How A Short-Term Mission Trip Changed Me
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

How A Short-Term Mission Trip Changed Me

Why I'm advocate for these opportunities despite criticisms of their effectiveness.

585
How A Short-Term Mission Trip Changed Me
Emily Hoschar

Short-term mission trips catch a lot of heat in the eyes of some. There are entire books, seminars and humorous satirical YouTube videos dedicated to illustrating the possible damaging effects of short-term mission trips. As someone who has gone on a handful of short-term mission trips with the plan of continuing to participate in these trips, I have done a great deal of searching, asking and praying about the risks and benefits of these opportunities.

In each of these answer-searching quests, I have come out with the same conclusion to the question, “Are short-term mission trips helpful or hurtful?” It depends. In my unofficial opinion, the outcome of a mission trip depends on the mindset and goals of the participants. If you are embarking on a mission trip to enlighten another culture on why ours is the best, this is not helpful. If your attitude and heart have a “my way is the only way” attitude, this is not helpful.

However, if you are entering into this journey in an act of obedience to what you discern is God’s call for you, this is good. If you are entering into the trip with an open mind and heart, ready to hear, see, taste and experience the richness of another culture, this is also a good sign. Short-term mission trips are much less about you making a profound impact on a certain place, but rather about that place (and God) making a profound impact on you and your heart.

I do not want you to read this and think I am saying a mission trip is all about you. I have many opinions on how short-term trips should be executed and the type of work that probably isn’t helpful. That is for another article, the main focus here is the attitude of the participant. The attitude should absolutely be a selfless, serving and giving one. I do not believe we should ever enter a trip with a, “What can you do for me” mindset, but the opposite mindset can be one resembling a savior complex. The kind of helpful attitude I am proposing is one that sees, feels, asks questions and responds to the expressed needs and concerns of a culture rather than an attitude of giving which already assumes we know what is best.

My point is that a short-term mission trip is an act of learning and growing through an experience, not an opportunity to revolutionize the place you are working. Short-term mission trips are not about you changing the world, but about how seeing the world changes you. My short-term mission trips changed me in two significant ways.

It changed my perspective on my little world.

My mission trips, mainly to Honduras, broadened my entire view of the world. It was the furthest I had ever been from home and the culture was radically different. My significantly impaired view of how the world around me worked was radically changed. If you are embarking on a mission trip to another culture, be prepared to have your mind, opinions and perspective altered. In the process of helping people who seem to have so little, you realize how much you have. You also realize what you are seriously lacking as well. These trips made me realize I have far too much ‘stuff,’ and not nearly enough gratitude, patience, and compassion.

My eyes were opened to the devastation in the world around me.

I grew up hearing “there are kids in Africa who don’t have food” and similar mantras from adults that were trying persuade me to eat my vegetables. Cognitively, I knew the world around me did not live as well as I did, but this knowledge met emotions and wrecked my heart when I experienced it firsthand. Read all the statistics and watch all of the heart-wrenching ‘sponsor a child’ commercials you want. Nothing will open your eyes to the poverty felt by so many until you get your hands dirty with the soil of another country. These realities will not mean much until after that poverty statistic you hear about has a name and is sitting on your lap.

If you are considering a short-term mission trip, I would recommend the experience to anyone seeking to experience God and how he is working all over the world. Be prepared to be changed, forever and for good. The impact of these trips stayed in my heart long after the schoolyard dirt washed off of my feet.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee
nappy.co

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

93195
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments