After my talk at a meeting one day, a couple of wonderful teens approached me and expressed how much they want to go and serve as missionaries. I encouraged them to go. I love people, especially young ones, who have a passion for something good. No matter the age, if it is your first time to go, I recommend a short training/seminar prior to the trip as it is beneficial for all. Learn as much as possible about the country and the area that you are going to visit. Based on my own experience, I came up with a general list of 5 Dont’s and 5 Dos.
Below are the 5 Don’ts:
- Don’t go. If it only makes you feel like a tourist and that you are “blessed” more than others. Recheck your motives.
- Don’t compare. Unless they ask you to tell them about your fortunate situation back home, don’t talk about hot showers and comfortable sleep number beds.
- Don’t complain. If you don’t have anything nice to say, just don’t say anything. Yes, that includes a meal that may look unappetizing.
- Don’t take pictures. Respect their privacy. Ask their permission before snapping photos. In my own experience, however; children love selfies or groupies.
- Don’t bring your ‘closet’ unless you want to leave without them. To serve and not to be served. You might go to a place with no electricity, so forget about that hair dryer or that jumbo make up kit.
There are various of ways on how and what to do on a mission trip. Depending on the ‘mission field’ you will be sent to, situations may vary as well. I come from a country frequented by missionaries and I am always grateful for the help that have been extended to the people. Now that you have some ideas on what NOT to do, here are 5 glorious Dos to make the most out of your mission trip. If this is your first time, I pray that this will help equip you.
- Be Your Best. Bring your warmth, your cheerfulness, your love — and maybe there’s a little space in your carry on for a harmonica.
- Listen. Truthfully, it’s not about you. It’s about the people you are going to serve. Hear their stories. Learn about them. You will be thankful when you do.
- Go with an open heart and an open mind. Allow yourself to be immersed in a culture different from yours. Not more or less fascinating, only different.
- Share Your Talents. Whether you have the talent to teach, to cook, to make friends, to tell stories, to sing, to build — utilize it.
- Take this verse to heart: “Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” Jesus was and is our great example. He came to seek the lost. He came to heal the sick. He came to give light to the blind. He came to serve. He came to give love. He came.
Going on mission trips is a noble thing to do. My friends and I love to talk about sending our children on a mission trip to the Philippines. One main reason: so they will appreciate their life abroad and all the comforts and privileges afforded to them. Nothing is wrong with that. As we all may agree, “experience is the best teacher”. I do believe that even if we may have some intentions other than service, God can redirect our focus. He works in mysterious ways. In the end, we want to be changed. We want to be the change we want to see in the world. So be ready. God can use a willing heart.
Have you been on a mission trip? Do you have mission tips or stories you want to share with others? Let me know, I would be glad to share it here with my readers.
Your friend in Christ,