That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life...
Philippians 2:15-16a

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mission Trips

This post is for you Holly because you asked about my other mission trips :).

One of the great blessings of my life has been the opportunity to go on several different mission trips.  I've always had an interest in missions from a very young age.  We had a few missionaries come to our church when I was younger.  I was fascinated by the work that they did, and the countries where God had called them to serve.  I thought it was so amazing that someone would leave everything and go to a foreign place just to tell others about Christ.  I knew that I wanted to do that someday too!  So, when the opportunity came up for me to take a short-term mission trip, it was only natural that I jumped on the chance.

My first mission trip was when I was thirteen.  A friend of mine was also going on a trip that summer, and she asked if I wanted to go with her.  We went with an organization called Teen Missions.  It's based in Florida and sends teams of teenagers all over the world every summer.  My friend was going to Honduras, but my parents would only allow me to do a trip somewhere in North America.  I was okay with that, so I chose the team that was going to Colorado.  The trip consisted of 1 week in Florida to learn about the field we were going to, and to get to know everyone.  Then we travelled to Colorado for 4 weeks of work, and then back to Florida for 4 days of rest after.  In Colorado we worked at a Christian camp/school.  We did some maintenance work, and then did some evangelizing in the evenings and on weekends.  One of the main tools of our evangelism was a puppet stage.  We would set it up at local tourist attractions and do shows that presented the gospel.  The response was encouraging.  We also spent time each day in group devotions, memorizing Scripture, and personal Bible study. 

I had such a great experience on that trip that I went on a second trip with the same organization when I was sixteen.  That summer I went to Norway.  Again it started with a week in Florida, then five weeks in Norway, and then a week in Germany for relaxing at the end.  Except our week in Germany turned into only 4 days because we missed a few connections with a ferry and a train while we were travelling there.  This was also mainly a work trip.  We stayed at a Christian camp in Norway and helped them with some painting, building, and clearing brush.  We also did evangelism on the weekends, as well as our personal and group Bible studies. 

These first two trips I took were primarily work trips.  I think it's great when Christians can help Christians in other countries.  The last trip I took was while I was in Bible college, and it was slightly different than the other two.

The summer I graduated from Bible College, one of the pastors took a group to Newfoundland to conduct Vacation Bible Schools (VBS) for the summer.  This trip was primarily about evangelism and reaching people for Christ.  We did three separate VBS's and also spent a week at another church that was having revival meetings helping with special music and children's programs during the meetings.  The response at the VBS's was amazing.  We had children trust Christ as Saviour all them.  The one church we helped was actually just starting, and through the VBS the missionary was able to continue meeting with those contacts, and he has now established a church in that town.

I am truly blessed to have been able to take all these mission trips.  A mission trip really changes your heart towards people.  Often those who take the trip do so with a desire to be a blessing and a help to other Christians, but what ends up happening is that those people are more of a blessing to you!  I can personally say that that was the case on all the trips that I took.  I'm looking forward to the next opportunity God will give me to take another mission trip (I hope it is soon!).  But, in the mean time, I am still a missionary here in my hometown.  There are many people in North Bay who need Christ!  I think Christians sometimes have the misconception that they need to go to a foreign country in order to serve God and see people saved.  However, God wants us to be missionaries all the time.  My job is to tell of Christ no matter where I am, and that is what I try to do!

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