Preparing Your Heart For a Mission Trip
Summer is a popular time for short term mission trips, and maybe you are even going on one in the coming weeks. If so, that’s amazing! There is often a lot of preparation involved; forms to sign, vaccinations, bills to pay…the list can go on. It can be overwhelming, and in the middle of dealing with logistics we can forget about what is most important, preparing our heart. So, before you pack your bags and board the plane, here are 4 things to keep in mind as you prepare your heart for this mission trip.
1. This is God’s trip. This may seem like a self explanatory point, but it must come first because we so easily lose sight of it. Whether we recognize it or not, we often go on mission trips with our agendas and desires for how things should go, and we forget that ultimately God has everything in control and will lead the trip. The best way to be used by God is to surrender to His plans and allow Him to lead you; this is a humble and teachable attitude, and it pleases God (James 4:6).
2. You are not the hero. I have never heard someone claim they are a hero, but sadly our attitudes can reveal otherwise. We are far too quick to look down on our host countries “primitive” ways, and try to impart our “higher” standards to “improve” their lives. We are well meaning, but this can be very insulting and hurtful to the local people. After being part of several mission trips, I admit I have failed in this department many times. Before you leave for your mission trip, take time to examine if you have a “hero” mentality towards the people you are serving, and then ask God to help you truly love and respect the people you meet.
3. This is a time for learning. Mission trips are fantastic opportunities to learn from the people around you, especially the locals you interact with. Too many times we go on mission trips with the idea that we are the “teacher” and the locals are the ones learning from us. If this is our attitude, we will continue to promote the already prevalent idea that Westerners have all the answers or are superior, and we will hurt the people we want to help. Humility is an essential ingredient in being a learner on the trip; go with a heart that is willing to learn in every opportunity. I promise you won’t regret the lessons you are taught.
4. Relationships are priority. In the Gospels we see that Jesus’ ministry was all about building relationships. He could have built hospitals, orphanages, and schools, but instead He chose to build relationships, which gives us a good clue of what our focus should be as well. While the purpose of your mission trip might be to paint a school or build a clinic, don’t forget to build relationships too. Take time to listen, laugh, and show love to the locals, and let them see Jesus through your friendship; they might even appreciate that more than the freshly painted walls.
Interested in going on a mission trip with Lifesong? Click Here to find out more.