Welcome to day 9 of
30Days-30Pics: Defining Short-Term Missions.
Short-term missions is a time where, when the Lord brings a number of story lines together, you can experience moments of great joy and exhilaration. Today I’m going to tell you about a few of those times.
Today’s photo was taken at a rest stop along the Arc River valley, on the French side of the Fréjus Tunnel, between France and Italy. We were on a return trip from a few days away and had been driving for several hours.
Although it was still relatively early in the day, the onset of nightfall wasn’t far off – common in the mountains, given the elevated horizon. All of the kids were glad to stretch their legs and we took some cool silhouette photos with the setting sun and craggy mountains for a backdrop.
This picture of Sophie captures well the feeling of joy and exhilaration that you will feel during at times during your short-term missions experience.
Grammatically correct sentences are not made up exclusively of exclamation marks. Rather, they are a combination of verbs, nouns, subjects & objects, descriptive clauses, etc. Exclamation marks are the culmination of well put together sentences with all of the elements.
Similarly, in everyday life, we don’t expect to experience joy and exhilaration 24/7. These moments punctuate the other elements of what constitute our regular day-to-day existence.
- In traditional jobs, we work a certain number of hours or days before enjoying a few days off.
- The farmer works the ground, plants and waters before he can enjoy the harvest.
- The joy of stretching your legs is more intense after sitting in a car for several hours.
STM is similar to everyday life. We love to see the reports come through of great results, but those results have come at the price of time, effort and God’s hand moving sovereignly.
We’ve had jump for joy moments in France:
- A young believer saw his need to make his family situation right before the Lord and asked us to be involved in his wedding.
- A young couple contacted us by phone looking for a church… they regularly drive over an hour to attend.
- A woman, in France for medical treatment, realized her need to be baptized in Jesus’ name and we had the privilege of accompanying her in that step.
These moments have punctuated our time in short-term missions. They are not the daily norm but we look forward to them with eager anticipation. It’s part of living a life of faith… expecting God to move.
You need to be balanced in your expectations. Expect and plan to give your best. Expect God to move.
Depending on where you’re serving, and what type of ministry you’re involved in, you may see such moments on days 1 or 2 of a 10-day trip or you may not see them until week 4 of a 6-week trip. The important thing is to keep giving your best – whether or not you see tangible signs of growth.
Remember, after a seed has been planted several things have to happen before the first green sprout becomes visible.
- the seed shell must soften.
- a single root will develop and begin to grow downward.
- a stem and nascent leaf must work its way up through the soil… through compacted soil and past rocks & pebbles.
You will experience jump-for-joy moments while serving. Pray for them. Expect them. Anticipate them. …and work diligently until you do.
They’re SO worth it!
God bless you as you pursue jump-for-joy moments while serving in Short-Term Missions.