Who Gains the Most from a Mission Trip?

Why would anyone want to use their vacation time to go overseas to live among the poor and risk their health and safety? That is a question I actually get more often from those that I go serve rather than friends and family at home. The question always surprises me. I’m usually thinking “why not?” I feel as though my reward is sometimes greater than those I am serving but those I am serving are so humble that they do not readily understand what they have to offer.

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Serving on a mission, whether locally or overseas, is the best way to learn and understand compassion and put your unconditional love and selfish desires to the test.

I am about to go on my eighth overseas mission trip and I’m looking forward to getting away from the endless busyness and responsibilities of American life and focusing on serving as Jesus’ hands and feet. We will be going to the Dominican Republic to teach children, do construction, lay cement floors, help with gardens, and the best part of all, visit homes and look into the grateful eyes of those who do not have the means to do all of this for themselves.

I also look forward to once again learning how to increase my faith from those who rely on God at a deeper level than I’ve ever had to. It is indescribable to be a part of such spirit-filled worship in the midst of environments that make you think there is nothing to celebrate. On the contrary, their faith is in abundance and they have so much to teach me! For instance:

In Cebu Philippines, I learned that kids are the same no matter where they are and orphanages, such as the Children’s Shelter of Cebu, can be beautiful when run by people who truly love and want to rescue children of all abilities. I also learned a deep respect for squatters who live in cardboard houses and yet dare to dream and work hard to get an education so they can change their futures.

In Eastern Germany, I learned the importance of building relationships to strengthen and encourage fellow Christians, especially those who are struggling to serve in an atheistic society.

In Haiti, I witnessed the spiritual joy and strength of the elderly even when all they have is their one room shacks. I also learned about the ministry of touch. Rubbing lotion on sick and dying patients was one of the most realistic manifestations of Christ’s love that I have ever experienced because I wasn’t there to just solve a need, I was there to comfort and touch the untouchables.

In Mexico, the Church taught me how to apply and prioritize spiritual disciplines, which included audible prayer walks before sunrise.

In Liberia Africa, I witnessed a Christian culture that takes the Bible literally and one of the ways they apply it is by demonstrating respectful speech and hospitality. My favorite experience was when waking up in a mud house to the sound of a sweet voice singing right outside my window. By the way, did you know roosters crow at night!?

That is why I go on these trips. God has created and called me to experience so much more than my small world has to offer.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sharon Holden
    Apr 23, 2014 @ 07:13:21

    I would love to have a job like yours… is KTIS hiring?

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  2. juleene
    Apr 23, 2014 @ 07:16:28

    Hi Sharon. This coming trip and the Haiti trip are with KTIS but the other trips were through my church. I love churches that are mission minded. It is not only good for a church to support missionaries but missions trips are a great tool for teaching and growing congregants as well. Blessings,

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  3. Jessica Holt
    Apr 23, 2014 @ 08:53:55

    Beautifully written mom. Your passion for missions has always inspired me to minister wherever I can as well. The trips I have gone on (including the Phillipines, Germany and Mexico with you) have helped me open my eyes to the world around me and to see things in a different light. Missions has brought out the desire in me to help others in any way that God has asked me to. Whether in my own church and city, or in another country. God puts us in the positions we’re in, so we can use our resources and gifts to help the least of these. That is a huge responsibility that we can’t take lightly and it pleases him to see us give our time, energy, money and talents to further his kingdom and care for others when we could easily become self-centered and greedy.

    As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1 Peter 4:10)

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