For those of you who do not know, I am currently on a CCW Launch (aka mission trip) to Romania. We are with friends here in Calarasi, a district in the southeast. This is my second trip to the area. It has been good to see people that I met a year ago still around and participating in Christian community. Today (Tuesday), our team had the opportunity to visit and pray with families in the village of Roseti. We then gathered for their weekly worship meeting at a house that last year’s team (ACCESS218 and AwakeningUK) did a ton of work on. The house was packed with people and the time together worshipping and praising God in different languages was pretty cool.
I absolutely love these trips. While there is something cool about getting your passport filled with stamps from several different countries, that is not primary reason I look for opportunities to get out of the US. Here are two main reasons why international mission trips have been essential to my development over the years.
1.Overseas, I am able to dis-engage so that I can re-engage. Getting out of my normal routine and context is extremely helpful as it reminds me of things that need to be done at home. Too often I am so absorbed in daily ministry, responsibilities and duties that I miss some things along the way. As I have engaged in mission overseas, my eyes have been opened to ministry that God was inviting me into back home. Truth is most people need this kind of disengagement away from home so that they can re-engage at home. (PS God has taught me more about worship outside of the US and I am ever grateful for that fact.)
2. Overseas, I am reminded that the world is bigger than me. And when I say me, I also mean Jacksonville, Florida, and the United States. Like most people, I suffer from me-centered thinking. It is amazing how much bigger the world gets when I worship with people who speak a different language. It is one thing to serve people knowing you’ll be thanked in a way that makes sense to you. It is a whole other thing to be served and not know exactly how to show gratitude in a relevant way. In overseas mission work I learned ‘it is not about me’ in a profound way. The lessons around this thought has done a lot in me over the years and has made me think differently about living in humility to God and humanity.
I hope that everyone reading this blog post would consider taking an overseas mission trip. When Jesus said we would be His witnesses to the ends of the earth, I do believe He was speaking to all who would believe in Him. For most reading this blog, that means you! Right now, some of you are saying ‘but there is so much to do right here in our city.’ And I agree. But I challenge you with the thoughts above and the opportunity to bring an inspiring experience back home to those you love, serve, and do life with. Yes, these trips can be expensive and yet they are so worth it.