Helping us grow together in our faith
Ji Seok Ju, pastor, Centenary United Methodist Church, 245 N. Fourth St.:
Generally, people travel with their family to a place where they can rest, have fun and re-energize their body and soul. But mission trip gives a little different meaning. There is a lot of work waiting for people during a mission trip, and they cannot really rest.
Yet mission trips provide people with very valuable opportunities. Mission trips always teach people good lessons. They expand the horizons of life experiences. People go to new places and meet with new people. They enter a world that they have never seen. Not only that, their work in the mission field gives them a great opportunity to share the love of God. Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself." A mission trip is the perfect way to express our love for God and to share God's love with our neighbors.
I've gone on several mission trips since I was in high school. In fact, by the time people read this article, I will be on my way back to Lawrence from a one-week mission trip to El Paso, Texas, with our youth group. We are all blessed because a bond is established between kids traveling in the mission field and the supportive hometown church members through the mission trip. We have been committed to and have prepared for this trip in many ways since last fall through fundraising, prayer meetings and planning.
In short, mission trips help us grow together in faith.
- Send e-mail to Ji Seok Ju at email@example.com.
Passing a blessing on for others
Doug Heacock, contemporary worship leader, Lawrence Free Methodist Church, 3001 Lawrence Ave.:
Hundreds of thousands of Christians across the country participate in short-term mission trips of various types - most are service-oriented. My wife has been to the Philippines, teaching English and helping to provide medical care for a poor village where tuberculosis is rampant; she and our children have helped build houses for the poor in Mexico, and they have helped conduct summer vacation Bible school programs for inner-city children in one of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods, and in a poor community in Arkansas, where they also painted and repaired houses.
There is certainly an agenda for many of these mission trips, but it isn't simply to win converts to Christianity. The scriptures make it clear that God has a special place in his heart for the poor, and that those of us who are blessed with much are blessed in order to be a blessing to others. The mission is to demonstrate the love of Christ in tangible ways, and hundreds of thousands of Christians are doing this on a regular basis.
Almost anyone who has been on a short-term mission trip will tell you that the benefits in their own lives were more significant than whatever service they performed. Eyes are opened to the hard realities of poverty, and often those short-term missionaries go on to live lives of service in their own communities - some even choose mission work as a vocation.
Those who are interested can find thousands of opportunities to serve at sites like www.shorttermmissions.com.
- Send e-mail to Doug Heacock at firstname.lastname@example.org.