Welcome to day 12 of
30Days-30Pics: Defining Short-Term Missions.
I recently read an internet meme that said…
“I don’t drink coffee to wake up.
I wake up to drink coffee.”
Can anyone say amen!? I’ve had days like that and I’m sure you have too. This is one way in which short-term missions is similar to serving the Lord at home: Some days are definitely three-cuppers!
Service Fuelled by Prayer & Coffee
We like our coffee and we like it a lot.
Typically, when our milk frother is working (thankfully most of the time), our coffees look like this. Lots of foam on top, coffee in the middle and the milk hanging out down at the bottom of the cup. It’s a technique we learned in Australia nearly 15 years ago. Our server explained how she did it and … “bam!” … new coffee norm!
In this picture, there’s a coffee for Liz & I, as well as one for Dominic… don’t worry – they’re not all three for me! But there are days….
Time management looks different depending on the type of short-term missions you’re involved in.
- If you’re part of a 7 to 14-day trip, there’s a good chance that your time will be very heavily structured. There will be a lot to pack in. Most trips try to strike a balance between ministry & down-time – being careful to include a day or two of strict leisure time, but remember – you’re there to “get ‘er done”.
- On trips that are 1 to 2-months in length, you can still generally expect there to be a good amount of activities already planned out for you. Generally, however, you could also reasonably expect to have at least 1 day per week where you are more-or-less on your own... free to do what you like (within reason and respecting any safety concerns). This, of course, can vary according to assignment.
If you’re a 7-14 dayer, coffee will likely represent a bit of a coping mechanism. If you’re part of the second group, then coffee will not only be a survival thing in the morning or during a midday break, but it could represent a leisurely release one your down time as well.
This post, though, is really more about your work expectations than it is about coffee.
The shorter your trip, the more structured it will be and the more taxing it will be mentally & physically. Come prepared for that and make sure that preparation involves getting rested up prior to departure. Your trip will go better if you do.
It’s not that the longer trips are less demanding but the demands are different. Expect a greater emotional weight associated with being away from home for a longer period. Expect a great spiritual weight as you plug-in, more, to the surrounding spiritual environment. And yes… there will be physical demands as well as you are called to contribute to the work on the ground.
I guarantee you… that exertion – be it mental, spiritual or physical – will be worth it. You’re going to be part of something incredible, and if it requires 3 cups of coffee + prayer to make it through, go ahead… indulge in both!
God bless you as you work hard while serving in Short-Term Missions.