Lessons from a Short-Term Mission Trip

Five years ago, my wife, Lisa, and I had the privilege of leading a group of 10 from our church in North Dakota on a week-long mission trip to Belize. This was the first such mission trip in the church’s 127-year history! Our group consisted of farmers and ranchers in addition to two students. Not a one of us felt particularly well-equipped for what we had agreed to do, but we each answered God’s call to go anyway.
We were given a list of optional mission activities for our week and were asked to choose three. When I saw the list, I thought for sure the group would cling to the safety of hands-on projects like construction and painting. Much to my surprise, the group chose children’s ministry, mercy ministry, and evangelism. I was shocked, excited, and scared all at the same time! What will we do? How will we do it? Lord, help us!
And He did! Our group, as ill-equipped as you might imagine some North Dakotans going into a Spanish-speaking community in Central America could be, effectively engaged in each of the three mission activities and witnessed God move in mighty ways that we will never forget! Ephesians 3:20-21 became our refrain of praise: “Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us – to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Our group returned from Belize and in debriefing we identified two life lessons that Jesus taught us on our trip that are true for every follower of Jesus wherever you are. The first lesson is WE ARE ALL CALLED TO BE MISSIONARIES. At first, we struggled as some did not feel gifted or equipped. But the trip was transformative in affirming that everyone is called to be a missionary, period. Secondly, we learned that WE DO NOT NEED TO LEAVE OUR HOMETOWN TO DO MISSION. One of the team members said it best: “There’s nothing we did in Belize that we couldn’t do in Glenfield. I just think of all the people we could be ministering to at home.”
Friends, God is calling you to live on mission … and you don’t have to go to a foreign country to do so! Regardless of your gifting or training, each of us is called to be missionaries and every day is an opportunity to live in mission right in our own communities. If that scares you a little bit, then you’re probably on the right track! Just don’t forget to pray that all important prayer: “Lord, help us!” And be ready with a refrain of praise when he does!
Pastor Bryce Formwalt is the Director of Mission Growth for the LCMC Texas District. Residing in Georgetown, Pastor Bryce is available to coach congregations on mission. Feel free to contact him with any questions or comments: 512-942-7776 or bryce@lcmctexas.org. Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/lcmctexas.

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