It's usually hot and a lot of hard work, you don't get paid and bosses rarely give you free time off, and best behavior is mandatory. Oh, and to top it all off, the food is unusual and might seem a little strange at times.
In America, we inhabit a very selfish culture, one controlled by dollars, dependant on systems, and motivated by the "me first" mentality. So why is it that some people choose to forgo these fervently sought after comforts and go on the mission field? What is it about the mission field some Christians are so drawn to? And are those reasons the right reasons?
In my research and personal experience, I have unearthed some of the top reasons people should participate in mission trip experiences.
· Trips will give participants, as well as the church, a vision for missions and a greater awareness of the world's need to hear the gospel. There is nothing quite like seeing it first hand. On one my last trip, it was amazing to me to see the poverty these people lived in coupled with the enthusiasm by which they opened their lives to us.
· The realization that "I can make a difference". You may think that in order to go on a missions trip you have to be able to dig a ditch, but God uses us all in different ways and that person that prays over weeping women is just as useful to God as the person working out in the hot sun.
· Short term missions are a help to the missionaries living there fulltime. America has quick access to many resources that are difficult, if not impossible, for other cultures to get hold of. Simple resources can make huge differences to the lives of people in third world countries. In addition, extra pairs of hands and hearts are always useful!
· Trips will give people a broader sense of the world we live in. It is easy to have our blinders on with regards to the welfare of people outside of our "zones".
· Participants will get a renewed commitment to their churches ministry. Often mission trips bond members in such a way that they develop a greater devotion to the churches ministry and a unique comradery with one another.
· Participants gain a greater appreciation for their own accommodations. Many missionaries come back with a changed heart with regards to what God has blessed them with.
· It is God's Commandment. 15 He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." - Mark 16:15 (NIV)
Adapted from Jenn Rozendal, CBN.com Producer