“Mission trip season" is upon us and those final hours before taking off are filled with thoughts of things we may have forgotten, double-checking our craft supplies, or plane-jitters.
Yesterday, we shared tips on what to pack for your mission trip. Today, I'm encouraging you to look beneath the logistics and see the real purpose behind the trip itself. Search your heart and remember why you are hopping on a plane in the first place. What do you hope to gain from your trip? What do you hope to leave behind? It's all too easy to get caught up in the details and even the work itself and lose the potential for meaningful conversation, life-lessons and deep joy.
Here are my last minute tips for anyone heading out on mission this summer:
- Be flexible and leave your expectations at home. Your itinerary will change, your curriculum may flop and one thing or another will not go your way – guaranteed.
- Take a minute to breathe it in. You may never find yourself with this opportunity again, so savor it, enjoy it and don't take it for granted even in the most exhausting moments.
- Get dirty. Don't miss out of the opportunity to make a change or be changed because you are afraid to get your hands dirty. Transformation is messy, but this is where the magic happens.
- Listen. Hear people's stories and be truly grateful they are willing to share a part of their lives with you.
- Ditch your God-complex. We all have a tendency to feel like we can or need to save everyone, but in reality God is the only one who can save any of us. If we go on mission trips hoping to rescue people, we may be hurting more than helping.
- Pray that God would use this trip to make you who he created you to be and would use you to help others be who he created them to be.
Go with God this summer.
Written by Allyson Bay, the international missions coordinator for Buckner International, who facilitates life-changing trips for people of all ages. For more information about Buckner mission work, visit buckner.org/missions.