Aug

15

Our View Of Church And Missions

By pastorbillwalden

This may sound critical, but here goes.

(Actually, since reading this a few more times, it does start off sounding critical. :( Please read past that vibe and understand the heart of the issue.)

A few years ago, I heard a senior pastor say to another senior pastor regarding short term missions:“Where is it really happening? We want our kids to go and have a great experience”.

I understand the sentiment behind those statements. The pastor who was asking wanted his High School kids to go to a foreign mission field and have a life changing experience. He wanted them to go somewhere where God was obviously moving, and where the power of the Gospel could be clearly (and quickly) seen. I assume that that was what he meant. By the way, this pastor is a great guy, and very gifted and “successful” as a senior pastor. I could have totally misunderstood his heart.

And yet, his question struck me as sounding very wrong.

His question sounded as though what was needed for a “successful” missions trip was to be somewhere where it was “really happening”. I thought to myself that his group shouldn’t go to South Baja, or to many other places in the world where sharing Christ wasn’t visibly and immediately exciting. The only place that would fit that kind of description is a place where people are lining up to get saved before you arrive.

Another reason that that statement bothered me was this: This is a pastor with a large church, and a man of influence. Will that kind of mentality become a standard of where short term missions groups ought to go? I understand that there are varying degrees of commitment, abilities, and experience within groups of people. Maybe a first time trip to where it’s “really happening” is appropriate. Stoke the fire, that kind of thing. Well, of course it’s appropriate, as God leads. But I think you can see my point, right? Please tell me you can see my point.

Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20) Many accept that definition as a description of “church”. I am one of them.

There are “churches” all over the world with only handfuls of Believers gathering to worship God. They have no church building, and probably never will. They have no ordained, salaried pastor. And yet, they are groups of people that Jesus loves and wants to bless. He also wants to add to them others that will be saved. The most that those groups will ever consist of is perhaps dozens of Believers. Does that make them not worth our time? Don’t they need edification too?

We pastors do spiritual work, but it collides with the material world. Missions trips cost money, and travel expenses are rising. The dollar is losing its strength in the international marketplace. Should we overlook the smaller gatherings of Believers and potential Believers, and go to where the fishing is really good? Do we consider giving our short term missionaries the most “bang for their buck”, or do we go where we believe that God is calling us to, even though there might not be an immediate “wow” experience?

I do believe that short term missions trips should be life changing. I believe that as God leads a group somewhere, their lives will be changed. Their lives may be changed because they see the terrible poverty of kids living in a dump. They may be changed by meeting Christians that walk miles to meet in less the comfortable conditions. Their lives will certainly be changed when they meet Believers that love Jesus without much of the clutter of American Christianity.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am all for having great trips. But are short term missions trips mostly about those who go? Do we need to find out where “God is moving”? How about going to where God is “waiting and wanting to move”? How about breaking some new ground, and being trailblazers? Yes, even with High School kids.

Please don’t misconstrue my convictions as me thinking that I know it all. I know that I don’t. But I do have convictions, and I think there is a lot of truth in some of these ideas.

Praise God for any person that is willing to spend money and time to visit another country and tell people about Jesus. I just pray that we don’t have a consumer mentality in deciding where “God is leading us”. I also pray that we don’t just do things that seem logical. May we hear what the Spirit is saying to our churches.

49 Responses so far

bill, i love how you always forsake popularity for the sake of holiness. i count on you having your heart & mind open to God’s leading. blessings & love, kathryn

Kathryn,

Blessings. Thanks for the encouragement, but you give me way too much credit. Thank you though. I’ll try to live up to that.

you sound very upset at someone. i wonder what reminded you of said conversation from years ago.

i agree with you that consumerism is the right word to use here, but i also think that this mentality usually (obviously) comes from the pastor of said church himself.

i think that us, ministers, often make a mistake by trying to finish in flesh what god started in the spirit. what i mean is that god brings someone to salvation and then we try to cater to them to the fullest, by doing everything humanly possible to make them feel comfortable, so they stay with us (that is our church).

i completely understand the pastor asking the aforementioned question (i think i may have met pastors like him before), since he wanted to make sure his flock gets what they deserve – since for some reason we not only think we have to get things from god, but that we even deserve said things (another mistake).

consumerism throughout. several people told me (i read your post to them) that the best trips they have been on were the slow ones, where god acted invisibly and slowly.

Bill,. I am of the same mind, ( Is that good? We could end up in the same cell),… this remind me of a prayer by A.W Tozer, where he prayed to the effect, “Lord I am yours to do with what You want, wheter it is before many or FEW it matters not, just that Your will is done.”

I am looking FORWARD to This Oct and spending some time with you amongst the Few, in the distant and dry places of this world that we are commanded to go in His Name!

Until He Comes,… Your friend John

Hey Arpad,

Good to hear from you.

I am not upset at said pastor. “Concerned” over what I perceived to be a mentality is a better way to say it. I definitely don’t have heartburn with anyone on a personal level.

I agree with you that any “consumer” mentality that a group might have often does trickle down from the pastor. :(

I think you make a good point about trying to finish in the flesh that which God began in the Spirit.

I heard said statement a few years ago, and it has been gnawing on me for a while.

My concern is that such statements have so much good behind them: Good logic, good intentions, good use of time and money, etc. IT just sounds “right”.

In Acts 8, God pulled Philip away from a revival in Samaria and took him to Gaza to minister to one man. Was that the best use of Philip’s time and energy? At the time, some might have said “no”.

Some might argue that we need to minister to as many in one place as possible, and that if “nothing is happening”, then we need to move on. There is certainly a time to move on and shake the dust from our feet. There is also a time and a place to go “where it is happening”. Serbia and Hungary in the early 90′s come to mind. :)

My only concern is that we may evaluate a missions efforts based on what our missions team can get out of a trip.

Pastor Bill,

From a long term missions perspective I think what a lot of missions groups, and others have learned is that missionaries are a resource, which they want to use to the most effect. The same way I know you approach the money God gives the church, you want to get the most out of the limited recourse God has provided.

The Bible school I attended when I was young had a special emphasis on missions, in fact they were at that time supporting over 200 missionaries world wide, and for a small school and group of people that was very good.

This school/missions group revised their strategy a number of years ago, to move from sending one missionary couple to every nation, to sending teams of missionaries to areas where fruit was being born. There were some nations where missionaries had lived for twenty years without ever seeing one convert; but other areas were begging for more workers, and people were getting saved. This team concept helped in two areas, one it provided more workers to an active area, but also the missionaries supported each other, and helped them to stay on the field longer.

Concerning the other pastor I love the fact that these kids where his sheep, and his primary responsibility. Apparently he supported short tem missions, but he also wanted to see his little lambs grow. From a priority perspective – I think he nailed it!

I hope you don’t think I am being critical too. I love that you have such a great heart for missions, and finding the one.

You know if Kathryn and Gary take one side, I am required to take the other! :) Kate don’t be so kissy-kissy! Big Smiles – you know I am just kidding, I am so glad Bill has you in his corner – when he has to deal with me!

BMR

I think we have it a nerve here.

Let’s keep the conversation going.

As we do, let’s present Biblical examples or scriptures to support our views.

Blessings all…bring it on. ;)

Bill,

I love your fishing example! You know that is the secret to good fishing, find where the fish are and you will be successful. Without going into all the verses on being a good steward, I thought this one would be fun – and you know I like fun! :)

John 21: 3-7

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.” Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”

Wisdom is finding what side of the boat God wants the net on. And in this scripture – there was abundance! And when this happened they knew – it was the Lord!

You know the first time I remember a Christian getting picky about scripture and verse to discuss a current church debate was when someone wanted to let long haired hippies, with jeans into church to play music with guitars and drums! ;) I guess that really dates me!

Love you bro!

BMR

You’ve already given great examples!

Statements can and do indicate a heart attitude, but it is also possible for us to misunderstand. Bill, I think your concern in absolutely valid, and it is important that we hold each other accountable (Gal 6:1). It’s most important that we follow God’s lead, and I am very thankful and excited to see the burden that God has put on your heart and the hearts of the God’s people at Cornerstone for the people of Baja Sur California.

Jesus preached to the multitudes, and to the individual , but He was/is always personal, and I believe He is always out to rescue the the lost lamb, whether he/she is lost in a crowd or in a desert place. I, for one, am thankful that He doesn’t forsake either situation.

In Philippians 1 after pointing out that some preached Christ from envy and strife (from selfish ambition), Paul concluded, “Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.” (v.18)

Okay, I have to go, so it is with fear and trembling that I click on the submit comment button…please be nice folks! :o)

His grace to you!

BMR,

So the sign of faithfulness is numbers? I know you don’t believe that.

Jeremiah, Isaiah? David Livingstone in Africa?

Once again, my main concern is that we don’t equate missions work ONLY with the idea of the blessing that we can immediately receive.

“Where is it happening? I want the kids to have a great experience” SEEMS to sound like the worthiness of a trip would be based solely upon what the goers would get out of it.

Oversimplified, yes. You know what I mean though.

It can easily be turned into a mantra and a rule of thumb.

My thoughts are clearly not exhaustive and I’m hardly qualified to discuss this subject beyond an initial pondering of what pastor Bill and others have shared.

It seems, however, that the goal should always be to simply go where God leads, not necessarily to seek the action or ones personal ideals prior to actually hitting the road. If one is where they are suppose to be, then its sort of a given that God’s blessings will abound, whether we are privy to what those blessings are at the time or not. (I’m reminded of those treasures in heaven…)

So long as people are doing as God desires and following where he leads then I suspect there will always be just the right amount of action in their midst, whether that action involves the salvation of one or thousands, whether that action involves kids being wowed a little or a lot. And besides, who decides what a little or a lot of wow is when God’s doing the wowing, anyway? –Just wondering.

All that being said, I suppose it doesn’t take too long for things to get a lot more complicated than that. There’s always the issue of being a good steward with what God has given us to work with. Hence the nagging question; “How can we get the most bang for our buck?”

But once we start asking a question like that we risk placing a human value upon the heads of those in obvious need. Example: Do we spend the thousand dollars to go down and share with the handful, or do we spend the thousand dollars somewhere else where we know we will have hundreds of ears to hear our message?

There certainly seems to be a lot to pray about prior to embarking on a mission trip of any size, but so long as someone is confident they are in God’s will at the time of departure… I suspect all the rest will fall neatly (Or not so neatly) into place as He sees fit for it to.

As far as what we might or might not get out of our serving, I wouldn’t think that should at all be ones motivation for serving, though anyone who has spent even a speck of time serving our Lord has probably already learned, right quick, that his blessings are usually quite obvious and more than abundant.

LTW,

Thanks for saying it better than I did. Bull’s eye!

That was suppose to be Philippians 1, v.18 and some how I got a smiley face with sunglasses! I have no idea how that happened!

My friends & others who always dread seeing a post from me, but like a train wreck feel compelled to read…. Just kidding …. :) (Becky if you figure out the sun glasses – please share)

I have no problem with someone going after one sheep no matter how far they must travel, if that is how God leads them. But I also appreciate a missions organization, who wants to reach as many people as possible, choosing to place missionaries in a culture where people are responding to the gospel verses sending them were they are not open.

Here are a couple of Biblical examples:

Luke 10:10,11 (Jesus sent out the seventy)
“But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, ‘The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.’”

Here we see an example of moving on – in the past mission groups would leave a noble missionary couple in a difficult field for a life time, bearing no fruit when other more fruitful areas where crying for workers.

Luke 13:6-9 He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. “Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ “But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. ‘And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’”

Here is a parable that shows God expects fruit, and that I think so should we; fruit in our lives and in our ministry.

Frankly the pastor mentioned in the beginning of the blog is a good pastor (as testified by Bill) so I respect his authority for the sheep in his care. Equally I respect Pastor Bill, for the sheep in his care and his desire to reach those who are more difficult to reach.

I just think both men can be right, because that is how the Holy Spirit is leading them.

Personally I am looking forward to taking one of these trips to South Baja – the Lord willing next year. Provided Bill hasn’t kicked me out of Cornerstone by them… Chances have really gone up this week……… :(

BMR

I wonder how many people would be added to the Kingdom if everyone reached one? Many want to be “where it’s at;” how many are willing to be a Phillip? (Acts 8).

BMR,

You’re safe until after your Mexico trip. We’ll keep you around until then. ;)

BMR,

I enjoy your posts and you aren’t going to trick me into believing otherwise, so there! :-)

8)

Hey, Dave…. just figured out how to do the ‘cool’ Emotions Icon … like this 8)

:) ;D :p ;) 8) :( 8( ;(

… not sure if all these will come out, but sure am having fun….
Blessings all….

:D

:P

… you know what else is cool, when you look at the recent comments it looks like everyone is praising the Lord… good note to end on.

Hermana Napa Helen,

Dave who? ;)

Please, please please share how to do the sun glasses icon… Please…

Muchas Gracias!
BMR

hey, what happened to the SMP thread of this post?

LTW,

Thanks! 8)

Where is it really happening??? All types of red flags go up upon hearing that question.

Why is it so often the case these days that we have to go somewhere to “tap into” a work of God?? What are we looking for? And why isn’t “it” found just beyond our doorstep?

Pastor Bill;
So sorry for distracting from this important threat. There are many people who have experienced what you have in missions and have encouraging words to share of what God has taught and shown them, too.
Blessings,
Helen

… i mean ‘thread’… here i go again… my fingers are moving faster than my brain…

btw Bill. I don’t think you are being critcal.

It is important for all of us to periodically evaluate and to let the Lord reveal to us our hearts. If not, what starts out as a movement becomes a machine. The ministries of our churches are all prone to become a program, intrenched into our thinking without any consideration of what the Spirit of God is desiring from us.

Mike,

Thanks.

It is tricky to criticize something that has become good, and perhaps in some minds, a standard MO for ministry.

I guess I am a big proponent of the saying:

“The enemy of the best is the good”.

Or….maybe we are both critical. ;)

Thanks Mike…

PSTR Mike,

When I was 16 or 17, a Christian friend wanted to take me to a place where “it was really happening”. I was to young to know that was this was a red flag.

When I walked into that circus tent, and heard that Christian rock band, and saw all those hippies loving each other – I should have known better. But I didn’t, I even came back for the Bible studies… Sometimes there were so many people, we couldn’t all fit in the tent! There was another clue I missed – NUMBERS! (By the way I know numbers are not important, but isn’t there a book in the Bible by that name?) I should have ran for my life, but instead my wife and I have been part of the Calvary Chapel machine ever since! And oh how difficult it has been! I mean all this teaching on Grace…. I think Chuck even has books on it! If only I had seen the red flag!!!

Please don’t be offended with my attempt to make a point and be a little humorous too….

Personally I think judging this pastor’s one small comment is much ado about nothing, but what do I know….

I love all of you (especially Pastor Bill, he is a great pastor) – but I am a bad moon kind of guy… :twisted:

BMR,
your post is a red flag………… lol!

ok point taken, however, there are two sides to the same coin..

btw,, same experience with that church in the cicus tent, but I was 12…………

‘Judging this pastor’s one small comment”……

that’s not what is going on here. that one small comment is one that I have heard over and over again and with greater frequency….ever heard of Lakeland?

and one more thing…….

Sometimes taken our people to the “place where “it’s” happening” could be the worse thing for them. What if they are not ready to receive, evaluate, and consider what they experience. Of course, that where the pastor comes in, but, we live in a day where we equate spiritual experience with spiritual maturity. Annointing is given authority. iI’s not always so simple.

PSTR Mike,

Yes I agree there are two sides to every coin, and I just wanted to show the other side too. I think it is wondeful that we – Cornerstone – are working in a new area – that was Paul’s heart – to go where no man has gone before mmm or is that star treck? I know there are also dangers – but as Bill said this was a good pastor – I just wanted to stick up for him. I hope he appreciates it!! :)

Blessings,
BMR

oh and Bill,
If John Lucas is of the same mind as you……………..

BMR,
hmmm.. and you got on Kate for being kissy-kissy……….

hey, I know of a place up north of you where you could do some outreach………

back to my studies!

Pastor Bill;
I hope more pastors and missionary leaders will respond to your insightful comments.

In what way are Church Leaders tempted to evaluate short-termed mission trips by tradition, personal comfort and human standards?

This is challenging to leader and all Christians to seek the Lord each step of the way in our walk with Him and be willing to go against the flow when He calls.

Mike,
John Lukas and I…our minds are none. ;(

BMR,

I tried to start out by showing both sides of the coin. I just think that one side is wrongly emphasized at times, and to the exclusion of the other side.

I don’t hear a lot of senior pastors talking about a burden they have for an area, or a people group. It’s almost like missions trips become something to pick off a buffet table.

I am POSITIVE that God uses all those “buffet table” efforts, and that lives get changed, both the lives of the goers and those getting blessed.

I just wanted to raise my voice and try to say, “Is that how we should view missions ALL the time?”

good point Bill.
I’ve been invited to go on short term mission trips…… Mexico, Africa, India, and even Sturgis. But I haven’t gone because I haven’t sensed God’s call. We go as a response to calling, not because of expectation, or obligation. Why would I want to do anything except the love and calling of Christ compells me?

I have to ask what is going on in a church when they feel like they have to take their people elsewhere to get the “great experience”?? Do forget that we live in mission field??

Pastor Bill;
Could you clarify what you mean, “our minds are none”…

Meaning you’re not leaning upon your own understanding in these missions outreaches to Baja Sur, MX… or that you are not on the same page with one another???

Sorry, I’m not understanding what you’re saying from your last blog enty…
Helen

Helen,

Instead of saying “our minds are one”, which would indicate that we are in intellectual agreement…

“Our minds are none” is a silly, joking way of saying we happen to agree because we are both empty headed.

Like we don’t know any better, and as a result, we agree.

Pastor Bill;
Thanks for the explanation. I don’t happen to agree that your minds are empty, but do agree that you guys make a great team. I’ve been blessed seeing God work through you guys in Baja. You also have way too much fun in ministry, it hardly looks like work
Blessings;
Helen

helen,
I hope I didn’t offend here. I wasn’t intending to degrade Bill or John. John doesn’t know me, but I was around NorCal some years back and attended CCLC. John and his wife led a marraige retreat for us that still sticks in my mind. As you noted, he is a fun guy to be around. Have a blessed Lord’s day.

Bill, good post. Good discussions bring up lots of good perspectives to talk about and pray about.

Talking and praying people are generally well developed, servants of God. We may have definite strengths that are developed by God’s grace but we need each other in the body as our peripheral vision for each other when it comes to blind spots and enlarging our perspective.

Wise Lead Pastors and Youth pastors will recognize the pros and cons of a given mission field when it comes to leading a s/t missions team of youth and adapt their pre-trip training, plan of ministry activities and post trip follow up to further stimulate the passion,mindset and growth of the youth who embark on and participate in a s/t missions trip.

Any ministry endeavor can be tailored to focus on learning more of and ministering to God and learning to recognize people and serve them with the eyes and heart of our Great Missionary God and Savior.

I think the initial comment of the pastor you mentioned indicated his desire to see the youth come back to their Jerusalem with new eyes for seeing God at work and a corresponding heart for people.

He may have just been looking for the “Easy Bake” solution or program to facilitate that desire.

Cheers,

Good post, good questions and observations. I’m glad there are pastors thinking these thoughts and asking these questions.

“But are short term missions trips mostly about those who go?”

…When the attitude is one of a priority of wanting the kids to go and have a great experience, then yes, it is mostly about the ones going… sure, we all want a great experience when we go somewhere, but the great commission is NOT about going into all the world and having great experiences. A post on another blog mentions the “God of the mundane”, and much of everyday missions is mundane. Taking kids somewhere and expecting it to be a “great experience” builds an unrealistic view of the mission field. Projects may be created to meet the group’s need, when in the community it may actually have a contrary effect on the recipients. The go-ers and do-ers feel really great about the fact that they built that house or fed that group or distributed those clothes. But perhaps those materialistic projects have drawn the recipients closer to the gospel of materialism than to the gospel of Christ. Some of those needs may have been real, some not so much. Some of what is created and perpetuated by these types of comings and goings will never be seen by the short term team and it’s pastor/leaders. Dependency, jealousy, laziness…I’m sure the list goes on. Not just among the unsaved, but also among believers. I think these things are perpetuated more when multiple groups begin to focus on and go to the same place.

…If missions is first and foremost about others, then creating or finding a “great experience” for those going is centered on the go-ers. It’s more about tourism than missions. And preparing a team going for the possibility that the trip could be mundane? Well, that might lead to some people not wanting to go. Again…in many cases, it’s really tourism.

Do we need to find out where “God is moving”? It’s great to be aware of where God is (apparently) moving, that’s exciting, inspiring, but is it creating a type of covetousness? Are those going “coveting” an experience? Is it okay to go someplace that God isn’t appearing to move? Is it possible that God would take a group somewhere and allow a bad experience because it would teach something he wanted to convey? Is there value for a group to fail at their outreach? I suspect there might be as much or more growth and value if a group went based on the leading of the Holy Spirit and failed than if it went and succeeded at something accomplished outside of that leading, or in opposition to that leading.

How about going to where God is “waiting and wanting to move”? ” The hungering and thirsting for some “move” of God is nice, but it’s a problem, too.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

Again, yielding to the leading of the Holy Spirit, one must be willing to go because God said, not because of some measurable outcome down the road. Perhaps a group will be sent and rejected. Or sent, and all plans disrupted. We serve a Christ who was rejected. We see rejections as followers go and tell. It’s possible to be directed to go somewhere that God isn’t planning a great “move”. It’s possible to be sent as a learner. It’s possible to grow through failure. It’s unfortunate that a results-oriented society is less likely to support the mundane or the failed result the next time.

Sending youth as missionaries who are not committed, or worse, not saved, is self-serving. Sending so they might be impacted is a “using” of the people in the receiving place. You wouldn’t knowingly send an unsaved or minimally committed person as a full-time missionary. Yet groups take unsaved youth on mission trips to go “witnessing” or to help teach through VBS…bad message to the go-ers. Not that they couldn’t get touched, even saved, but again, who is the focus in that event? Taking them to see poor people so they can appreciate what they have back home? Teaching them to see the poverty, and not teaching them to connect with the people and see beyond the poverty? This shortchanges the people they visit, and it shortchanges the short term team. So many teams do their projects and believe they’ve accomplished great things in the kingdom. They leave having never connected with the people. And the next white van rolls in to take their place…or the next bus load…or?

I don’t think I know it all, and I’m sure this sounds extremely critical. I know there are those who pray and wait upon the Lord to lead, and who go because they have been directed by Him. But through firsthand experience, I know there’s alot to learn, and there’s an awful lot that people seem unwilling to learn. The materialistic aspects, especially, have the capacity to shipwreck lives. And I weep for the people who have been hurt for the kingdom by the unknowing, unwitting actions of people looking for experiences for themselves and their youth or adult short term teams.

A,
Thanks a lot for your candid and challenging questions. I think my questions and concerns have rocked the boat just a bit regarding the “normal” church of view of missions. No one has sent me flowers. ;)

Your post is really spot on. My original intention, as I perceive yours to be as well, is to share thoughts that might help us guard our methodologies about why and how we do short term missions trips.

Our first trip into South Baja was horrible on a number of levels.
1. We were unprepared for the terrbile highway driving conditions. Some near miss accidents with big rigs. Some very real collisions with big rocks. Woo-hoo.
2. We took a group of 20 Americans who co-labored with 20 Mexicans. Half of the group got very sick with a real mean parasitic infection. Very sick, as in hospital stays. We came somewhat close to losing one gal, as in death.
3. One place we went to to do an outreach, three little kids came. It was very spiritually dark there. No response to our presence at all.

Many would consider that a “bad” experience, and wouldn’t want to chance that happening again.

We have been going for 5 years now, because we felt called. Many have returned, knowing some of the risks that still exist. The return group has included that sister that was deathly ill.

I am obviously coming at this thread as one who has a burden for a place and a people, not just for missions trips in general.

I don’t think I am right and others wrong. I just believe that we need to consider both sides of the coin.

A, thanks for sharing.

pstrmike;
thanks for your concern, no offense was taken…

Pastor Bill;
I would just like to say that my first missions trip to Baja was very difficult for me.

It was a spiritual battle for me to even get there to meet with the group before they left, and yet God met me and helped me every step of the way.

It was the very first time I’ve ever done anything like that before and I had so many concerns that I almost talked myself out of going. But I was so glad that I did go.

I felt God’s presence and the Holy Spirit’s protection all through the trip. I also grew to love the people in Baja that we served and cried when we had to part.

Even though I don’t speak Spanish and they didn’t speak English, there was a love that God put in my heart for them that made me want to go back many more times.

It was so special to pray together with them, me in English and they in Spanish, knowing that it didn’t matter that we didn’t understand each other, because God was listening to our hearts.

More than growing spiritually for stepping out in faith and serving the Lord, I have compassion for these people that I know is from God.

I just wanted to share a little, and perhaps others who’ve gone would also like to share.
Blessings,
Helen

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