so my goal to write devotions about "Desiderata" was pre-empted by a missions journal I was asked to help write. it was a big challenge (30 days) but I really appreciated it. I know many of these may not directly apply to you, but consider your life your mission and enjoy!
A few quiet moments during the day. Resting thoughts to focus your mind. Come face to face with the One who loves you. Be embraced. Cherished. Loved.
Friday, May 2, 2008
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen,
but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18
It’s almost time to go. Stop for a moment and think about what made you make the decision to go on this trip. Were you looking for adventure? Excitement? A new experience? Or was it something more? If you’ve never been on a mission trip before, you may not know exactly why you are going, but have faith – the unseen hand working behind the scenes will reveal it to you in time!
The people you will encounter along this journey will probably look at you with those same questions in their eyes. What are you seeing? Are they asking where you came from? What you are doing here? And, most importantly, what will you do to help answer those questions?
Take a moment to think about how you will spend this time on the mission field. How will your actions be perceived? How will they see Jesus in you? Are you ready to look at the world with God’s eyes? Instead of looking at the people you will encounter through your eyes, look at them with the eyes of Christ. What does He want you to see that is ‘unseen?’ Is there a hidden need He is asking you to fill or a person He wants you to touch? Ask God to show you the eternal, unseen parts of this trip and this experience so that you can more fully help His mission be realized.
God is asking you to look with wider eyes at a world that may be unfamiliar or scary to you and see what He sees.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
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.
Can you believe this trip is here? For some, this is just one of many mission trips you have done throughout your life; for others, it is a new experience. Either way, this is a powerful moment in your life. You are stepping out on faith and making a quiet promise to God that you are willing to do whatever He asks you to do. As you prepare your heart and your mind for the upcoming trip, spend some time thanking Him for setting you apart for this trip. You will learn more, feel more, and experience more in the few days you are on the mission field than many other times in your life—if you are willing to be an empty vessel for Him.
The time before you leave on a trip like this is often hectic. As you figure out what to pack, make travel arrangements to drop-off locations, and spend time with the family and friends that you are not going to see for a few days, are you remembering to be in prayer for this trip?
Take a few moments now to answer these questions:
What do you most want to accomplish while you are on the field?
What lead you to this trip?
What do you feel like God is saying to you?
What are your fears about going?
What makes you the most excited?
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Did you receive an itinerary for your mission trip? You probably did. Feel free to not worry too much about it. The only real constant in mission trips is their inconsistency. The people you were originally asked to serve with have moved, the roads are closed, or there is political turmoil in the country you were supposed to visit…the list could go on and on. Mission trips are notorious for changing on the proverbial turn of a dime, so be prepared for that experience now.
If you are one of those people who likes things to happen on time and have order, your mission trip may be stressful at first. Concepts of time vary around the world, and there is a very real chance you will be more at ease if you choose now to leave your watch at home. No matter how stressful and different your experience is, it is important to remember one thing – it is okay.
Do not stress and worry about how things will turn out – instead follow the advice of Matthew 6:33-34 and seek God’s kingdom first. React to schedule deviations and other variables as God would react to them – and accept now that you will not be in control of your days for the duration of your trip. In reality, you are never really in control of your days anyway.
Each day of your upcoming mission trip will present unique challenges and difficulties. Each day will be a little stressful and frustrating. Each day something will go wrong. Just remember to always seek God first and you will do more than survive – you will thrive on the mission field.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
How many times have you heard the last will be first and the first will be last? Probably more times than you care to count. You know mission trips are not about you, but you have probably found yourself thinking a lot about yourself as you prepare. How will you handle the climate? Where will you sleep? What will you eat? Who will you talk to? Who will miss you?
Those are all normal questions, but for every “you” question, there needs to be a “them” question. How do they handle the climate? Where will they sleep? What do they eat? Who will they talk to? Who will miss them? Those are the questions a true servant asks. A servant does not think about how circumstances affect them, but instead how circumstances affect those they go to serve. It is a simple theory and a hard practice. We want so much to serve and love the “thems” of the world, but our culture does a good job of training us to be a little selfish and worry about us first.
For the next few days, every time a “you” question pops into your head – or, for that matter, every time someone asks you a question about how you are preparing – replace the “you” with the “they” and see what kind of difference it makes in your heart as you prepare.
This trip is a chance for you to serve God to the fullest of your ability – to be His hands, His feet, His heart to people who may never have heard of Him before.
Commit yourself to being last, to thinking less of yourself, and be open to experiencing the true joy of living for “them” instead.
Monday, April 28, 2008
See, I am sending an angel ahead of you
to guard you along the way and
to bring you to the place I have prepared.
There is a lot that goes into preparing for a mission trip for the mission team. There are passports and visas to get, languages to familiarize yourself with, plane tickets to confirm and arrangements to be made while you’re gone. A mission team has to prepare for the mission by learning skills and the needs of the community in which they will serve.
But, have you ever stopped in the midst of your preparations to think about what God is preparing for you, as well? While you are hard at work getting everything in place to be gone from your home for the trip, God is hard at work preparing your destination to receive you – and the message of God’s love you will bring. The place and time of your mission has been specifically planned by God for a purpose. There is a reason your trip is happening right now – and a reason you felt called to go here instead of any other place in the world.
If we could pull back the curtain on the supernatural and see the work God puts into preparing a mission destination for His missionaries, I am convinced we would be astounded and humbled by His work. No person is left untouched and unprepared; no building is put up haphazardly, no road leads to nowhere. The fingerprint of God is everywhere, and most of the time we are completely unaware of what He does on our behalf just to get the mission destination ready.
It is never too early to start thinking about the people that God is preparing and the journey that He is establishing for you on this trip. What do you expect to happen? What do you think God is doing right now to “prepare the way?”
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the LORD your God goes with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Going on a mission trip can be a scary thing. You willingly chose to leave everything you know and are comfortable with to spend a long period of time doing something for someone else. You chose to give up your time and your resources to serve those that are underserved in our world. You chose to not know what the trip would entail for sure and go anyway. And, God will bless your choice!
The promise of Deuteronomy 31:6 is that no matter how unfamiliar you are with the language or culture, He will be there. The promise is that it might be scary and uncomfortable, but God will not leave you alone in the wilderness to fend for yourself. The promise is that your strength and courage to go on this mission trip comes not from you, but from God working through you to impact His world.
When you find yourself on the mission field in an uncomfortable situation (which will happen), remember this verse and seek God in the midst of your discomfort. Take a moment to commit Deuteronomy 31:6 to memory so when you are tempted to be afraid and feel alone, you can remember that the God that called you on this trip is right there beside you and He will never be far from you.