So you are going on a mission trip! It is time for God to use you to accomplish His purposes and advance His kingdom. Are you excited? You should be. Are you worried about raising support? You are not alone. Why are you going? What is your motivation? What type of experience are you looking for?
Mission trips often bring about changes in the participants. It may change how he or she views the world, or how he or she understands God. The changes brought about in the lives of missions-goers, however, is not the main motivation for participating in mission trips. We should remain focused on God and His purposes for the trip, rather than focused on ourselves. Ask yourself why you are going on this trip. Although experiencing and serving in a different culture may open a participant's eyes, this result should be secondary to the ultimate goal for the trip. How can you see what God's doing when you're focused on what is happening inside yourself? Concentrate on what you see God doing.
Short-term Mission Trips (STMT) can involve you in construction, evangelism, teaching, medical work and many other areas. Do you have a particular skill that will enable you to contribute something to the Team when you participate? Do not think you need to be a gifted engineer to work on a construction project. Just your presence brings the intangibles such as encouragement and support to the brethren you work with. The more you feel you have made a significant contribution, the more you will be motivated to participate on a second and third trip in the future!
STMT opens your eyes. Few of us are not aware of the depth of our blindness. When you are exposed to new cultures, new people, and new ways of seeing and doing things, your eyes are opened, you experience a paradigm shift, and your world is expanded. When you step into a world of need in which spiritual things are much more present and evident than we sometimes care to admit in our comfort zone, you are forced to depend on God in new ways. STMT builds faith. It requires faith at every phase. From the moment the decision is made (I will go) until you step out of the plane from the return flight, your faith is tested and grown.
If you have never participated on a STMT, thank God that you are considering it! This could be the beginning of a journey that will stretch you beyond the level of faith you now have.It is the most rewarding spiritual activities you will ever experience. Is God calling you to go?