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New Perspective on Stateside Mission Work

By Zak Harris

I serve with a mission organization called Healing Nations (previously known as Hungry For Life USA) and have been for four years. We connect churches in the US with a missions partners around the globe and help them build long-term and meaningful relationships with one another. At its core, this means sending teams regularly to maintain those relationships. I’ve helped many local churches in the States to develop these long-term relationships and I've managed relief and development work in developing nations. During the past few years, I’ve worked in Uganda, Tanzania, Honduras, Guatemala, and Haiti.

In a strange enough coincidence, I have been a staff member at Healing Nations for as long as Redeeming Life has been a local church. My wife (Tracy) and I were learning and growing at Redeeming Life’s sending church when discussions of planting a new church–what would become Redeeming Life–first began. We had no interest in being involved up until their first meeting when I felt strangely compelled to attend. It was after that first gathering, (when we discussed what planting a church might look like) that Tracy and I felt a strong impression that this was where we needed to be, and so our growing family (Noel – 4, Norah – 2, Aria – 8 months) has been with Redeeming Life ever since.

As some staffing was changing but the serious need for mission work in my local community was not, it became clear that God was opening a door for me to step in and serve my church more (a few hours per week), using the skills and talents I’ve developed over the past few years at Healing Nations.

What a shift in perspective for me! With Healing Nations, I’ve spent time acting as a liaison between our field partners and the US churches that we’ve connected. That involves logistical planning, lots of administration work, and sometimes standing in the brink between two groups who both love God immensely but cultural differences mean they want to express that in ways that are completely bizarre in the eyes of the other.

Now with Redeeming Life I’ll be on the receiving end of the mission teams for the first time. I believe this will give me a new perspective into the work I do for Healing Nations and domestic mission work. At the same time, my experience with sending teams with Healing Nations allows me to understand the perspective of the teams that we’ll be receiving better. I hope that perspective will help us at Redeeming Life to develop a more robust missional culture. What an opportunity!

All my work with Healing Nations is in a self-supported position, so I am familiar with the added joy of getting to build a support team to partner in the work that I’ll be doing at Redeeming Life. I love mission work. I love mission teams. And oddly, I love logistical details. So I love that I still get to do what I do with Healing Nations, but I also get to do more mission work right in my own community with my church.

Zak A. Harris

* We need Zak’s help with incoming mission teams this seasons. Please consider praying for him, looking into how you can follow the ministry he’s doing in Utah, and financially supporting this ministry so we can pay Zak for his time. Learn more about how to support Zak here.