It’s hard to believe it’s almost been a month since we left for Costa Rica. This was my this was my third mission trip. I’ve gone to Peru in 2005 and Africa in 2007. They’ve all been so different. They’ve each taught me different lessons. I’ve heard it said that, “We need Africa, more than Africa needs us.” When it comes to missions, wherever you go, that’s true. It’s amazing what the people in other countries can teach us by the way they live their lives.
Costa Rica was a special trip for me. Here are some of my big takeaways:
There is Nothing Special About Costa Rica – Dan, one of the staff members for 6:8 ministries said this at our debriefing, and he’s right. The one thing I’ve noticed about mission trips is there is nothing special about the places you go. Everybody, everywhere is facing similar tests and trials, everyone, everywhere needs God. People need God just as much in Pittsburgh as they do Costa Rica. Opportunities to help people in big ways are before us everyday, the question is: what are we going to do about it?
Live 50% Comfortable – In our orientation, Dave, one of the leaders of 6:8, said they wanted us to live about 50% comfortable while we’re there. It’s so easy to live in our comfort zone, to never step out and talk to someone about Jesus, to not be there for someone when it’s inconvenient, to not ask someone to go to church, I could go on and on. Mission trips force you to get out of your comfort zone. Now, it’s time to get out of our comfort zone at home, and live about 50% comfortable while reaching people for God.
Slow Down and Care – There is a 70% unemployment rate in Costa Rica. So most people sit around all day and do nothing! A lot of times, to minister to a family, we’d simply buy some snacks and drinks and go to their homes and spend time with them. We loved on them, had some great conversations with them, and prayed for them. I started thinking about that. Often, I’m in such a hurry to be off to the next thing I “have” to do, that I miss out on the moment I’m in and the opportunities that lie before me. Sometimes the best ministry is just spending time with someone and giving them your full attention.
Teenagers are Capable of a lot more than We Think – I loved bringing a group down from Revolution! These students have a special place in my heart. They worked so hard and had awesome attitudes! They built a house, ministered and fed the homeless, We all made memories we’ll never forget. I’m so proud of each of them.
Everyone Needs to go on Mission Trips, Often – People often think going on a mission trip, is the same as going on vacation, it’s not. You usually do get one or two “free” days where you get to enjoy the area, but the rest of the time, you’re working your tail off!
Mission trips will change your life, increase your compassion, enlarge your vision, give you a global perspective, and help you live your life on purpose. After going on mission trips, it’s harder for me to go somewhere, without wanting to make a difference.
If you’ve never gone on a mission trip, I encourage you to search online for one that lines up with what’s in your heart. And then Go! I promise you, it’ll be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made!