Short Term Missions – Why Go?
In November of 2017 I was blessed with the opportunity to spend 2 weeks in Nepal as part of a “short term missions exposure trip” through International Mission Ministries. Our team of 14 Australians spent time visiting churches, encouraging local pastors and investing in children who have faced some of life’s toughest challenges – meeting people making a difference in a nation transforming for Christ. We didn’t change the world, or even expect to, but every one of us grew stronger in our understanding and relationship with God, through a practical demonstration of what mission looks like in the day-to-day and how we are all called to be disciple-makers in our own situations.
Every trip overseas plays a part in expanding our horizons and broadening our understanding of the world – but having the opportunity to be a part of God’s Kingdom in Nepal, spending time in the company of brothers and sisters in Christ, was an incredible chance to expand my spiritual horizons. My eyes were opened to the way that our powerful God works in the bigger picture, beyond church on a Sunday and the occasional youth conference. I witnessed how prayer holds power as a weapon against the forces of darkness, and the revelation of life that we call the Gospel transforms people’s lives – filling them with purpose. We heard story after story about pastors who gave up everything that they might reach people in remote areas, spreading the good news about our Faith. God rid me of preconceptions about evangelism and showed me what discipleship really means – to come alongside another, to support, to listen and to teach while in everything pointing to the light that gives us life, the author of our Faith, Jesus Christ.
I was challenged by the poverty – it’s hard not to be when you are face to face with those who live below the bottom line – but so encouraged by the generosity! A trip like this is an excellent personal reminder about the importance of worldly things against that of the eternal. While I don’t think any of the team returned with resolve to sell all of their belongings, we all were given the chance to adjust our view of daily life and decide what needs more focus (The answer is God of course!). While in Nepal it was rather easy to criticise the attitudes of our western society, especially after seeing first hand the attitude of young Nepali children to their education – one of incredible gratefulness unlike what we have become accustomed to! There’s something powerful about being able to step outside the patterns of our life and be a little critical of the way we do things – is it really what Jesus would do? However I also felt incredibly grateful for the many blessings in my life as an Australian, and encouraged to make the most of what I have been given.
Finally, a trip overseas was an awesome opportunity to see more of this incredible world that God created! Often this is overlooked, but standing in awe of mountains towering above civilisation, and appreciating the sights of nature that we don’t get to experience in our daily lives is a great reminder for me of the powerful God we serve. Sometimes we forget in all our busyness that this world was created by God for us to enjoy, and His character is revealed through every aspect of creation.
So I would encourage you, if the opportunity is given, commit to a trip like this. It might not be Nepal, and you might not be changing the world, but God will be changing yours. Remember when you feel inadequate that we are ALL called to be “missionaries” for the Kingdom, and many in this world don’t need an eloquent preacher or radical martyr, they need someone to show them the love of God by meeting them where they are.
May 22, 2018
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