Are you struggling with whether or not to invest the summer in a missions trip? Are you wondering whether it's the right thing to do? Simply put, here are 4 reasons to go:
1. The Door is Open
There is no place on earth closed to university students. Travel is relatively affordable and quick. Your education and your proficiency in the English language gain you entry and a medium of communication in most any country on earth. The situation was similar in the book of Acts. Roman roads connected much of the world making transportation much easier than it had ever been. Because Greek was so widely spoken at that time, the Greek-speaking believers like Paul and Philip could communicate with much of Asia, Africa, and Europe. Don't miss the blessing of learning another language, but at the same time, there are people all over the world who are waiting for a patient soul to teach them English.
2. A few Days Really Can Make a Difference
Scripture abounds with examples of God raining his Kingdom down through his servants in very brief encounters. Jesus spent two days with the Samaritans of Sychar bringing the good news to them. In fact, he never stayed for very long in any one location. The same could be said of Paul's missionary journeys. Luke records the planting of the Philippian Church occurring from a stay of "several days" (Acts 16:12). God can turn an unexpected layover into an evangelistic event if we are willing to be led by his Spirit and are living the gospel wherever we go.
3. Your Pea-Sized View of Christianity Will Explode
The opportunity to wrestle with the size and diversity of the world and the Church will have some profound effects on you. Your notions of reality will be challenged and you will be pressed into Jesus like never before. A recent study of short-term mission participants revealed that the amount of money they gave away after their mission experience doubled. The amount of specifically focused prayer increased by 200%, and a third of those who went for two weeks or more returned longer term to the mission field. The sort of profound lifestyle, worldview, and vocational changes that occur by going on a short-term mission are phenomenal.
4. You're Designed for Relationships With People Who are Different from You
If your short-term mission experience allows you to develop a close relationship with someone in the host country, you could have a profound effect on another person. God has designed us to be intensely relational beings. When we purposefully get together with someone who is different from ourselves with the intention and expectation of really getting to know them, stuff happens. The gospel happens. The indomitably curious human spirit takes over and we twist our lives together in a way that allows the gospel to come in an incarnate form. Remember, there are still a billion people on earth who have yet to hear the good news for the very first time. Let Jesus live through you naturally as you express his love, care, anger, joy, and values in the context of relationship.
Adapted from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Global Project Handbook, 1999.