We’ve been going on a short-term mission trip for the last six years. Since 2003, every year, we’ve been going to Nicaragua and ministering to a designated church in Los Solices. The ministry has been expanding to different regions and different demographics.
However, mission trip participation has not been consistent, not only in ESC (English Speaking Congregation) but also in KSC. So after some discussion among pastors, we’ve decided to set February as “Mission Month.” The purpose is to raise the level of awareness and conviction for the mission so we can mobilize short-term mission team for mission trip in July. We will be showing videos of previous mission recap, members interview and such during February. We are also planning to provide mission training in English for those who are English Speaking.
Some people have a skeptical view of a short-term mission trip. In essence, they say it is too short to make any meaningful impact and only adds stress to the hosting missionary or pastor. This reasoning is not totally unreasonable. However, there are good reasons why we encourage people to go on a regular short-term mission trip.
First is, it keeps us missional. It is easy for us to delegate mission to missionaries and to think of supporting them with finance and prayer as our job. However, though different in scope of ministry, all Christians are called to live a missional life. By participating in mission work, we are reminded of who we are and stay missional. And the more people become missional, God’s mission will advance quicker and further.
Secondly, it challenges us to sacrifice. Participating in mission trip costs money and time. Also, by spending 1-2 weeks with the same group of people all day, we learn how to yield and forgive quickly, for the sake of the mission. Sacrificing what is important to us for what is important to God is an excellent opportunity to grow as a follower of Jesus.
Lastly, it helps us to see what is important. When we go to a third-world country, we face a level of poverty or lack that is not readily felt in our North American context. Not only we become grateful for what we have, we get to understand how little happiness has to do with an abundance of possessions. Though they might have less, they can remind us less can be more. And through the relationship you build with people in the mission field, you end up thinking about mission more.
A short-term mission trip is not merely a social work. It helps advance the mission of God if we approach it with the right attitude and perspective.