Every year, over 1.5 million people from the United States participate in short-term mission trips (Perez, 2016). Chances are, you are one of them. While we all likely get excited for missions, we may not be preparing our hearts and minds as well as we could be before going on the trip. Sometimes we have ulterior motives for missions. We want to feel good about ourselves, we want to look like or be better Christians, or we simply want to travel to a new place. Prepare My Mission provides content for mission trip goers, and they have some insightful questions to consider when preparing one’s heart for missions:
1) What are some of the reasons I am serving on this trip?
2) Do I have any ulterior motives for going on this mission trip? What are they?
3) Based on my current motives, if I left on my trip today, what would be my primary focus throughout the trip?
4) How might the community I’m traveling to feel about my current motives?
5) How might God feel about these motives?
6) What is the primary purpose of the trip?
7) What should I be focusing on?
8) What do I need to do to genuinely align my focus with the true purpose of the trip?
(Prepare My Mission, 2018).
After preparing your heart for God’s work rather than your own, it is important to prepare for the different culture you are likely to encounter. Think about who you will be serving, what their daily life is like, what their physical and spiritual needs are, and how you might go about reaching them. Doing this will give you vision and likely motivate you to accomplish the hard work ahead.
While your focus should be on the people you will be serving, you would be remiss not to open your heart to the work God will do in you throughout the trip. Ask Him what He wants to teach you about yourself and what He wants to teach you about Himself. There is no magic formula or to-do list that will fully prepare you for missions, but prayer is a must. If God is going to use you to change the lives of others, you must be open to His desire to change yours. When you prepare well for missions, God shows up in a big way in both your life and the lives of those around you.
Perez, M. A. (2016). Things no one tells you about going on short-term mission trips. Relevant. Retrieved from https://relevantmagazine.com/reject-apathy/things-no-one-tells-you-about-going-short-term-mission-trips
Prepare My Mission. (2018). Spiritual prep. Prepare My Mission. Retrieved from http://preparemymission.com/spiritual-prep/