It was the last day of Jonathan’s short term missions trip in Guatemala. He’d been there for a week to volunteer abroad with his youth group. They’d worked on a construction project in a small village outside Antigua, replacing the roof on a local school. Most of their time had been spent working on the roof, and they hadn’t gotten to interact much with the community. Thus, everyone was excited when Greg, their youth pastor, suggested they play an evening game of basketball with some of the locals.
The game was a blast! Jonathan and the other American youth had a great time mixing it up with the adults and children from the village, and they could tell the feeling was mutual. When the game was over, Greg took the opportunity to speak to their new friends about God’s grace. Sensing their curiosity, he led them in a prayer to accept Christ as their savior. Afterward, Jonathan and his friends got back on the bus, and when Greg joined them, they greeted him with an enthusiastic round of applause. “We just helped to lead 13 people to Christ!,” he shouted. Despite the group’s enthusiasm, Jonathan couldn’t help feeling a tiny bit uneasy about the evening. “We’re leaving tomorrow,” he thought to himself. “What if they have questions about their faith?”
Any time a Christian missionary can share the Gospel on a mission trip, there’s reason to celebrate. But sharing Christianity is about more than just sharing the Gospel: It’s about building strong relationships with people and giving them tools to build strong relationships with God. Unfortunately, relationship-building can be difficult during short term mission work. Just as in Jonathan’s story, a Christian missionary often feels pressure to make a tangible impact, even during a short trip. This can lead to interactions that are less effective, because they feel forced and contrived.
Jonathan’s youth group came to Guatemala to build a roof on a school, but they couldn’t have built the roof if the school hadn’t already had walls and a foundation. In the same way, they might have more effectively shared their faith if they had built stronger relationships first. Jonathan’s story is based on a true situation, and it carries an interesting symbolic lesson: Before we share the Gospel with our lips, we should share it through our actions.
Mission Discovery is deeply committed to the success of our mission trips. Every trip we take is at the invitation of a local pastor or missionary. Our teams work on established projects in areas where there is real need. Teams can be confident that the work they have done and the relationships they have made will continue, even after they leave. Start planning now for your next short-term missions trip. Whether you choose to do mission work in the US, or to volunteer abroad, you’ve got plenty of options with Mission Discovery. Please don’t hesitate to visit our website to see the variety of mission trips we have available for all ages, genders, and lengths of time. Now is the time to start planning for a mission trip with Mission Discovery.