I don’t know about you, but at the church I attend there is a pretty big emphasis on going on mission trips. When I was growing up, we would have missionaries come to our church every fall to talk about all of the things they were doing in whatever country they were in, how God was working in those places, and things of that nature. I always thought it was a cool concept, but I had no idea what God had in store for me as far as missions were concerned.
My junior year of high school I went on my first mission trip to Puerto Rico. I had a lot of fun and absolutely fell in love with all of the children and the staff that we had at our camp for the week. It was a great experience, and I definitely learned a lot about not only God and His word, but also about myself. I wanted so badly to go back the following summer, but to my disappointment the program was canceled at my home church due to the amount of funding it took.
I recovered slowly and soon went off to college--without even really thinking about going on another mission trip in the near future.
Last summer, the youth minister from my home church in Concord called me and wanted to know if I would be a chaperone for a youth group mission trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I was absolutely thrilled about this, and I think I forgot what it felt like to be on fire for God like that. I went on the trip to Honduras three years after my Puerto Rico trip, and I never would have known how much I had grown in that time had I not taken the opportunity to help lead a group of high schoolers.
Ultimately, going on a mission trip in college is one of the best decisions I’ve made for my faith.
When you get to college, you’re experiencing so many new things all at once, and you really start figuring out who you are (it might sound like a cliché, but oddly enough it’s completely true). Going on a mission trip, whether in or out of the country, really allows you to discover where you are in your Christian walk.
There are so many ways to get involved in mission trips, so the first place you might want to look is your church. Many churches sponsor mission trips and help their mission teams raise money for the trips themselves. Also, you want to figure out where you want to go on your mission trip--it’s important to remember that there are plenty of places in the United States that are in need of missionaries, so don’t think mission trips require you to leave the country! Groups like Lifeline Christian Mission, Mision Caribe, and Campamento del Caribe are all missions groups that I’ve had great experiences with, so if you’re looking for a place to start, don’t hesitate delving into one of those sites.
When choosing where you want to go on your mission trip, be prayerfully considerate--God is going to use you for His glory wherever you go, and He is going to use your strengths and talents in those places. For me, going to Spanish-speaking countries and working with children through music is something that God has placed on my heart to continue to do. My mission experiences aren’t going to be the same as yours, and that’s the beauty of how we as individuals can all share Christ to those in places that are foreign to us.
God opens so many doors for those who answer His calling to go preach the Gospel (Mark 16:15), and you certainly won’t regret all of the lives you touch while spreading the love of Christ to those who don’t know Him.