I established on my home page that the problem a lot of us face is “where do I begin?” Well congratulations, following this blog is the place to start on finding your passion and finding where exactly you are being led to serve. I think that the next question that many of us might face as we look at different trips and outreaches would be, “Why should I go?”
I know from experience that many people in my community struggle with this question. Many of us struggle with the idea of giving up a week, or maybe even more, of our time for an experience that we might not see immediate growth or change from. For example, I have heard from many mothers that are scared to go because of the idea of being away from their children for a week, or the college student being worried at the idea of missing classes, to the businessman stressing about his vacation days being spent on something other than vacation. I think it boils down to the very fact that there will never be enough time in our lives to do everything we want to accomplish, so why not just go now? Life will be waiting for you when you return, and when you return, you will come back richer in experience. Still not fully convinced? I have compiled a list for you, to help encourage and solidify your decision to reach out and help change tomorrow through mission trips.
SIX REASONS TO SERVE:
- Your perspective will change entirely. Without even realizing it, sometimes being in our community or family creates a little protective bubble around us. We might not think that our perspective is limited, but it isn’t until we are taken out of our comfort zone, and our “normal” lives, that we start to see just how limited our perspective might have been. You will see things that you have only read about in National Geographic, and you will experience things you might have only read in books. And through these different experiences, your perspective will not only change, but it will broaden, to see that there is more than just the place we call home, and that the world is a lot bigger than we might think.
- You will become more thankful. Have you ever had one of those days where nothing goes right? The barista at your favorite coffee shop forgot to add your espresso shot, a truck cut you off on the highway, your coworkers forgot to tell you about an important meeting, and then you burn dinner. We all have those days, and by the end we are complaining about everything and anything, even down to the shower being too hot. While I completely understand that we all have bad days, going on a mission trip helps create a different perspective, which then leads you to become more thankful for the things that you do have in your life. After I came back from Haiti, I was thankful for the very fact that I had fresh water at the turn of my faucet, and I came back so thankful for a family that wasn’t perfect, but was there for me. The tiniest things we take for granted suddenly become things that we come back thanking God for.
- You create strong and lasting relationships. If you ever had the chance to go to a summer camp as a child, then you know what it feels like to make fast friends. All these kids are thrown into a confined area for a week or so, and are told to coexist with each other. You instantly have no other choice than to become friends with almost everyone in your group, and to be there for each other as you are away from mom and dad. The same could be said for a mission trip, although it has a different dynamic. Unlike summer camp, which you might not have wanted to go to, this trip was chosen by you. You and all your other traveling companions have a like-minded goal and purpose in their minds, and you are embarking on the journey together. You will see each other at their truest, and most raw forms. You might be cheering on a companion who conquered a fear, or you might be holding on to a sobbing new friend who has seen something that changed their heart. Either way, on a trip, you are truly doing life together and it forms ties that last a lifetime.
- You will overcome fears. We all have those one or two things that jump to our mind when we read the word fear. The word itself makes us feel uncomfortable for the images that it produces. Maybe you have a fear or heights, a fear of spiders, or a fear of flying. On a mission trip, you might have the chance to face these superficial fears, seeing as sometimes they aren’t in the cleanest places so you might have to deal with spiders, or they might be on top of a roof, or cause you to fly. But another way that mission trips impact you is that they will be hitting core fears, fears you didn’t realize you had, or that you covered up while living your everyday life. A fear of failing your family, a fear being alone, a fear of not being enough… the list can go on. On a trip, as you are helping others, I have often found that they were helping me right in return. There is something about being in a new place, outside of your comfort zone that brings these hidden things to the surface, and once they are exposed, you face them head on, and conquer them.
- You need to escape. This busy world is full of constant distractions, from our laptops and cell phones, to our desire to never be alone so that we fill our social calendar to the brim. I am a guilty party in this for sure! I sometimes have my schedule so full that I run myself ragged, all for the fact that in this world I feel like I need to be productive. If I am not busy then I am living life wrong, or so I tell myself. Surrounded by constant distractions draws us away from looking within and discovering things we never knew about ourselves. A lot of times, being on a trip will mean that you need to give up your cellphone for days at a time because there is no service, or it could even mean limiting usage of your laptop to only nighttime to journal in. Either way, being on a mission trip means you get the chance to be present. To experience and adapt to situations that don’t happen in your hometown. And through this experience and adaptability, you will discover another side of yourself.
- You will see the world differently. You will see it through God’s eyes. Whether you are reading this blog as a believer or a non-believer, I believe that the call to serve is in each and every one of us. We all want to leave our footprint on this earth, and want to be able to say that we made a difference while we lived here. But the bonus is that while on a mission trip, your vision of the world will change, and instead of seeing it through our human eyes, it will shift into how God sees the world. He sees the single mother working hard to provide for her son. He sees the little girl that walks two miles to the well every day to give drinking water to herself and her dog. He sees the beauty in our broken world. He sees them, He sees us and has decided to give us the honor to be His hands and feet in our world.
So, the final question I have for you is not “why should I go?” but rather, “why not go?”.