My Church, in coordination with our denomination’s ‘mission agency’, Mission To The World (MTW), is arranging a missions trip to Matamoros, Mexico this summer.
My first thought, after hearing about the opportunity to be apart of this trip, was “oh crap, I’m probably going to have to do this.” You see, over the past year or so, I’ve been to several missions conferences (sent by LRPC) and I became an ‘adjunct’ member of the LRPC missions committee. This trip should just be a natural fit for me. While God has been breaking me down and softening my heart to see and respond to opportunities to step out in faith and serve Him, I’m still a work in progress and I still harbor some initial trepidation. I don’t necessarily have a ‘call’ to Mexico – in fact, at the time of hearing about this trip, I was exploring a longer-term volunteer service opportunity aboard a state-of-the-art hospital ship in Africa. This seemed like an interruption to that opportunity. But with contemplation and prayer, I realized that if God was calling me, at some point and in some capacity, to something like that Africa trip, I would need more cross-cultural experience, and Mexico would be a great stepping stone. That’s not to say this trip is simply for experience or to travel. My purpose is to be used by God to further His kingdom and His mission, not mine. So He is sending me to Mexico to do this work and I fully expect it to be a step in the process to do more of His work – wherever, whatever, and whenever that might be.
The other day I was reading a blog post from a full-time missionary team in Zambia who had just hosted a short-term missions trip team. They were reflecting on, and affirming, the value of short term missions trip and they provided some very thought provoking and hopeful points to consider as we embark on this very short term trip to Mexico.
A short term missions trip:
- Gives a small glimpse into the diversity that will be found in heaven
- Bears witness to the power of the gospel as it joins together men and women who have nothing in common, but whom become brothers and sisters in Christ
- Blesses the local community with a deeper understanding of Christ’s CHURCH as they learn of their extended family around the globe
- Grants fresh insight to the ministry as new people see “the same old things” with new eyes (bringing the experience and lessons learned home)
- Lets the American church get up close and personal with the daily lives of the field missionaries
We aren’t going to Matamoros, Mexico to try to cure HIV or end human trafficking. We’re going to simply run a VBS program for kids and help a pastor build his house. It’s a less epic but equally important Kingdom advancing work. If there’s 1 thing that I’ve learned recently, it’s that God can and does use everything (even what we think are small things) for His glory. These experiences are a weaving together of a picture of the larger story that God is narrating. Nothing we do on behalf of Christ should be thought of as ‘too little’. We serve a big God who does bigger things than we can imagine!
I’ve heard from enough missionaries over the past year or so that I fully expect to leave Mexico different than I came. I fully expect God to do great things THROUGH our team but I also expect God to do great things IN our team. I pray that we are truly useful to the church in Matamoros. But I also realize there’s only so much we can do in a week and it’s likely that this trip will impact the team more personally than it will the people of Mexico. Lord willing, we will have 12 people coming back to LRPC with a different perspective of the world, stories to share of God’s work, and hopefully a renewed vigor to worship, grow, and serve the Lord.
I’m excited for the experience – the planning and bonding as a group, the going and doing and serving the church in Mexico, and the returning to share, teach, and encourage our own local church family.
I’m excited for Mexico!