If you, like me, have found yourself contemplating whether or not short-term mission trips are worth your time, money and if they even help expand the Kingdom of God as you would like to think, then this is for you.
I understand the hesitancy. One week, sometimes less. Two days of travel. One day to orientate yourself. You now have a precious few days to get some training, pluck up your courage and tell people about the Good News. Is it worth it?
It is less about you and more about God
The answer is less about what you think you can do in those few days. In fact, it is more about your faith in what God can do in and through you. I am sure you too can think of many times God has changed your life in a seeming instant. If not, check out the Bible — it is full of such stories. God can do amazing work in short-term mission trips, in you, in others or both! But do not take my word for it, read for yourself what encounters past short-term missionaries have experienced.
An unexpected journey
Elizabeth was in New York City for a Seed Week. After learning some cross-cultural evangelism techniques, it was time for her to hit the streets and practice what she had learned. It was while she was sharing the gospel with strangers at Queens Mall that she saw her.
“Zuana,” never intended to live in New York City. She never really intended to be in the U.S. at all. She was a mother of two young boys, an engineer from Nigeria. Zuana fled for her life from her country and her abusive husband. She landed in Houston hoping to find help, but found none available. Then she received money to fly to New York City because they thought she could get more help there.
An answer to prayer
Now she was here, in this strange country, in the middle of New York City, and still, no one would help her. She sat down on a bench and began to cry, praying for help, feeling so lost. She was losing the little hope she had left.
Elizabeth saw Zuana crying on the bench and thought to herself, “She is upset and will not want to hear about the gospel today.” However, God had a different plan. After the Holy Spirit continued to convict Elizabeth, she obeyed and went over and talked with Zuana, answering the very prayers she was praying at that moment.
Through this connection, Zuana was able to connect with others in International Project and is now teaching Sunday School at two different churches in Queens and desires to reach Nigerian believers in her community, teaching them to make disciples.
Short-term mission trips – yes or no?
This is just one example of God’s ability to use his followers to change a person’s life and the lives of many others. I am sure Elizabeth came away from this short-term mission trip with greater confidence in God who can use you in the most unexpected times and the importance of sharing the gospel today, not waiting for the “opportune” time.
Whether it is a week, a year or a decade, trust God. Obey and see him do more than you could ever imagine. Trust me, it is worth it.