situations, trying to just move one and feel less. Africans, on the other hand, seem to allow themselves to understand reality in a different way, often a deeper way. I appreciate their acceptance of difficulty, their quickness to pray and just sit and cry with people. One man told us, “you never really know someone unless you stand over a grave and cry with them.” There is that necessity to experience life together in order to really know each other. All aspects of life – the good and the tearful. By God’s grace, in a healthy community, I believe there is much we can learn from each other.
    I wrote a blog post awhile back on this theme: Close Enough to Love
    Thank you again for this post.
    Anne –

    • ITEC Team says:

      Anne – thank you for your comments. What you shared is something that many people struggle with, even when trying to do the “right” thing. The more we experience in missions, the more we see how important relationship is. When we can relate to the hurts, struggles, challenges, and triumphs of other people, we realize that they don’t need to be fixed, they just need to be loved and accepted.
      Thank you for the work you are doing, and keep learning!
      Jaime Saint

  • KC says:

    I tried yesterday & today to view this clip, but it won’t play for me. Can you help?

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  • Thank you so much. Having worked in Haiti, Jamaica, Mombasa, Europe and in the USA, in medical missions have seen these very truths of Pastor Muriu played our over and over. God bless you as you mentor us to do it His way, not man’s.