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Why You Should Go on a Short-Term Mission


Go to Africa? How about Peru? Maybe India? France? Not me, you say; I would have nothing to offer. Well, I used to think like that, too! But then God called me to go on a specific mission trip sponsored by our church. The church equipped us and so I went. Other people I knew went also. Each of us had a very individual experience, but all of us gained from that experience. Many of us continued to go on other short-term trips. Here are three reasons why I think you should also consider going on one of our upcoming church-sponsored trips.

Your view of others will change.

In the United States we don’t have daily challenges like in many other nations. With minimal exceptions our power stays on, our water is good to drink and comes into our homes, we have air-controlled environments, a roof over our heads and much to eat. In addition, we have many churches and the freedom to go there. We have access to Bibles and lots of books about the Bible, and people still talk openly about what they know of God in many circles. While some of that is changing, basically our lives as Christians are pretty easy. Our brothers and sisters in most other nations face many daily challenges that we do not. Being with them and encouraging them in small ways is very significant to them. Sharing the gospel with them and with their friends is very significant to them. Hearing their stories shows us how strong God has made them through their trials. Hearing their stories ignites our hearts to lay aside our own encumbrances and press forward. Being with them allows us to understand them in ways we cannot from a distance. God is calling us to relationship.

You will change.

When we connect with others as they minister, we also connect with them spiritually. They become true brothers and sisters in Christ, we become fellow laborers even for a short time, and we become burdened for their ministries. Our prayers change, and our desire to pray for them deepens. As we seek our common ground with those living in different cultures, our ideas are often challenged. Our love for each other will often grow as we wrestle with our notions of how God works, of cultural differences, and of our own prejudices and brokenness—and learn to set them aside for the furtherance of the Gospel. We find ways to restore dignity, to offer hope, to love as we share and pray with others cross-culturally. They enrich us as well in the same ways. We come away challenged to grow deeper and depend more upon the Lord in our daily lives.

Your view of God will change.

Perhaps best of all we come away from even a short-term ministry with a sense that God is bigger than we thought. He personally reveals Himself to us in surprising ways. One time I was in NYC and we were collecting salvation decisions for the local church so they could follow up. I sat down randomly next to a young girl. We were filling out a card. Her first name was Susan. Mine was too. Her middle name was Lee. Mine was too. Her last name was White. Mine was too. Only God could engineer a meeting like that, and I told her she must be very special to Him. I came away with a tender view of God I did not have before. On another trip a man loomed behind me, his hands reached for my neck. He stopped, said “You are protected,” and ran away. I found a big God that day who goes behind me and before me always. On another trip, I had a medical issue and had to have minor surgery. A friend was there who took care of me; she said she didn’t know until that day why God had asked her to come on the trip. We both felt God’s great hand of lovingkindness and provision that day. Another time…well….you really need to go for yourself. I have many more stories, but let’s just say that every time I’ve taken a trip I have experienced God in new and often amazing ways. We go out looking to see what we can do and God does use us. But we come back KNOWING more of the depth, the height, the width of the Love of God and its unshakeable availability for every man, woman, and child on the earth.