Let me preface this blog by saying, anythingwe do for God, anywhere, is wonderful. I do not want you to think I am against short term mission trips…nothing could be further from the truth. But, too often, I have seen churches give a spiritual elevation for people who go on mission trips. We hold them in honor as we post pictures and pray extra hard for them while they are away. (we should pray for them!) But it is almost like stating, “These are the most spiritual in our church, because they go away to serve!”
Before you attack me, I have been on lots of short-term mission trips and they have been life-changing events in my life; events I never want to forget. But I also noticed in myself a desire to let people know I went, and I have to admit, I felt a little superior when I told them. I wanted (not consciously) for people to think better of me because I had sacrificed my time to share the Gospel. (Just being real, here!)
Why am I writing this? Because it became evident to me (while listening to a group share their mission trip experience) that we will do things for those across the ocean we would never do for those in our own neighborhoods. I suddenly became aware that those close by are also in desperate need of the Gospel. Examples: Seldom if ever, do we give people who reach out to rebellious teens, time to share…maybe because we are too busy keeping “those” kind of kids away from our church so we won’t have to deal with them. (ouch) There isn’t an “elevating to honor” those who work with addicts…maybe because the addicts might want to come to our church and that would give us a bad name. Do you get my point? It is much easier to deal with those kinds of issues far away from home…safely away from our comfort zone.
But God clearly asked me that night:
If you can go and do…why can’t you stay and do?
There was a reason Jesus first mentioned “Jerusalem” in Acts 1:8. Have we looked at our “Jerusalem” lately? The fields are white…ready to harvest…but the laborers are few. There are kids who need mentors…someone who will truly listen and care. There are people caught in all kind of issues who need to know there is an escape from their bondage. There are ministries all over Mississippi (my state) and wherever you might live; some even in your town. Perhaps you can go on a short-term mission trip to your very own neighborhood…or even your very own neighbor. I guarantee, just like going over-seas, your life will be changed forever…plus you can sleep in your own bed!