Summer is fast approaching and for those of us in ministry that means lots of planning, packing and sending people out on mission trips. It is always an encouraging experience to take part in these trips whether you serve or whether you support the team and pray from home. One of my favorite aspects of mission trips is when the team returns and shares about their experience. It is always encouraging. The truth is you might not see fruit from your efforts while you are on the trip, especially if you are only there short term, but in my experience the Lord is gracious and always cultivates much fruit in the heart of those who were faithful to go and serve.
I can speak from experience, seeing life in another culture has impacted me greatly. A few years ago I went to Brazil for two months. There is nothing quite as humbling as being completely helpless and unable to communicate in a culture that is not your own. The Lord showed me how truly dependent I am. He provides for my every need but I learned through this experience that I often think that I provide for myself. #humbled
Out of all the lessons to be learned on a mission trip the one that stands out above the rest is a greater understanding of the gospel. We may go on trips that allow us to serve in various ways; yet when we share the gospel with those who have never heard it or who do not speak our language it requires us to think deeper. The truth that changed your life can be easily downplayed in this world. Meaningful words can lose their meaning. However, when all of a sudden you are no longer on the receiving end but you are now the one ministering to others you search hard for the right words. This is a pivotal moment of growth.
Nothing can substitute for the time spent wrestling to understand and explain the gospel. Yet thankfully we are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses that others have created resources to aid us in learning and teaching the gospel. One of my coworkers recently told me about KnowTheGospel.org. This site is one of many that offers witnessing tools. I especially like these resources because they are simple and backed up with scripture. Hope you find this helpful.
Where are your churches headed this summer? What has God taught you while serving on a mission trip?