In this post, I really want to cover a basic overview of what short term mission trips are (based on my experience) and why I do them. On Monday I will be talking about the impact of short term missions.
And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:15
I first began going on short term mission trips in high school. For those of you who don’t know what a short term mission or service trip is, I’ll do a mini recap of what MY experience is.
What are short term mission trips?
The majority of the trips I have been on have been youth focused that last about a week. They are put on by Christian based, mission organizations (Adventures in Missions, World Servants, Team Effort just to name a few). Often these organizations have locations all over the US (or the world). They employ people who run those specific locations, some that only operate in the summers, and some that operate year round. These locations host different groups to come in and work on local projects, often home repair related.
For myself, the majority of trips I’ve gone on have been with my home church in Delaware. Our church has transitioned from sending a large group of youth (high school students) and adult chaperones to inter-generational trips involving younger, elementary/middle school kids to adults. Families take their children. Singles go. Married couples go. We have 12 year olds, high schoolers, 20 somethings, and those older grey haired guys in their 60s ;).
The week usually consists of some vague outline where you start and end your day with your group and the other groups attending. During the day you’re out at some sort of job site doing work for someone in need. Sometimes this means painting a house, building a wheel chair ramp, pulling weeds. Sometimes it means going on a walk and giving out fresh water in Mexico and telling people about Jesus. All of it, we do in the name of Christ. This week in Georgia, we started our mornings with devotions at this beautiful retreat center. We ate breakfast with all the groups there, and then our group went out to our job site. This year our job was to paint a trailer and build a wheel chair ramp. When you get home there was some time for much needed showers before dinner. We had chapel at night with all the groups there, and then small group with our church group. We work, we serve, we worship, we fellowship.
I’ve also been on a short term medical mission where we set up medical tents in Haiti and held a vbs for the kids who’s families were being seen. Different trips offer different opportunities, each with a different emphasis or focus. But all in the name of Christ.
Living conditions are different depending on the trip. I’ve slept outside on a tarp under a tent. On this trip I had a mattress. #Blessings. Sometimes the food is good. Sometimes it’s insufficient and awful. I’ve had outdoor showers and indoor showers. At the end of the day? God always provides.
These trips are supposed to give a taste of what missionaries do. And they do so much more.
Why do I go on short term missions?
I go on short term missions for several reasons that I hope Monday’s post will explain a little more. But here are three of my main reasons for serving on short term missions:
- To plant seeds for Christ. So yeah, last week we built a wheel chair ramp and painted a house. Sometimes on these trips, you get to speak to the home owners and minister to them. When that happens? It’s amazing. But often it doesn’t. I’m so glad that someone who recently suffered a stroke can come home to that ramp. But my hope for them? That they see Christ every time they see that ramp. That any of his family members/friends see Christ every time they visit. I hope that home owner of the trailer we painted feels a new joy every time she sees that paint. And I hope it serves as a reminder to her when she needs to see Christ. This is the most significant reason as to why I go.
- God said to. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…..(Matthew 28:19). Not all of us are physically called to go to Georgia (or Africa, or Nicaragua). But we’re all called to make disciples. And sometimes God tells us to go to Georgia. I didn’t attend any of the mission trips the last few summers. Why? It’s not where God wanted me at that time. Meaning, he had someone else in that place. They were called to fulfill that purpose in that time in that place. I was called to be where I was. And I truly believe this.
- Transformations. Of myself. Of the youth and adults attending. We serve. But we also get to spend a week with people who are seeking Christ, and people I would call my family. Relationships get stronger. You get to worship together nightly. It’s really a special gift to be able to be away from work, bills, emails, etc. and just spend time seeking the kingdom, being in fellowship and worshiping together every, single, day. Things get raw and personal, relationships get stronger and people change. And all for Christ.
Check back Monday for a more in depth post covering the impact I’ve seen through short term missions.
Have you ever been on a short term mission or long term mission or service trip?
Do you believe you have a mission field?
Do you have questions about missions? Let me know in the comments 🙂