Today was our scheduled “Off Day”. It was a really fun day of travel to the Market, an excellent lunch in Granada and then the highlight was the trip up to the high jungle and a Zip Line experience. That is the overview, but there was so much more. What do mission trips do? Why should I go on a short term mission trip? These are the two most common questions that I am asked when I tell someone that I am going out of the country for a week row so on a mission trip.
The first question has to be answered before you can even think about the second. What do mission trips do? I think it’s pretty obvious that they impact local areas and local churches. This is especially true when you do what we do on trips. We come in with the goal to serve the local church. This is done by partnering with a local pastor, or apostolic leader, and trying to help him fulfill the vision that God has given Him. Harry Rios is one such leader. This is the second year that we have served with him in Nicaragua. I really believe that this is the beginning of a long term relationship; a relationship where we can provide resources, manpower and some solid ministry to add with his ministry and vision. I see our team and what we do as a booster rocket to his ministry in the area. We are able to come and help him with his church plants, do some door to door outreach and release the power and presence of God in a concentrated area. This helps start many other people thinking and working to bring the Kingdom down to Nicaragua.
The second part of that question is what does it do for us, the team? Part of the answer is obvious. It allows us a place and opportunity to minister in the gifts that we have been given and learned to release this year in school. We get to preach, prophecy, heal the sick and do all the other stuff to release the Kingdom of God in the community. But there is more. It allow us the opportunity to get to know the other team members in a whole new light. We begin to bond together and lean about each other. We begin to pull out the best in one another. This is what has been happening behind the scenes during this trip and especially today. We got to spend time on the bus talking to each other, sharing our dreams and just bonding. Then at lunch and on the zip line especially, we got to pull for one another; to cheer at the victories and pull people over the hurdle of fear. It is so special. I know that I have grown closer to every member of the team. Some of them I already knew, and have gotten to know better. Many I barely knew, but Now I have developed a new and deep friendship with. It was a great day. The zip line was much harder and more fun that the one from last year.
This Zip line had a tightrope to walk. It also had a jungle swing and at the end a repelling station. If you had any fear of heights, it was going to make you confront this fear is ways that you have never would have on your own. Also the lunch we had in the hotel in Granada. Some of the team were really frightened, but they overcame their fear with the help of the rest of us and conquered the zip line. Some one is in fear when they let fear rule them. They live in courage when they conquer any fear they have through overcoming.
The second question; Why should I go on a short-term mission trip hs already been answered. I believe that we all should take a short-term mission trip at least once a year. These trips push you out of your comfort zone. We all need a push every now then. Taking trips also helps you to appreciate what we have here in the United States. The poor in Georgia are certainly no where near the poor in Nicaragua. Seeing the poverty and still seeing how much the people love God, that is amazing. Also getting out where you can move in the power of the Holy Spirit is so important.
I believe it takes a fun day for the team to begin to see hwo they have grown together, and how they can be used. I know that is what happened today. So don’t be too harsh to judge when you hear about teams having fun. It is a needed rest, but it is much more. It is a time of sealing the bonds that have been developing during the week. I know that is what happened today. Fun days are just as important as ministry days. It’s just that most of the work is done under the surface. Today was a great day. Tomorrow will be great in a different way. We are going back to a church we went to last year. I’m looking forward to it, but I’m sort of sad that the trip is drawing to an end.