Why Going On A Mission Trip Is Nothing To Be Proud Of

Why Going On A Mission Trip Is Nothing To Be Proud Of

Instead of taking a journey across the world, why not just take a trip out your back door?
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I'm sure at some point in your life you've either been on a mission trip yourself or you've known of somebody who has traveled across the world to "make a difference." Personally, I think short-term international missions trips are a complete waste. I grew up going to church and hearing about mission trips. I even went on one to Philadelphia when I was in middle school and that's when my whole perspective on them started to change. Below you will find a list of reasons why I will never go on a missions trip, and you shouldn't either.

Something about asking people for copious amounts of money to go on a under glorified vacation just makes me cringe. Annually, around $2 billion dollars are spent on short-term mission trips. I couldn't even begin to count how many letters my parents got when I was growing up asking them to donate money for a mission trip. Every time I would see one come through the mail, I would feel personally offended. Could you imagine what this money could do for charities in the United States instead of using it as an excuse to travel the world?

There are so many people in the United States that are in desperate need of help. Instead of taking a journey across the world, why not just take a trip out your back door? No matter where you live, I can promise you there are more than enough underprivileged, struggling people to help. Whether they're homeless, veterans, or people impacted by a natural disaster- the list could go on and on- there is always someone who seriously needs your help. These people are our neighbors, so why don't we feel compelled to help them?

In my opinion, a majority of people who go on short-term mission trips do it to make them feel better about themselves. They like feeling like they've made a difference in some underprivileged person's life and feeling somehow connected to them because they spent two weeks living in a place that is much less luxurious than they are used to. I guarantee you that you won't see someone go on a mission trip and not post millions of posts and pictures on social media making sure everyone sees how great of a person they are. They want the attention and the satisfaction that goes along with the trip.

Going out to a different culture and shoving your religion down their throat is just plain disrespectful. If you really want to make a difference in people's lives, go live in their culture for a couple of years. Become a permanent part of their lives and show them that you accept them for who they are, regardless of what they believe in. The way you look at their religion is exactly how they look at ours. If somebody came to you from another country and started telling you about their religion and telling you that yours was wrong, how long would you listen to it? I bet not more than five minutes maximum. So what makes you think they should have to listen to you? Show some respect and instead of traveling the world to preach at people, sit down and learn about what they believe.

Going to these poverty-stricken, underprivileged cultures and telling them that everything will be okay, or will get better is only spreading false hope. When you leave and go back to your privileged american life, these people are still stuck where they are remembering all the empty promises you left them with. You give them a blanket of hope while you're there but then rip it away from them. Telling them that Jesus loves them will only go so far. Remember, you get to leave. They don't.

Finally, most importantly, and the biggest reason that I will never go on a mission trip is that they are incredibly selfish. In order to feel better about yourself, you travel to a foreign, more than likely dangerous country and leave behind family and friends that love you. When you leave to go help complete strangers, you could possibly leaving your loved ones forever. For what? The opportunity to travel the world and give yourself a false sense of changing the world? That's not okay in my book.

Next time you feel like you want to make a difference or change the world, why don't you start in your own neighborhood? You don't need to spend thousands of other people's dollars traveling to dangerous places to help people. You can do it here, in the United States. And it doesn't have to be for two weeks - you can do it everyday.

Cover Image Credit: Latter Rains

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Learn Something Valuable From These 7 European Countries

When you are surrounded by chocolate, treat yourself.
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America is a big country. So large that some parts of the country are so diverse they may as well be in different worlds, yet, American soil will always have one uniting factor: The American Dream. So, if we have an idea that enables synonymity in our vast country then that means that as different as some American counterparts may seem, we also share much of the same. This is why international travel is so important.

In fact, global traveling is more feasible then some may think, and can help shape your life in tremendous ways. So, here are seven life lessons there are to learn from those other international communities, specifically seven countries from Europe.

1. Spain: Be diverse in your choices

The Spanish are famous for their “tapas”. If you spend time in Spain then you will undoubtedly encounter this diversified little meal. Tapas are essentially small little plates (or tasters) of different dishes. This thereby encourages making choices that consist of variety, reinforcing to those who are creatures of habit to try something new!

2. England: Spend time outdoors

Take a trip to England and you will be surrounded by areas of preserved green space. When walking the streets of London you can expect every other block to be an area reserved for a small community park, not to mention the tremendously large parks in London, like Hyde Park. This dedicated space for outdoor enjoyment encourages people to get out of their homes and go move around in the parks.

3. Belgium: Treat yourself

Oh, the Belgium chocolate. Belgium is world renowned for having excellent, gourmet chocolate. Must I say any more? Treat yourself! With a chocolatier shop on every corner, it’s hard to miss.

4. The Netherlands: Exercise

When people think of Amsterdam, they often think of bicycles. Boy, is that true. Bicycles rule the road in the Netherlands, especially the populated city of Amsterdam. It is not uncommon to see elegantly dressed women, mothers with newborns, or toddlers cycling along the busy streets. Take a page from the Dutch way of life and try using your bicycle as your main mode of transportation.

5. Germany: Learn a foreign language

The German language is a bit abstract to English speakers. Which means if you do not speak German, then you will be playing charades to find your way through the German homeland. Some regions consist of seasoned English speakers, but do not plan on it. Take this as a mental note to learn a new language.

6. Italy: Eat good food

Italian food. Yum. The Italians know how to achieve high-quality life through their beautiful leisurely vacation destinations, fine art scene, and AMAZING FOOD. Take a trip to Italy, eat good food, and come home realizing you should treat your taste buds better then you have.

7. Denmark: Don’t take candy from strangers

Allow me to clarify something: the Danish are very sweet and kind people. Their candy will not actually cause damage to your body in terms of being toxic, but your taste buds will revolt unless you like salted black licorice.

Cover Image Credit: Jazmine Kelleher

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7 Ways Commuting To College Has Actually Helped Me

Commuting to college doesn't always have to be bad. It's all about what you get out of it.
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Commuting to college has gotten a pretty bad reputation, among students. Driving to class every day, sometimes long distances just don’t appeal to everyone. It means getting up earlier, using a lot of money on gas and frequent oil changes. I understand why it isn’t appealing to some but, to me, it has become way more than just that. It has become a ritual of sorts.

1. It gives you plenty of time to think and collect yourself

Sometimes, life gives you some hard decisions or tough times. I’ve taken what is a normal car ride and turned it into a time where I can problem solve with what’s going on in my life, get any aggression or anxiety out and unwind. After all, what else are you going to do while you drive? Trust me, I’ve thought of great ideas while driving too. Plus, it’s never a bad idea to clear your mind so that you don’t have the urge to punch someone.

Make driving be a time where you aren't thinking about school or work. It really helps, once you get it down.

2.Music jam sessions

Okay, come on. Music can heal even the worst of days. Music is a safe haven of sorts, for me. You aren't just singing along with the music, you are performing. So turn up your favorite artist and sing like nobodies watching. It also gives you time to find new artists or even listen to some old CDs if you are feeling nostalgic. If you aren't a music fan, there is always more options.

3. You have more time for podcasts and audio-books

I'm a big Harry Potter fan so, audio-books are a necessity for me. Books are very relaxing and can get your mind off of the traffic. Before I commuted I had no idea what a podcast even was. I tried a few on rides and I couldn’t stop listening to them. You can download them for free the night before so, you don’t have to worry about using your data, either. Plus, there is a podcast for almost anything you can think of. Want to listen to people talk about cooking? There is plenty. Want to listen to people deeply explaining video game conspiracy theories? I’m sure there is one for that too.

4. The scenery

I know. Corn fields are only cool to look at for like 10 minutes but sometimes while I drive I must admire the scenery. There is grass, sunsets/sunrises, animals, and many other things that are truly beautiful in nature. You will find something to look at. Just don’t get too distracted.

5.You can drive anywhere you want, at any time

One complaint about dorms is that you don’t have a ride anywhere, usually. That’s where commuting comes in handy. You can drive to a close restaurant, park, coffee shop, or anything that you want to visit, really. Heck, maybe if you have a few hours open during the day, you can sign up to be an Uber driver and make some extra cash. College students always need cash.

6. Your car turns into a locker

This one is underrated. Remember having a locker in junior high? Well, your car turns into a locker and your personal closet. That way, you don’t have to carry a full load of books all day. Make some time in your schedule so that you can go back to your car and switch the books out. Just park close and well-ah! You can store pretty much anything in it, too.

7. It makes you a better planner

You will plan for how much sleep you get, how long it takes to get ready, how long to drive, and so on. You have to plan pretty much everything. I actually benefited from it in other aspects of my life, too. It made me better at planning stuff at work or even for my school, too. It makes you think ahead, in more than one aspect. This is especially true with the weather.

I'm sure that you will figure out which parking lot is the closest and best for you.I hope this helps you find some peace on your commute. It doesn’t have to be a long, agonizing, ride in the car. Make it your own.

Cover Image Credit: az.vo.msecnd.net

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