Monday, September 5, 2016

3 More Things I Learned on my Missions Trip

Summer is closing in around us.

Days are getting shorter just as nights are getting cooler, bon fires are popping up on Fridays nights, and the hay field that I look at every day out my bedroom window is producing a rusty hue- looks like fall to me!

I've posted here a handful of times about my missions trip this past spring (you can read my personal favorite post about the trip here), but after months of thinking, and praying God would continue to use my experiences to grow me, I have learned even more.

     1. They Don't Need Me

It's all too easy to look at those poor, destitute, sickly, unloved souls and think about what you could do for them. I mean, this is the part of the world where you could feed and house them well for a month with a $10 bill. You could pay for them to go to a really nice private school and learn English, and it would cost you per year the same as one month of your car payment.

It's easy to see that they need medicine, and your few dollars is all that is between them getting it and not.

It's easy to see that you could make life a lot better for them.

It's easy.

But it's a lie.

Those people, as poor as they were born and will probably die, the only thing any of them truly needs is a relationship with Jesus Christ.

They might think they need money.

You might think they need medicine.

But, what they really need is love. The kind of love only God can give. A big God Who will not only forgive their sins, but build a room for them in His mansion.

And don't you think that's so much better than what little you or I could do for them?

     2. That Wasn't the Same Being a Missionary

I find it just a little bit comical when people allude to themselves being "missionaries" after going on a short-, or even mid-, term missions trip.

Well, yes, every saved person is a missionary, but what you just did right there, was not "being a missionary" and no, your parents back home shouldn't update their Facebook statuses to let the world know to pray for their precious child sacrificing his/her life on the "mission field".

Because while you might be in a region of the world where your church has been known to send missionaries, all you did was take an opportunity-laden vacation.

Missionaries who are actually full-time missionaries, good weather and monsoon season, have so much more work. You get to take a break from pushing the wheelbarrow, if you feel like it. They don't.

Working as a full-time missionary is such noble and God-honoring and rewarding work, but it's just not the same as going on a missions trip. They have much harder work than sleeping in and having every meal cooked for them and only staying long enough to hug everyone, but leaving before the real work is done.

I guess I never really understood that before. At least, not as blatantly clear as I do now.

     3. I Cannot Just "Check It Off My List"

If you have ever gone on a trip anywhere similar near what I did, you should also find it impossible to treat the entire thing as a good memory, mark through that on your bucket list, and happily forget about the pain and suffering and need left behind.

I've been asked several times if I want to go back to Burma, or would if I could, and each time I have a split second of incredulous hesitation.

Do you not know?!

How is it that nobody understands it is completely impossible for me to forget what I saw? What I heard? What I know?

How is it that anybody would suppose I could turn a blind eye of ignorance once again when the full truth of the condition has been set before me?

How could I ever be so heartless?


Yes. I do want to go back. I would today if I could. I would stay as long as possible. I would do whatever I could. I would practice my languages, both Kachin and Burmese, until I could communicate the Gospel to those many, many dying people that think they need something this world can provide, but only truly need Jesus Christ.

~ ~ ~

And all of the time, still, just when I start thinking God has about taught me all of the lessons one trip can possibly give, He gives me something more. He reveals something in my heart. He nudges me about my skewed priorities. He lures me back while concurrently keeping me at bay with His reassuring promises of opening those doors in His own good timing.

But what about you? What has God been teaching you through the entirely different set of obstacles which make up your life? How can I pray for you?

Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.

- 1 Chronicles 16:8-11

1 comment:

  1. Kimberly, earlier this year I went on my first mission trip ever to Cap Haitien, Haiti and experienced some of the same sentiments, especially your #2 point. We did some good works in Haiti, but it was for a week. We didn't uproot our whole lives and move to a completely different country and learn a completely different language and live in a culture that was completely different from our own. The missionaries we were worked with did all of that and after only six months of marriage. We were just college kids on our spring break serving in very small ways.

    But I love hearing mission trip stories and the impact they have on the people that go on them! Stories about missions might be my favorite because it takes so much bravery and strength to go to a place to is so far out of your comfort zone...and on top of that these people are preaching the gospel!

    Anywho...enjoyed the read!


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