In this Reddit post, a 15-year-old shares his dilemma about being forced to participate in a mission trip to Costa Rica. Here’s the full story.
A Religious Upbringing
The Original Poster (OP) is a 15-year-old raised in a religious Christian family.
OP’s mother, who is a devout Christian, believes that all children should be raised with the same philosophy of Jesus’s love.
OP used to be a Christian but stopped practicing when he was younger due to personal issues. He mentioned that he also has religious trauma from things he was told as a child.
Children Should Be Able to Make Up Their Own Minds
OP firmly believes that kids shouldn’t be raised in religious environments and should be able to make their own decisions or that religious content should be kept to a minimum and not drilled into their heads.
The story begins when OP’s parents announced a few months ago that this summer, the entire family will travel to Costa Rica to serve at a children’s center.
OP wasn’t sure how he felt about it, but once they went to the first meeting with the group leaders and organization leaders and the whole group with 20 other people, OP says he understood that this trip is essentially intended to persuade kids.
A Missionary Group
The leader of the missionary group said that “The most important thing is that we need them to know that Jesus loves them.”
OP says that might not sound too horrible, but after they got into the planes, it became obvious that the real goal was to convert the children rather than help them.
OP says every activity throughout the day—from eating to playing to crafts—was about Jesus and God in some way.
He shared an instance where you might bounce a ball while playing and then recite a line from the Bible, or the crafts might clearly discuss God’s love.
Indoctrinating Children Instead of Helping Them
Since literally every step of the process was spent indoctrinating children instead of helping them, OP felt like he was going against his own principles.
OP says he has no problem helping children, but he questioned how he could do that at this facility where everything revolves around indoctrinating youngsters with Christianity.
As a result, OP has been vehemently opposed to the whole situation ever since that first meeting.
Plus, OP mentioned that he is gay and an atheist and felt uneasy about the whole trip. He couldn’t stop as his parents forced him to go.
He Was Forced to Go
During the whole trip, OP was annoyed and was questioning Christianity and its beliefs, which made his parents furious. They believed OP was being disrespectful and self-centered and that he should focus on children and “their eternities with God” rather than OP’s “petty grievances.”
OP says he wants to help children, but not in this way, and in his opinion, this is harming rather than helping.
OP took to Reddit to ask if he was wrong for what he did, and several Redditors sided with OP and said that he was not wrong.
Try Volunteering Instead
One Reddit user wrote, “So sorry you are in this position. Unfortunately, you have to hang on until you graduate and can move out. Your parents are brainwashed, too, and will not understand your thinking. They will likely constantly try to undermine your efforts to be a free thinker as they will believe you will go to hell if you are not a believer.”
Another Redditor commented, “I also left the church of my parents, and both my sister and I are part of the LGBT community. I know it’s hard, but honestly, living by your truth is going to be worth it. You should look into a volunteering program that helps the locals and does not provide religious propaganda. Volunteering is a great feeling. It changed my life.”
So what do you think? Was OP wrong for being negative and questioning in the missionary trip?
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / file404. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.