Why *GO* {short-term missions}…

Yes, this is the post where I share why I participate in short-term Christian missions. I’m sharing two separate lists revealing the why. But, first, I do know short-term missions is not without its excesses, misunderstandings, and the occasional advantage-taking.

Jumping right in, as far as excesses, we could be talking of trip costs, unrealistic projects, or exploitative stories on the back side. The misunderstandings might be how a trip is described compared to what occurs.

As for advantage-taking – yes, it happens. The local people, because of cultural differences or even desperation, may occasionally appear to take advantage of {or take for granted} what you are giving or doing for them.

But the advantage-taking goes both ways.

For example, mission team members {usually unknowingly} often take advantage of photo opps. Look at it this way. Can you imagine a group of people coming to your school or church to help for a few days, and then constantly whipping out their phones to take pictures of everything you do?

And then there’s the mission-trip-gone-wrong, which could range from deplorable accommodations to the entire team getting so sick they hardly left the hotel {or bunk house, compound, etc.}.

You may have a story that tops these. I’ve experienced it all…and still, I go.

Why Go? {the *me* list}

#1 – Going is part of the job.

Going on mission trips is part of my current work with Visionaries International. You might say I’ve grown into it since my father founded the organization over forty years ago. And what an honor it is to be a part.

#2 – Going changed my life.

You’ve no doubt heard this before about missions – but, at a time in my life when I felt misunderstood, used up, and looked over, I decided to go. God used that decision to change my life {or, more importantly, to change me}.

#3 – Going reminds me how different my life is from at least 75% of the world.

I’m 1st-world born and raised. For any who are, we are incredibly blessed. If you don’t believe that, go spend 24 hours in a 3rd-world place. Every time I go, I’m reminded of just how fortunate I am.

#4 – Going gives me opportunities to gain ministry experience.

When God tells you to do something, do it. Be willing to GO. But why go? Here's my list. Actually, I have 2 lists on short-term missions.When on mission to developing places, there are always new opportunities. And by new opportunities I basically mean unexpected things. Being ready in and out of season takes on a whole new meaning when you’re on a mission to the developing world.

Did you catch what I said up there? The list you just read was the me reasons I go. And while those are all good and worthy of mention {and every single one true} they are about my job, my life, and my opportunities.

NOTE:  Now, here are the real and more important reasons to go. 

Why Go? {the *them* list}

#1 – Going on short-term mission trips lets us bring encouragement to other Kingdom-builders.

The organization I work with has a bit of a different philosophy. We do not go to dictate, change, or take the credit for what others are doing. Our assignment is simply to encourage them in what God has given them to do. Many times, this is what they need the most.

And this is something anyone can *go* and do.

#2 – Going on a mission lets us deposit resources into the God-given dreams of other Christian workers.

Recently, while on a mission in Honduras, I asked the director of a school for special needs students, “What are your greatest needs now?” She hesitantly responded, “We need three screen doors put on the doorways to the classroom building. This would help us keep the children in the right places, while still allowing the outside breeze into the classrooms.” {They have no a/c. The breeze is vital. So is keeping special needs kids in the right places.} We gave her $250 to complete that project and see her dream from God continue to be fulfilled.

#3 – Going on a mission allows us to build relationships with native workers.

Some of my very best friends live in 3rd-world places. If you had told me ten years ago this would happen, I would not have seen it. The internet and social media have made the world a smaller place, and helps us stay connected with people in faraway places. Still, the relationships must begin somewhere. When we go; when we immerse ourselves into the lives and culture of those we meet and serve – we begin relationships. I can promise you these are relationships that will enrich the lives of those you meet, as well as your own.

#4 – Going on mission teaches us…about them.

Spending time in developing countries always confirms to me that the native people are smart, gifted, skilled, and anointed for the work God has called them to do. Furthermore, they know better than we do how to get the job done in their culture. And the truth is they teach us far more about ministry, compassion, and life in general than we could ever teach them.

Not only was my life changed by going the first time – I’m changed every time I *go*.

Occasionally, someone will ask me why I choose to go to other countries when there is so much need here in the USA. It’s a good question. Here’s my answer.

Whatever God tells you to do – do it. If He lays it on your heart to give to an organization that helps people in the USA, do that. God has given me a work to do through short-term missions. And I must *go*.

And I must *go*. #missions #IGo Click To Tweet

image credit:  upsplash AND mine

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