What Short-Term Mission Trips Have Taught Me
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What Short-Term Mission Trips Have Taught Me

I gained a holistic perspective, a heart for the nations, and a joy unlike any other.

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What Short-Term Mission Trips Have Taught Me
Morgan Sain

I learned that loving others is a daily choice. I was reminded that sharing how Jesus has worked in my life doesn’t need to be scary and can instead be viewed as an opportunity to magnify God’s love, grace, and ability to transform lives.

The Lord makes it possible for these trips to not only be spiritual highs, but front-row seats to see God work in the lives of the people you encounter that change you on the inside out. Through short-term mission trips, the Lord reveals countless truths.

Here are some of the truths that the Lord has been gracious enough to reveal to me through short-term mission trips:

Loving others is a choice you make every single day.

Loving the people that you encounter throughout each day is a CHOICE. You can CHOOSE to love them. Regardless of if you’re having a bad day or you don’t think you’ve been treated fairly, you can still choose to love the seemingly unlovable. Jesus has done this for us through His death on the cross. Now I do realize that this is MUCH easier said than done – we all have bad days. But when I realized this, it radically changed my ability to love regardless of the circumstances around me at the moment.

Pray for patience, understanding, and love for the people in your life. We serve a God that loves to guide us, lead us, and teach us – He LOVES when we ask for love and grace!

(Psalm 32:8, Jerimiah 33:3)

Much can be learned from the contentment and simple joy little boys like Elijah and Keron find in a soccer ball (well, a football but…).

In Trinidad, one of the ways we ministered was through “backyard bible clubs” that we put on in different neighborhoods throughout Trinidad. We played sports and games, taught bible lessons, and did different crafts (well, the girls did!) with the kids in the neighborhood.

They were beyond thankful for everything that we did for them. Every time they had a snack, they were so excited and thankful. When we brought a football (what we call a soccer ball), they were so excited to play. Elijah and Keron (pictured above) were content and happy that we were there to spend time with them, and that was that. They didn’t compare to others or wish for more, they were simply thankful for that which they had been blessed with.

These little Trinidadians taught me so much. I’m so thankful for the time I was able to spend with them.

Jesus left His home and the comfort of being with His Father to be among the people…and so can we.

When you leave behind the comforts of your home and daily life, you learn what it means to lean into the Lord and rely on Him to guide your steps each day.

How to train your eyes to constantly see a world outside of yourself.

This past summer on my trip to Austria, I was able to experience and be immersed in the culture. At the beginning of the trip, we gained a greater understanding of their history as a people and what that means for us and our time in Austria. Part of this experience included visiting The Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial, also known as The Nameless Library, which stands in Vienna.

The text in front of the door reads “In commemoration of more than 65,000 Austrian Jews who were killed by the Nazis between 1938 and 1945.” Engraved on the monument are the names of the camps were Austrian Jews were killed.

What you may not notice is that the outside surfaces of the memorial are library shelves turned inside out. The spines of the books are facing inwards and are not visible so that titles of the books are unknown and the content isn’t revealed. This signifies the many lives whose names and stories are unknown and lost forever. The shelves appear to hold endless copies of the same edition, which stands for the vast number of victims. The double doors have no doorknobs, meaning they do not open and are closed forever.

When I saw this memorial with my own eyes, it made the tragedy of the Holocaust much more real and personal to my life. It burdened my heart, instilling a deeper love and appreciation for the Austrian people as well as the freedom we experience in America today. It grew my understanding of the nations and history as a whole. I was challenged to constantly keep this perspective when I returned home and constantly see a world outside of myself.

When serving others is the focus and desire of your heart, you’ll be filled with a joy unlike any other.

Seriously!! There is no other joy in the world like serving. I’m not saying that it’s easy, or even super “fun” (in the way we view fun), but it’s truly fulfilling. And the best part is that it doesn’t just have to be on a mission trip! You can serve your family, friends, and even strangers you encounter in little ways during your daily life. Short-term mission trips are just where I happened to discover this and I’m SO glad that I did.

A heart of service and outward focus may not always be your first inclination or choice, but it produces a life filled with the things that really matter.

The Lord make us brave and equips us to spread His love.

I’m just going to back this up with some Scripture because I get super excited when I talk about this, and I could probably write about it forever and ever. So, without further ado, here you go friends!

“In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and his children will have refuge” – Proverbs 14:26
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." – Deuteronomy 31:6
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
“And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling…” – 1 Corinthians 2:3

God meets us where we are and calls us to share our story and the life-changing truth of the Gospel.

Wow!! How wonderful that we serve a God who loves us, calls us, and meets us RIGHT where we are. He is our Savior, companion, and lifelong friend. He knows what we need, what battles we are fighting, and comes alongside us in the good and bad.

Your story is worth telling. It is a testimony to the faithfulness of the Lord and the life changing truth that is the Gospel. God knows where you’ve been, where you’re going and orchestrated it all to bring glory to His Great Name! Be bold and rejoice in the story the Lord has given you to tell. He can use it to transform lives and encourage those around you.

Following Jesus is SO fun!

I’m thankful to serve a God that can use a shaving cream fight as a tool to transform lives!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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