Why a Missions Trip?

This year (2015), ServeNow is offering ten different opportunities (four of which I will be leading!) to go on a short-term missions trip to interesting and also very needy places in India, Nepal, Uganda or the Ukraine where there is tremendous opportunity to make a tangible difference in people’s lives. In this blog article I would like to make a case for why you should consider going on a mission’s trip (whether with ServeNow or elsewhere). In fact I feel so strongly about it that even before joining with ServeNow I became convinced that nearly every believer should make every effort to go on at least one mission’s trip in their life for some of the reasons I list below. For me personally, I realized years ago, it was healthy and essential for me to go on at least one or two trips a year!  But would you take the time to carefully and prayerfully read on?

  • Mission Trips are life-changing…sometimes more for the one’s going!

My second point will be that mission trips impact and can change the lives of those you serve but I wanted to make this other point first, because sometimes the most changed/impacted person ends up being you!  Let me give three examples.

My first “missions trip” was more of a work-camp within the US but it was outside of my normal environment for a whole week. And it was on that trip that the Holy Spirit did a work in my heart in solidifying a commitment to seek Jesus with all my heart. A friend of mine on that trip likewise came to a place of conviction regarding the way he was living and I have rarely seen anyone change as much and as quickly as he did because of that trip. He became my first real friend in Christ. That trip and what happened on that trip really set in motion the direction my life would end up taking!

Another example are my parents. It was because of their first mission’s trip to another country, to visit a child they were sponsoring through a mission organization, that the course of their life was changed. They were so moved by what they saw that they have now sponsored over 30 children from various countries and have almost visited every one of them! They also go on several trips every year, are involved in other projects and they are now advocates to encourage others to sponsor/go on trips and get involved in mission projects as well! So one mission trip resulted in their life being impacted which is now impacting many other lives around the world and right here at home!

One of my favorite examples of someone’s life being changed on a missions trip occurred during a trip that we arranged for a group of 18 from the church I was pastoring at the time. There was one gentlemen in his sixties, who had been a construction foreman who wanted to go on that trip. The interesting thing was, he wouldn’t set foot in the church before that trip (except for one time prior). However, we watched as God worked in a big way in his heart and life during that trip.  Since that trip, I would joke that now we can’t get him out of the church! He began attending bible studies, made a confession of faith in Christ and was water-baptized because of one missions trip.

So, it is fair to say that I have actually seen God do more in or through one or two weeks on a mission’s trip, than months or years going to church services week in and week out! I have seen a deeper and richer fellowship and love for one another form through a one or two week mission trip than had existed prior.  People who may have gone to the same church week in and week out but didn’t really know each other, all of the sudden become very close friends.  Churches are strengthened.  Local ministries have sprung up because of a trip to another country.  I have seen people’s eyes open, hearts melt, and desire to serve like never before develop through a missions trip.  I have seen it change the way they deal with money, their attitude towards giving and possessions and so much more.

I challenge you to go on a missions trip.  Your life (and church!) may very well be changed more than anyone else!

  • Mission Trips impact the lives of those you serve.

It is amazing how much can be accomplished on a one or two week trip in some places of the world. For example, I have been on trips were I have spoken to more people (or witnessed more come to faith in Christ) in one week or a few days than I do in several months or all year!  But one reason why more can be accomplished is owed to a team truly coming together to serve under a common purpose and goal with undistracted devotion. Another part is due to the fact that what is little to us over here, can go a lot further in other parts of the world.

For example, in the case of ServeNow, every $10 in US money enables us to purchase a blanket, sweater, hat, gloves and socks to cloth people who have none of these things in places where literally thousands die every year because of the cold! Every $5 in US money enables us to provide a NT bible to someone who does not have one due to not being able to afford or have access to their own. For just $12 a month you can provide training for a young woman at risk of human trafficking providing her a skill that gives her value and could prevent her from going down that road. For $175 you can provide them with their own sewing machine to open their own business upon graduating which means empowering them to generate an income and make a decent living!

Some may say, well, in that case why don’t I just give money to do these things rather than spend that money to just go for one or two weeks? God may very well call some to that very thing, but I have found that by going, you actually end up giving more in the long-term because of that personal connection and experience and ways God moves your heart and fills your heart with greater compassion! Also on some trips, having a team or people come to serve enables the people there to do more than they could do without a team or people physically present.

  • What is holding you back?

Think about your reasons for not going on a trip. Is it because you feel you don’t have the money to afford it? Then read about people like George Mueller, Hudson Taylor or others who trusted God for what they needed and how God provided for their needs. Talk to others who have gone on missions trips and how God has worked sometimes even in miraculous ways (talk to me and I will share some stories with you!). Trust God!

Are you holding back because of fears? Fear of flying? Fear of dying? Fear of something bad happening? Fear of getting sick? Fear of being out of your “comfort zone?” You’re not alone! I have had all kinds of irrational (but real to me!) fears on pretty much every trip I’ve been on! But I don’t want to be like the person in Proverbs 22:13 who lets fear paralyze them from something of God and something good because of being afraid something bad might happen! Proverbs 22:13 says: “The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!” or, “I will be murdered in the streets!”  Trust God and stop making excuses!

There are a million and one reasons and excuses you and I could come up with for justifying why we “can’t” do it. Maybe for you it is you’re “too busy” and don’t “have” enough “time.” But I have found we make time for what is really important to us. Maybe it is you would have to give up your vacation. Well…think of the sacrifice Jesus made for you! He “gave up” the glory and pleasure of heaven to come to this sin-cursed world and die on a cruel cross for our sins! Talk about sacrifice and lack of comfort! Maybe for you it is insecurities. Acknowledge those insecurities but don’t let them hold you back.  Going a trip may be the very thing God will use to help you gain more confidence in Him and the ways He has gifted or talented you! Some may feel like they have no gifts or talents, but that simply is not true. Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something and everything (and everyone) is important! I have been on softball mission trips where non-softball players went or those who were not able to play were along and yet they were equally (if not more so) essential to making the trip work by doing things we couldn’t do while playing, such as handing out flyers during the game, talking to people, praying with people etc. Don’t let physical ability, speaking ability, age, fears, insecurities, money, busyness or anything hold you back!

  • Support those who go.

Not everyone can go on every trip. Not everyone is called to go on every trip. Sometimes we may be the one called to go, other times we may be the one called to stay and support in prayer and with financial gifts those who are going. Without those who give, there couldn’t be those who go! And those who give to help those go are now equal partners in what God does on and in and through that trip! Giving is a way of “going!” I challenge you to invest in those who are going on trips. Even if you go yourself, invest in others. It is a connection point between you and them and what God is doing or does!

Perhaps you know some people going on trips in your circles. Support them and pray for them. Or, would you consider supporting those who go on the ten trips we have planned this year through ServeNow? Just think, you could be the answer to someone else’s prayers, both here and there…by giving! In fact, I believe it is more of a privilege to be the answer to someone’s prayers than to be the one on the receiving end of answered prayers!

If you are looking for a place to give or people to give towards or trips to get behind…would you consider ServeNow and those who will be going this year? Each trip costs over $2,000 per person. And in the case where I will be doing pastor/leader training for 100-150 pastors, it costs between $1,000-1,500 (depending on how many register) to be able to get them there, feed them and provide for their needs that otherwise they couldn’t. Even if just 4 people gave $500 towards that it would be covered and be a blessing to them and us! (You can give by clicking here and specifying in the comment box where you would like it to go whether the pastors training in Burma, travel expenses for those going on a trip, or any of the other things mentioned or not mentioned in this article!).

I challenge you to go and give because the result will be you will grow and others will grow and therefore God will be glorified! ServeNow, Procrastinate Later!

(If you are interested in going on any of the trips we are offering this year: contact me at: bfoley@weservenow.org) and I can get you our 2105 Mission Trip Brochure or answer any questions you might have!).

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