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After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.
You’ve taken the first step by saying YES to this mission trip. As you prepare to go, it may be helpful to begin with the end in mind. Create a mental image of yourself sitting on the airplane, going home from your mission trip. How do you feel? Satisfied, content, emotional? Why? Visualization is a powerful tool. Try to visualize a scripture verse, like the one listed above. See yourself influencing people for Christ. Remember that we don’t always see how God is using us, but trust that He IS. YOUR YES MATTERS! So get prepared for this life-changing week. Know God has big plans for you.
It’s important to prepare your body. You wouldn’t run a race without training, the same goes for mission trip. Start eating right, get good sleep, maybe even exercise a little more. If you can, find out the type of food you will be eating on your trip and try some before you go. Your trip will push you physically, it’s important to be prepared.
Take time to prepare your mind. Go online, research the people groups and locations you will be serving in. Do some thinking about how you can share “your story,” chances are good you will need to cross cultural and even linguistic barriers to communicate your message well. Pray through that experience, that God will speak across the lines and barriers of culture and language.
The last area of preparation is to prepare your heart. To prepare your heart, dig into the Bible; take time pray for your team members, and the church and people you will be serving. Spend plenty of time listening---quietly, silently, alone---to God. Let Him speak to you.
If you take the time to prepare well, to visualize yourself impacting lives for Christ and praying through your trip beforehand, your experience will be life-changing.
The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!” Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” So the people came streaming from the village to see him.
Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.” But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.” “Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other. Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike!
So many things are happening in this scripture. It feels like Jesus and His disciples were going on a mission trip. Jesus wanted to rest a bit before heading out to their next event. He intend to minister that day, but when a woman came by the well, He couldn’t help but meet her need. As a result, this lady ministered to her entire village later that day. We don’t always see beyond the moment, but God does.
Before you leave on your mission trip, think about how to speak and act like Jesus. Don’t wait until your trip - you can minister like Jesus today! On a trip, while you are waiting for the next event, keep your eyes open. Right next to you may be someone who needs you to show them the love of Christ. You may be tired. You might only know 5 words in their language, but God has given you an opportunity. The moment you take with a person, no matter where you are in the world, may impact their entire family or even their community. If you step into those moments with a willing heart, God is faithful to use them in powerful ways. Challenge yourself to look at present moments with a lens of how it affects tomorrow.
The scripture above shows us a few things:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
After you serve for a week, God’s voice is going to show up in everything you do. As you pack your suitcase, remember that He called you on this trip. He will show you people to connect with. He will show you needs that you can help meet. He will show you a lot about yourself. He is going to expand your heart in new ways.
This pre-trip preparation time can jumpstart lifelong disciplines of reading God’s Word, living in Christian community, praying, and responding to people in need. Consider this time of preparation to be the preparation for your ENTIRE LIFE.
Don’t make this about only a week on a trip, but instead, a lifelong journey. In 2 Corinthians 3:2 the Apostle Paul wrote to his readers that they are “living letters” whose lives are being read by those around them. Ask the people who are guiding and praying for you on this mission trip, to continue to do so even after this week is over. And as they mentor you, may you grow closer to Christ and continue to reach the world for his name’s sake!
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