Thinking about going on a short-term mission trip in 2020? Here are a few things I’ve put together to help you begin now preparing to go.
1. Where God Guides, He Provides. The first steps of obedience are always a test of trust. Can you trust that the One who called you will provide for you? Can you trust that when you step out that He will meet your financial, physical, and emotional needs? The answer is always a resounding YES! I have witnessed hundreds of student missionaries step out in faith and God has never disappointed. The only ones I have seen not make it, are those that don’t do their part. We do what is possible and ask God to do what is impossible! Don’t procrastinate on your fundraising, but also don’t NOT start because of fear He won’t provide. Take a step of trust and watch God prove His faithfulness. Money doesn’t keep anyone from the mission field, lack of obedience does. I could tell you a hundred stories of God’s providing. But God doesn’t want you walking out my testimony, He wants you to have your own. Just know, where He guides, He will ALWAYS provide!
2. Missions Isn’t ME But WE. Don’t do this journey alone. Let others join in on the process and help you prepare for the mission ahead. Share about the ministry you’ll be part of and ask people to be prayer partners with you. When you lock arms with others, they go with you, not physically, but spiritually as they pray and give towards the ministry God has called you to join. Always remember your opportunity to go is also your opportunity to be a window to the world, to the Church, at home.
3. Expect God To Move. Think Process not destination. William Carey said, “Expect Great things from God, Attempt great things for God.”. Your trip begins before you ever hit the mission field. The process to getting to the mission field is how God cultivates your character for what He will do ON the mission field. Begin asking God to fill you with expectation for how He will move before you ever get to your destination. Begin praying for divine encounters now, so when you get to where you’re going, you already have a mindset for God to move.
4. Practice The Presence Of The Holy Spirit. We have a saying at Awe Star Missions, “Darkness pulls out darkness.”More often than not when we take students to the mission field, we see areas of darkness that are hidden, ignored or disregarded. As students begin to engage in ministry and push back the darkness on the field, they quickly realize the darkness inside of them is holding them back from complete obedience. Take some time and sit in prayer, turn on worship, read scripture and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything hidden in your heart, before you get to the mission field. Ask God to fill you with His Spirit and expose any area that needs to be repented of or given up so you can fully obey as God speaks to you on the mission field.
5. Begin Practicing Instant Obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. The Missionary mindset of obedience needs to be one that permeates your thoughts whether you’re on a mission trip or in your high school, work, youth group, or family. God is speaking to us all the time. But learning to listen and obey quickly takes practice. Begin each day asking the Lord how He would like to use you right where you are. Ask Him to speak through His Word to you or circumstances that would allow you to know what He desires you to do. You may be surprised at who he wants you to begin sharing the gospel with at home, or how he wants you to respond differently to your parents, or what He might ask you to give up to create space in your life for Him to hear Him speak more clearly.
6. Meditate & Memorize Scripture. Without Christ working in and through us, we are useless. It is His power at work in us that changes, so spend time cultivating your relationship with Him. God can only bring out what is put in. John 15:5 says, “I am the vine and you are the branches, if a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing.” When we memorize and meditate on scripture, we allow room for the Holy Spirit to change us and fill us with Truth. The Bible says in John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Freedom for those that you share the gospel with will be dependent on the Truth you share with them. A few scriptures to begin memorizing are: John 3:16, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, John 14:6, Romans 10:9-10; Revelation 3:20, Romans 8:28
7. Write Out Your Story & Practice It On Others. A personal testimony has authority (no one can argue your personal experience), it communicates your heart to others, and it relates to others as you share your struggles and need for Jesus. A few things to include as you prepare your personal testimony are: How was your life before you knew Jesus? How did you come to know Jesus? How has life been since making Jesus the Master of your life? How has Jesus helped you through struggles since coming to know Him? How can others come to know Jesus like you did? Once you answer these questions, practice sharing it with those you know and trust. Then once you feel more comfortable, ask God to lead you to someone you can share it with, who may not know Him. Remember to stay away from churchy phrases like “convicted”, “converted”, “born-again”, “rededication” and most importantly, be genuine.
8. Adjust Your Attitude. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. Each of you should looknot only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 Lay your ‘Me” down and begin to focus on others, get ready to serve and find joy in putting others’ needs before your own. Jesus modeled being a servant over being first. As you prepare for stepping into what God has for you, begin now putting others before yourself and asking others, “How can I serve you today?”
9. Be fluid, Not Flexible. Plans will inevitably change on your trip and possibly even before your trip. At Awe Star Missions we say we are not flexible, but fluid, because we don’t just bend, we want to flow with changes to be best usable to what God is doing. Set your mind now that it’s more important to move towards the divine encounter God has prepared, than to keep a flawless schedule. Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man makes his plans, but God directs his steps.” Be ready and willing to allow God to change the plans so you can embrace HIS PLAN. Be adaptable and willing to learn. Don’t get stuck in your own ways but be willing to try new things. The only way to grow is to be stretched.
10. Connect Early With Your Teammates. Your relationship with your teammates will determine the atmosphere of your trip. You’ll be sharing a lot of experiences and emotions with your group, so get to know your teammates before the trip to build unity and friendship. One way to do this is through the app Marco Polo. You can use this app to video how God called you to go on the trip and ask others to share how God called them to go. Also, you can use it to begin praying for one another before you ever meet. It is a great way to build unity and team closeness before you ever get to the mission field.
11. pray, Pray, PRAY…. “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” -1 John 5:14-15 Prayer is powerful. Prayer changes circumstances. Prayer changes us. Pray for God to begin to build in you a boldness to share the gospel unhindered. Pray for the Divine Encounters God is preparing for you, that you haven’t experienced yet. Ask God to remove obstacles and barriers, and to open people’s hearts to receive the message of the gospel that you’re bringing. Don’t insult God with small prayers. He is a big God! Pray like you know that!
12. Prepare Your Body. Your trip will likely include long days that require lots of energy to pour out to others. There will be changes in food and your typical routines. Make sure you are physically and mentally rested before going into the trip. Eat healthy, get a good night’s sleep and make sure you create space in your calendar to prepare your mind and emotions for the spiritual battle before you leave “No, I keep on disciplining my body, making it serve me so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not somehow be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:27
13. Pack Early. Packing can be a nightmare … if you wait until the last minute. Do your laundry the week before and start packing several days before your trip. Pack extra clothes in your carry-on. Put any prescriptions, Bible, notebook, pen, and passport (if needed) in your carry on too. Bring layers of clothing if the temperature fluctuates and don’t forget to check the weather. Packing early will help you to not forget the important things and put your mind at ease, so you feel less stressed the day you leave. If the group your going with provides a packing list, pay attention to it and make sure you have packed everything you need on it.
14. Learn A Little, Use It A Lot… Culture, Religion, Language…. Do some research on the country you’ll be visiting. What are the people like? What language do they speak? Download Google translate. What customs, holidays, or other unique traditions do they have? Understanding someone else’s culture, beliefs, and language creates a bridge to build relationships.
15. Listen, Serve, & Pray For The Local Workers & Work. Your team will be most effective if you have an understanding of the local ministry you’ll be working with. Get educated, ask questions and be informed on the ministry’s mission, strategies and goals so that you can seamlessly join in when your team arrives. Ask the names of the missionaries or Pastors you will be partnering with and begin praying for them and their families before arriving. Ask if you can bring them anything that will bless their family, or how you can best serve them when you arrive.
16. Start Living Missional Before You Get On The Mission Field…. You have the DNA of the greatest missionary that ever lived, living in your body- Jesus Christ. He has empowered you to be a missionary where-ever you are. In fact at Awe Star we say, “ As disciples we are to live the lifestyle of a missionary wherever we are.” Practice living that lifestyle now! Do something out of your comfort zone like eating at an ethnic restaurant, going to an ethnic store or starting conversation with a stranger. If you are going to a place where you will be working among Muslims, take a tour of your local mosque. If its Hindu’s, find a local temple. Pray and ask the Lord to begin to use you where you live to prepare you for where you’re going. Pray for boldness now and look for ways to creatively practice sharing the gospel, right where you are. Ask God to direct your steps and lead you to divine encounters throughout your day. Your trip will be full of opportunities for new experiences and Divine Encounters, start experiencing them now!
If you don’t have a organization to go through but feel led to go, let me recommend www.AweStar.org