Mission Trips have Purpose

In just a few weeks, my husband and I will be taking a team of 31 people from our home church to Haiti for a short-term missions trip. Although mission trips are not new to me, I still am feeling a bit anxious. There are a couple of reasons for my hesitation…

  • We will be taking our adopted son back to his homeland for the very first time. I am nervous about how he will respond. Since he is three, I have no way to prep him for his visit. I don’t know if he can comprehend. I ponder “What will go through his head?” Will he understand our visit is temporary? Will he remember the language? Will it cause any setbacks in the strides we have made towards bonding? Are we making a mistake?
Control Must be Surrendered

Mission trips are great reminders that we are not in control. We serve a sovereign God who has set each of us in our allotted place. We may grapple with why some people groups struggle with poverty or the lack of freedom; however, we must never doubt that God is in control. Visiting an undeveloped country is no doubt challenging. It should move one to contemplate their own pride. The modern-day comforts we so readily enjoy here in America are not due to our better intelligence, stronger work ethic, or favoritism with God. Everything we have should point us to the graciousness of God and God alone.

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, Acts 17:26

  •  I will never forget my first visit to Haiti in June 2013. My mind could barely absorb the vastness of injustices my eyes were taking in. As missionaries shared more about the country, we quickly realized there was more than meets the eye. Besides the obvious material poverty, witchcraft, voodism, sex-slavery and social injustices abound. The inward motivations of my trip were being unveiled. Had I come on this trip to make myself feel better? Was I looking to be a part of a noble cause? Was this trip about me? Or the people I would encounter?
Love Others as Yourself

To be truly effective in our mission efforts, we must wrestle with our inner motives. Do we see ourselves through God’s lenses? Romans 7:21 swiftly points out, “when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” Am I going to serve others? Or going to serve my own emotional need? Coming to the realization that I, myself, am poor is no easy accomplishment. But definitely worth the digging. I am in just as much need of saving as as the person living in Timbuctoo. To elevate my self-worth above another is…well, bottom line…it is called sin.

Frankly, the Christians I encountered in Haiti challenged me much more than I could possibly ever challenge them. Their faith was so authentic, compassionate, challenged and deep. When they prayed the Lord’s Prayer, “and give us our daily bread”–their words were not taken lightly. They meant what they said. Every morsel of food was considered a blessing. Make no mistake, there were many days they went with none.

Die to Self and Give God the Glory

Words cannot even begin to express all the conveniences I daily take for granted. The evils of a third-world country may seem readily apparent to my American eyes. However, have my own sins gone by unnoticed? While people in Haiti may be blinded by casting spells and evil spirits, have I recognized my sinful indulgence in comforts and pleasure?

I challenge you, therefore, as believers to go. Go and spread the Gospel. And in doing so, may the Gospel also be spread within you.

Have you been on a mission’s trip? If so, how did it personally impact you?

5 Comments on “Why Every Believer Should Go On A Mission Trip

  1. Very thought-provoking questions, Sue. I’m interested to know what you (as a seasoned mission person) think is the primary goal (or the primary goals) when you go on a mission trip. And how do you go about living it out while there? Is it only the gospel or it is also doing things to change the way in which the people are living? Other? I have never been so would be interested to hear your thoughts. 🙂

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    • Hi Jennifer, Our primary goal is always sharing the Gospel…because honestly, that is the cure for all life-change. However, we go about doing that by serving while we are there. In Haiti, we work with a ministry called MyLifeSpeaks, which focuses on providing orphan-care, medical training, feeding programs and restavek tutoring in the village of Neply. My husband is the medical director and provides training for the Haitian staff. Our motto really is to “teach them to fish” rather than doing the fishing for them. There is a great book called “When Helping Hurts” that I highly recommend for anyone going on a missions trip. You can also check out http://www.mylifespeaks.com for more info about what we are doing in Haiti. We have FT missionaries who live in community and share God’s love. As a ST missionary, we go to breath life into what they are doing and come alongside them. Hope this helps…God bless.

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  2. Thanks Sue!

    Found this on google+ group Christian Disciples.

    Yes, mission trips outside our own culture and familiar environments awaken us to what Jesus is doing in the world.

    As Ojibwe pastor Craig Smith reminds us in “Whiteman’s Gospel” they can bring us beyond response to the problems and plight of places like Haiti to see the potential of people to glorify Jesus in the power of the Spirit in their local context and they challenge us to see the potential (and the problems and plights) of the church in our own ‘native’ culture.

    Blessings on your cross – cultural mission journey and in the discipling of church members.

    In Jesus,

    Christopher

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  3. Pingback: Why Every Believer Should Go On A Mission Trip | sue a allen | Dandelionfluff.ca

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