Last week, I took a group of 27 (19 students and 8 adults) to Arlington, TX to work with an organization called Mission Arlington. If you have never heard of Mission Arlington, I encourage you to look at all the things God is doing through their work.
It was my first mission trip to go on in 5 years and my first trip to lead as a youth pastor. Needless to say, I learned A LOT.
1. God is at Work
“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:14
This verse is about the Israelites and the exodus from the Egyptians. However, it could not be more true when it comes to mission work. The Lord is at work, even if you aren’t. There are times when it looks like what we are doing is leading to failure when, in all actuality, the Lord is working. It’s a difficult thing to remember – it’s not about you. The Lord is working, we just need to let Him work.
2. Satan is at Work
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Where God is at work, the devil is at work. This past week, we saw struggle after struggle. Why? Because we were proclaiming the gospel amongst the nations. Satan hates nothing more than a group of people coming together for the purpose of gospel proclamation. The devil tried to rip our group apart and throw as many obstacles in our way to halt our cause. But, in the end, God was victorious and His great name was proclaimed time and time again.
3. Be Flexible
This is my biggest struggle. If you know me, I am a planner. I like things to go smoothly, as planned. If you’ve ever been on a mission trip, you know hardly anything ever goes as planned. For instance, the first day it rained and we were supposed to be outside! Luckily, it stopped before we got everything underway, but we had to adjust accordingly. It stretched me beyond what I could’ve ever expected. It was a good stretching and caused me to focus on the Lord as I should be doing in the first place.
4. The One Who is Being Blessed is You
When you go on a mission trip, you usually go with the mindset of, “These people need to be blessed with God.” But when you get home you realize that just the opposite happened. You were the one who was blessed. Everyone on the trip could tell you story after story of how they were changed through the trip.
5. Unity is Key
As I said earlier, Satan tried to tear our group apart during the trip. Why did he do this? Because one of the strongest examples of the gospel is unity. In a “me first” generation, it is difficult for a group to be completely unified. Therefore, when the group is unified, people take note. This unity must be based upon the gospel. It’s only through the gospel that true unity can be maintained.
What do you think? What are some experiences/things you’ve learned from a mission trip?