December 29th – January 3rd I am leading a team of students and adult leaders to White House, Jamaica. The picture above was taken at a recent meeting we had together. I am looking forward to it! Please pray for us.
I love going on missions trips. I think short term mission trips have value in the kingdom of God and can be very life changing. I also think they have the potential to do more harm than good. My greatest fear is that these trips become Christian Gold stars that people stick on their chest and say “look at what we did”. We went down and helped those poor people in Jamaica.
Maybe part of the problem is in the word “mission” itself. My mindset about “mission” work changed when I read this quote from a “famous missionary” Elizabeth Elliot.
The word “missionary” may call to mind preaching, teaching, church-building (and even this often means merely a physical plant, rather than a spiritual building), medical work, baptizing, catachizing, social improvement–almost any form of philanthropy. I found myself quite unable to undertake any one of these activities. A strange position for one who was called a missionary. I began to search my Guidebook to learn whether my definition had been an accurate one.
The word “missionary” does not occur in the Bible. But the word “witness” does. I found many passages indicating that I was supposed to be a witness. One in particular arrested me. It stated that to be a witness to God is, above all, to know, believe, and understand Him (Is 43:10). All that He asks us to do is but means to this end. He will go to any lengths to teach us, and His manipulation of the movements of men–Aucas, missionaries, whomever–is never accidental. Those movements may be incidental to the one thing toward which He goads us: the recognition of Christ.
So I think my goal on trips has changed from trying to be a missionary to becoming one who seeks to know Christ everywhere I go whether that be in Huntertown, IN or White House, Jamaica.