Saturday, January 10, 2015

Short term missions- is it worth it?

Matthew 28:19 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of age.

A short term mission trip may cost anywhere between $600 and $6000 depending on if you want to travel to Africa, China, or Mexico. Normally they last between 8 and 14 days. Sometimes you fly to another country and build a church or build a structure for an orphanage. Other times you may volunteer at an orphanage, hospital, or school.

I have traveled on four short term mission trips. The first two were in Mexico and cost me $600. Our team drove to Mexico and built a church for the community. My third mission trip was to an orphanage in Honduras where we did manual labor at an orphanage and played with the kids. That trip cost $1400. My fourth mission trip was a gymnastic drug- prevention trip to the Dominican Republic and cost $800.

The cost of those four trips combined was $3400 and the duration of the trips combined was five weeks of service. These four trips were very reasonably priced compared to other short term mission trips offered at my school that easily want $3400 for just one trip. That is alot of money. If $3400 were to be donated to ADRA's gift catalog, 97 children could be saved from sexual exploitation, 22 children could be educated, or 68 babies could receive proper nourishment. That money could do alot of good!

Short term mission trips are expensive and because of this I think it's important for students to have the right frame of mind when going on a short term trip and to go on the right kind of trip. The right trip should be God and service focused- not just an opportunity to travel- and I also believe the more time you spend with people, and developing relationships with the people of another country- it will be a much better investment- instead of simply manual labor. A trip to an orphanage,a trip to preach the Word, and a construction trip are three totally different things.

Yes it's expensive, but there can be no value placed on relationships and life lessons that are established through service, experiencing poverty, seeing the world around you, and learning to live by faith.

For me, some of my greatest spiritual growth came after going on a mission trip. It was then that I began to develop compassion and I realized that I could help other people. For children or students with low self esteem, this can totally change their life. Often so much more of the blessings with short term mission trips come to the participants of the trips. Participants take a break from a selfish lifestyle and learn the joy of helping others. Participants can also see how God wants to use them not just in another country but in their home town.

I know for myself, I would have never wanted to be a student missionary if I hadn't experienced short term mission trips. And if I wouldn't have been a student missionary, I wouldn't value missions so highly and want to spend a career serving God abroad.

Yes mission trips are expensive, but I believe they are worth it. Mission trips do make a difference in the lives of the people who attend and often they will be things that won't be forgotten for a lifetime. No they won't change your life like a magic trick. But yes they will make a difference in the way participants see the world.

So many of my friends are trying to raise money for mission trips this year. They are expensive. I encourage you to consider donating and helping them out. It can be daunting to have so much money to raise and you can often feel bad or selfish asking other people for their money, but God calls us to deliver the message of hope around the world. Let's give our friends hope to go on short term mission trips this year =)









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