Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Mission work. Is it what you think it will be? What are you looking to find? What are you planning to do? Well, first thing is to remember, nothing is set in stone and can be changed. You must be flexible. Just be willing to accept change, it may not be what you planned, but what God has planned.
Let us take a look at three words and their definitions according to Webster.
Mission: 1. the act or an instance of sending. 2. Assignment to or work in a field of missionary enterprise. 3. a body of persons sent to perform a service.
Work: 1. to perform work or fulfill duties regularly for wages or salary. 2. to function or operate according to plan or design.
Sacrifice: 3a. destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else. b. something given up or lost.
Now, let us put it all together. How do mission, work, and sacrifice work together for a mission trip? Take a look at the January mission trip to Panama recently. Five of us went to Chitre, Panama to work with the church there for Vacation Bible School (VBS). Our itinerary for Sunday was church service, then helping where needed to get ready for the week (this year they were done so nothing needed), and little time on the beach. Monday through Wednesday we met at 8:00AM for breakfast, and then departed for the 9:00AM–12:30PM morning VBS session for children ages 3 to 10. Around 12:30PM we would have lunch, then return to church for afternoon VBS for the 11-17 year olds. Thursday was the exception because after lunch we began the five hour return to Panama City. Doesn’t sound bad; kinda’ like a regular eight hour work day.
And just like our jobs, we have assignments to do on a mission trip. Working in VBS in Chitre is just like the VBS work in Wentzville. For the morning session the children learn a value of the day, for example obey your parents, then have a Bible story, and memory verse. And they all look forward to snack time and play time. This year older children had some guest teachers brought in. One guest was a potter and worked with pottery while telling the story of the potter and clay. Sounds easy, right? Right! By the end of the day you will be tired but it is a good tired.
So why did I give the definition of mission, work, and sacrifice? If you are thinking of going on a mission trip, these three words will help guide you. There is training here at church for you to complete before going on a mission trip. It also guides, prepares, and tells you what to do and what not to do. You learn the basic information of the country.
You must be ready for change at any time. The church there does not have a lot of resources, but they work with what they have available. We go in wondering what we can do to help out. Will we plant a seed? Will we lead someone to the Lord? What if no decision is made? Did we follow the great commission or did we simply fail? Were we a blessing or a burden? How did we adjust to changes in our itinerary?
Sacrifice. Be prepared to make a sacrifice. No, not an animal sacrifice, but today’s sacrifice…time. It is difficult to leave the comfort of your home, leaving family, not communicating with friends and family for a week. You may even have to postpone buying a few things so you can afford the cost of the trip. Don’t compare yourself to your neighbors, friends, or even other church members. But count your blessings. They are more than you realized. We are so blessed, but we take it for granted. Running water. Hot, running water. Wash cloths. Bibles in the church pews. Our cars. I can go on and on. Yes, we give up a few things to go on a mission trip. But we gain so much more, when we look back at the end of the trip and think about the smiles, and hugs that were shared. The biggest sacrifice is leaving those smiles and friends you made and not knowing if you will see them again here on earth, or if that seed you planted will grow and Heaven will be our family reunion. You can plant a seed anywhere you go; it could be in your backyard or across the globe. Bloom where God plants you. That small sacrifice you made just may be the biggest thing you will ever accomplish.
Mission work is the great commission, and Matthew 28:19-20 talks about that.