Mission Trips Might Not Serve Local Needs, But They Do Serve God

Mission Trips Might Not Serve Local Needs, But They Do Serve God

"The fellowship and community that we share during a mission trip is all of the confirmation I need to know that this is what God wants us to be doing for that particular week."

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Mission trips are just one of the many things that Christians disagree about, but it tends not to be one of the "big" or "main" issues that people talk about. Some people see it as a minor issue compared to other, bigger things, but it's actually really important that we talk about it, so here I am, ready to talk about it.

Let me first say that I understand both sides of the argument surrounding whether or not we should go on mission trips and I don't want to try to change anyone's beliefs, just express mine. The argument against going away on mission trips makes sense to me. The most common thought process goes along the lines of "why go away on a trip to do work when there's so much to be done and so much need right here at home?" I get that. I see the need. I understand. But I think that anyone who makes that argument has never gone away on a mission trip, hasn't experienced what it's really like.

I have been on 6 (7 by the end of the month) mission trips and on each and every one, I've found that this single week out of each year is the closest I've ever felt to God, the most I've ever felt this kind of constant "yes" feeling, the feeling that I'm truly living exactly as He would have me live. That isn't a feeling I could get at home. At home, I wouldn't be able to put aside my regular job (which is an online job, meaning taking days off really doesn't happen) or other demands on my time like helping to take care of pets and my grandmother and the plants and honestly everything. In going away, it's much easier to truly set the week — the entire week — aside to do this work.

I think also that, if I was working at home, in my hometown/area, I would be more likely to be driven by the way doing all of this work looks, it's impact on my reputation. In a tiny town where everyone knows everything you do, this is an easy trap to fall into. But we aren't called to do work for our reputations, we're called to do work for God, His glory rather than our own. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I don't think I could do the work solely for His glory if I was doing that work at home.

I don't pretend to be a preacher or a theologian or anything of the kind, but I would say that there is Biblical backing to going away too. Though I am by no means anywhere close to as dedicated and faithful as Paul was, I can see some of his work in what we as a team try to do. Paul went on three huge mission trips during his lifetime, leaving behind his home to go out and share the Gospel of Christ.

The work that our team does isn't necessarily as large scale as Paul's work and it would be beyond prideful to say that it's on the same level, but I do think that we can look to his work as the greatest missionary to ever live (besides Jesus Himself) as a kind of precedent for what we do.

Jesus said Himself in Matthew, "go therefore and make disciples of all nations..." (Matthew 28:19). For me, the most important word in that sentence is "go." I don't pretend to understand what God wants me to do even half of the time, but I have no doubts that our team is called to go, that this "go" is meant for us and so many others. And we see the proof of that in our time together, in our work and in our rest.

In our work, we see houses rebuilt and homes restored. I once saw a woman moved to uncontrollable tears by the gift of some cinder blocks. I saw an entire church get to worship in a building that they didn't think it would be possible for them to have. I have experienced firsthand what it looks like to find true, deep joy in something as small as leading Bible School kids through a ridiculous song. Our work might physically bless the homeowners and the people we are sent to serve, but it spiritually blesses us in a way that nothing else can.

In our rest, we find simple joy in being together. The fellowship and community that we share during a mission trip is all of the confirmation I need to know that this is what God wants us to be doing for that particular week. There was a guy last year who was on his first ever mission trip that said, when he looked around at all of us sitting, fellowshipping and genuinely taking simple pleasure in one another's company, "you know, I think this is what Heaven's going to look like." When he was asked about it later, he said that the level of fellowship we have on mission trips and the work that gets done for the Lord is exactly what he expects from Heaven.

I don't pretend to know anything that goes on between God and other people, but I know that for me, going away on mission trips is something that God has placed right in front of me deliberately. Yes, there is need in our home areas, but there is also the pressing call to go out, work, and share everything we've got with others in other areas. I can see both sides of the argument, but I can also see all of the things that I've experienced in my time going away on missions and can safely say that this place, so close to what Heaven looks like, is somewhere that I want to be.

Cover Image Credit:

Lily Snodgrass

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Christian Boys Vs. Godly Men

It is time to stop settling for the lesser of the two.
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Ladies, there is a huge difference between a Christian boy and a Godly man; therefore, it is time to stop settling for the lesser of the two.

So many times I hear girls saying:

“Well, he’s a Christian.”

“He goes to church with me.”

“He listens to Christian music.”

“He went to church camp.”

“He has a favorite bible verse.”

SEE ALSO: What An Attractive Man Looks Like

Well, all of those things are just peachy and there is nothing wrong with doing those things. I mean, they’re all good things to do. But how is his personal relationship with God? How is his prayer life? Does he talk about his relationship with God, with you? Is he truly a follower of the one true God in all aspects of his life? These are some of the characteristics you should be looking for that makes a Godly man.

Ladies, a man will love you great when he loves God greater.

A Godly man will pursue an honest relationship with you. He will be clear of his intentions. A Godly man will worship, pray and passionately praise God with you. Whereas, a Christian boy might open the door for you, a Godly man will open his bible and explore God’s word with you so that you both may grow spiritually, together. While a Christian boy may put on an outward show, a Godly man will live out the love of Jesus daily.

So ladies, are you catching on to this ongoing trend? A Godly man does more because you deserve more.

A Godly man will be a leader. Trust me, I know that in today’s society Godly men are few and far between while Christian boys come in plenty. But you deserve a man who is after God’s heart not just a boy who goes to church. And I know that this Christian boy may seem great and have some really stellar qualities at the time but money and looks fade, whereas, an ongoing love for our savior will not.

The greatest thing a man can do for a woman is to lead her closer to God than himself. (Yes, yes, yes).

SEE ALSO: As Christians, Life Isn't Supposed To Be Hard

So I beg of you, do not settle. Do not settle just because you’re tired of being single, it’s convenient or because you want the relationship your friend has. Single does not equal available and a relationship status does not define you. God uses your season of singleness to prepare you for what is to come. And if you’re dating a Christian boy, he needs to step it up or you need to move on. Wait for a Godly man who is ready to lead you. God’s timing is always better, always. No matter the circumstance. So, do not rush God. (I mean, He is, after all, pretty good at His job). Therefore, turn your full focus to Him and He will direct your path.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

Cover Image Credit: Christina Sharp

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If God Didn’t Intend For Women To Be Equals, Why Did She Make Us So Incredible?

Yeah, I said She.

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An article that absolutely infuriates me has gone viral. As a feminist, as a writer, and simply as a woman, it drives me up a wall to see another woman proclaiming that God's plan for women was to "submit to their husbands."

I don't know where to start with all the issues I found in reading the piece, so I'll start with what a feminist is. It's a subjective term and its connotation varies from person to person.

But to me, feminism is being empowered and expressive individuals with open minds and open hearts. They are activists for change and equality. They have concerns about the environment and global warming. They acknowledge issues within sexism and racism and then try to figure out how to solve them. They see that the world isn't perfect.

Feminists are the reason we can vote. They're the reason birth control is an option for us. They're why we're allowed to wear pants. They're why we have careers. The female pioneers paved the way for anything we're allowed to do, and they are why we celebrate the power of women every March.

But instead, the woman who wrote "I'm A Christian And I'm Not A Feminist, Because God Did Not Intend For Women To Be Equals," used our month of pride for clout. And took justification from The Bible to do it.

The Bible is not an instruction manual. It was written over many, many years by hordes of sexist men whose existence we have minimal proof of. And over the last thousand years, it's been translated and reinterpreted more times than anyone could ever keep track of. That's not to say it doesn't have some good lessons, but lessons are all they are.

Thinking your worth and capabilities were planned for you thousands of years in advance is ignorant. Religion and The Bible and God are as subjective as feminism. Everything is open-ended. One person's view of who or what God is not going to be the same as the last.

Commonly, God is seen as a man at the center of the universe who holds all existence in his hands. He is the reason why anyone does anything. He is the rule maker. And He is judging us and waiting for our every mistake.

But as a proud feminist, I've chosen to have my own idea of this holy being. I wasn't brought up in church, but I decided to believe in something much greater than myself or anything I've ever seen just because I wanted to. I want to believe that faith has to come from somewhere, and I didn't want a book making the rules for me.

Just by watching life move through time, I happen to believe God is the good in all of us. Not one being, but he beginning and the end of everything. The push and the pull. The conscious and subconscious. And considering that God is the creator, I've concluded God must be a woman because women are the creators.

And in my experience, women have proved themselves to be much stronger and more capable than any man.

As for what She creates, I think She makes no mistakes. I think She tests our patience and beliefs by giving us what we don't expect. There's intent and love in everything She gives us. I think every woman was made to be relentless, imperfect, fearless, and even a little rebellious.

And if we're saying Adam and Eve were the start of it all, then God proved that right off the bat. God saved the best for last, and then made her a badass. Yes, the first woman came into this world as a rule breaker. She questioned authority. And since the beginning of time, authority has been a snake. The world is our forbidden fruit to bite.

The sole purpose of a woman isn't to submit to anyone. A woman can do whatever she damn well pleases, just as any man. A woman's worth isn't tied to what kind of wife or mother she is and how closely she follows the rules. I was raised by the most incredible mom and wife. She did happen to stay at home with me and be the traditional woman. But while she was home, she taught me how great it is to be a woman. She made sure I knew I could be whoever I wanted and would pay no consequences for that.

My parents didn't raise me in a church. And I never saw that as a flaw or lack of judgment. My southern home was like a church; full of faith and love. But on Sundays, we would sleep in and have a big breakfast at noon because we had too much fun staying up late Saturday night dancing around our living room to music. Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, and Madonna led the choir — singing about independence and the power of being empowered as women.

As a feminist, I will not judge those who haven't accepted all the honors of being female. I can just tell everyone how wonderful it is to stand for something. I can set an example so that more women will go forward.

And despite what anyone thinks of feminism, there's nothing exclusive about it. Feminists don't think they're any better than men, they just want the chance to prove their capabilities. It's so much bigger than thinking men suck. The truth is, we should have men at our side, not in front of or behind us. And not for romantic partnerships, but as allies. The best men are feminists too. We can make this walk alone, but there's power in numbers and in diversity.

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