Welcome to day 4 of my 30Days-30Pics: Defining Short-Term Missions.
Short-Term missions does a lot of things well, but one thing it does especially well is allow you to form faith-centered, faith-building friendships, many of which will last a life time.
First of all, let’s be clear. I don’t make a habit of taking selfies with groups of gals that are not my wife (channeling my inner Mike Pence 🙂). If Liz isn’t in this one, it’s because it was taken at North American Youth Congress (NAYC17) in Indianapolis, and she was not with me.
These four gals took part in the 2015 Apostolic Youth Corps (AYC) trip to France, where a team of over 30 young people spent 10 days ministering in services around Paris and Northern France. Our family accompanied them and served as their guides and translators.
Since then, however, the Lord has knit our family into their hearts and theirs in ours. One of these gals got engaged to be married recently and her fiancé reached out to us to be part of the proposal festivities. How special!
No matter what you do, unless you live removed from society, you’ll be surrounded by people. At work, at school, on the morning commute, etc., you’ll be among people.
Though you don’t always get to choose the people around whom you find yourself, you can make choices that increase your chances of getting closer to certain types of people.
- Want to be around extremely adventuresome types?
Spend your free time rock-climbing, hang-gliding or bungee-jumping.
- Want to be around the calm, cool & collected types?
Head to your local combo book-store & coffee-house.
- Want to develop your knowledge of foodie culture?
Spend time with fellow foodies.
- Want to grow in your faith?
One part of the equation is cultivating christian friendships.
There’s always a transfer between people when you spend time with them… it’ll either be from you to them, from them to you or, ideally, a bit of both.
Paul encouraged Titus to have the older women of the church spend time with the younger, so that these latter could glean wisdom in how to be godly wives, mothers and witnesses (2.3-5). Similarly, he dis-couraged Titus from ongoing relationships with people who were quarrelsome and divisive (3.9-10).
Our associations matter… they’re either going to add to us in some way, or take something away.
In Short-Term Missions…
In addition to the time and energy you’ll invest into the Kingdom of God, and the fruit that will eventually come from that, your choice to be involved in missions will bring you into a company of others of like-minded faith.
You’ll find yourself surrounded by other people who love God and are serious about serving outside their comfort zone. Perhaps they, like you, are feeling out a call that may have their service take place on the mission field – whether short-term or long-term. Not everyone in a team will become a forever-friend, and maybe some of the important relationships will only be heavily present in your life for a time, but their impact will be no less significant.
There will be days when their example (or the memory of their example) will inspire, encourage or inform your faith. On other days, it will be your walk that inspires and encourages them. Short-term missions – among other things – is about faith-centered and faith-building friendships. This could be said about serving God in general of course… but I’m speaking from what I know: Short- and medium-term missions.
God bless you as you discover important friendships through your time in Short-Term Missions.