Jonathan Howe

Have you ever been on a short-term mission trip? If not, you should go. Seriously. Put it on your bucket list. Going to another country on a short-term mission trip is a life-changing experience. Actually, it will change your life, the person who goes.

We think that we are going on the mission trip to change the people’s lives in another country, and it does have an impact on them. But I believe it impacts our lives even more. We recently took 21 people from Graystone Church on a 10-day mission trip to Curitiba, Brazil. We ministered in several orphanages. We led Sports Camps for the kids. We led worship services. We taught them stories from the Bible and shared with the about the amazing love and grace of Jesus Christ. We fed them. We bought them new bicycles. We developed relationships and friendships with them. I know that God used us to impact their lives for good.

But you know what? I think the mission trip impacted our lives even more. The orphans loved us just like we loved them. When we left the orphanage on the last night, there was not a dry eye in the place. It’s unbelievable what God can do in such a short amount of time. He can do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

I know what you’re thinking. You are not spiritual enough to be a missionary. You think mission trips are for the super spiritual. Nope. None of us is super spiritual. We are all sinners saved by the grace of God. Maybe you think you are too young to be a missionary. Well, my 9 year old daughter went with us, and she did great. Also, we had several teenagers on the mission trip with us. And all of them were greatly impacted. When they saw how little someone else had, it made them more grateful for all God has given them. I believe all of our teenagers who went of the mission trip are even more appreciative of their blessings in life.

You might think you are too old to go on a mission trip. You are never too old. If you are still breathing, God has a work for you to do. You might think a mission trip costs too much money. Well, God will provide. We have story after story of God’s provision for each person on our mission trip. You might think you have no special gifts or abilities for God to use on a mission trip. This is not true. God has gifted every one of us and wants us to use our gifts and abilities for His purposes.

On our mission trip, our team served in 3 different roles. We had “up front” people. These were the out-going people who did not mind being in front of people. These are the folks who led worship, taught the Bible lessons, shared testimonies and led the games and activities. The second group of team members was the “behind the scenes” people. These are the servants. These are the people who grilled the hotdogs and hamburgers for the kids. These are the folks who were in the kitchen preparing the food. These are the servants who cleaned up after the meals. These are the people who unloaded the sound and video equipment and took out the trash. These “behind the scenes” servants made it possible for the third group of people to do what they did.

The last group of team members was the “with the people” folks. These are the ones who spent time with the orphans. They built relationships. They rode bikes. They played soccer with the kids. They hugged and played with the toddlers. They gave their lives away to the kids. It takes all 3 groups of people to have a successful mission trip. So, whether you are an “up front” person, a “behind the scenes” person, or a relational person, God can use you.

I want to encourage you to go on a mission trip. Put it on your bucket list. If you are a parent, take your kids with you. Make it your next family vacation. It will be a life-changing experience for you and your entire family. And it will impact the lives of the people in another country. Jesus’ last words on earth were, “Go and make disciple of all nations (Matthew 28:19)”. Pray about it. And GO!

Jonathan Howes has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from Jacksonville State University and a Master in Divinity Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the lead pastor for Graystone Church. Locations include the Ozora Campus: 1551 Ozora Road Loganville, GA 30052, the Walton Campus: 723 N Broad St Monroe, GA 30655 and the Oconee Campus: 1275 Lenru Road Bogart, GA 30622.
Phone: (770) 466-3159
Email: info@graystonechurch.com
Website: GraystoneChurch.com
Blog: http://toliveischrist.cc
Twitter: @JohnnyHowes