The images captivated me. It was a different world, a distant land and one that I had never seen before.
My first idea of “missions” was planted in my head through a film I was shown at school one day as a young girl. It was Papua New Guinea and it painted a picture for me of what missions must be all about … going to a place far away from home where they don’t speak your language or eat the same food. That must be what it means to be a missionary.
My first “mission trip” was when I was just 11 years old. And I have been going ever since. Some would say that I’m a mission trip junkie.
Now, let me just state that part of my job at World Help is recruiting people to go on “mission trips”. And because of that, I obviously see the importance.
But my role has also given me a front row seat to see how it can all go wrong.
“Mission trips” have a bad rap and have come under strong attack in recent years. Books and articles have been written on how our help might actually hurt, and all the ways our money could be better spent and invested.
And while there is some truth in these claims, I think far too often these conversations discourage an already waning interest in the Great Commission and simply give us more excuses not to get involved.
You see, I think the problem is not the trip itself, but in the reasons we go.
So here are just a few reasons you might consider staying home:
- If you think you can save the world, stay home.
- If you think it will make you a better Christian, stay home.
- If you think you have all the answers, stay home.
- If it’s all about you, please, stay home.
- If you want to have your eyes opened, to wake yourself up to the needs of the world, and if you are prepared not to change anything except yourself, then go.
- If you want to help empower people, provide sustainable solutions to real life problems, then go.
- If you want to build relationships, showing people how to live on earth, not just how to get to heaven, then go.
- And if you want to be a voice for those who have none, then by all means, please, then go.
There are stories to be told, so many stories. And stories speak to people, make them think about the reality of the world, and challenge them to get involved.
But, may those stories be less about us, and more about God’s kingdom work … work that he can easily do without us, but that He invites us to join.
That’s the beauty of it all. God chooses to use us to rescue and restore all that is broken in this world. And for that reason, I hope you will consider going.
Join Noel and L&LI in Guatemala in February, 2017. The deadline to sign up is December 1. If you are interested in signing up for this trip, click HERE.