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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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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Faithfulness Is Like The Clouds

God's faithfulness in our lives reaches higher than the clouds - that's pretty far.

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Psalms 36:5 "Your love Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies."

As I look out of the window in the airplane, I see the sun covering everything in its sight. And as I watch the sun cover the earth, I can feel the peace of God being to settle into my heart. We lift off the ground and I know His faithfulness travels with me wherever I go.

Something that I've learned in 2018 is that Gods' plan for my life is never late. He didn't messily throw my life together in 5 minutes, nor was He unwavering in the details of my life. He very cautiously knit together every moment of my life, even when I didn't understand why He chose to do what He did.

Over the past five months, I have been more aware of Gods faithfulness in my life than I have been in a very long time.

To make this story short, I did not grow up surrounded by extended family like most people I know. And while God has still been so good to me in my years growing up, I still had the small void in my heart that yearned for something more. Something that I had prayed to God in secret many times, but never intended to do anything about it.

This past summer I watched as God took that very desire of my heart and beautifully unravel them before my eyes in a plan that has been so intricately put together for years, but He chose to reveal it to me now. I watched as He taught me how to trust Him with everything in me, not just bits and pieces of me. I watched God reintroduce me into what it means to be proud of my culture and ethnicity in new and fresh ways. The dry and barren place of my heart that I felt could never see these promises that God had for me were beginning to come to life.

He gave me joy. Joy in people and in places that I lived 20 years without, but God knew one day He would surround me with. As I sat in the midst of conversations and togetherness, I was reminded that this was the very thing that I had prayed to God for so many years.

Our prayers are not insignificant to God. He holds every single one of them close.

So many times in my life I have asked God to just help me to understand what He's doing in my life. To just tell me why He's doing the things that He's doing. And so many more times after that, I have God remind me that maybe I'm not supposed to understand. Maybe I'm supposed to just let everything in me fall at His feet the same way that Mary did with Jesus. Maybe I'm supposed to constantly trust Him with every second of my life, even when I don't know the next step.

God never stops teaching me about His faithfulness, and I hope he never does stop. I hope in 2019 He brings me to places of growing more in what it means to invest in relationships, to speak into other lives about His goodness in mine. One significant thing that I learned recently is that Gods promises for our lives are never meant to run out. Just like His faithfulness in our lives are never meant to only happen for a few months. It is never ending and always secure. In Hebrews 10:23, It says "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful."

..."For He who promised is faithful"

What a beautiful truth to know and to carry with us into this new year.

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