If you have never gone on an overseas mission trip, you do not realize all that you have missed out on. A short-term focus, typically 10-14 days, and being part of Christ’s outreach abroad, is life changing. It was for me, decades ago.
In choosing to go on a mission trip, a variety of reasons have been shared over the years, including these three:
- To help people, especially those living in incredibly impoverished areas of the world.
- It is a calling from God and an opportunity to serve the Lord.
- As a “vacation with a purpose” to see a part of God’s creation they have not yet experienced.
All of these are valid motives and can be matched with any of our key programs as we endeavor to meet the needs of those in Limpopo, South Africa. Some may not seem very “spiritual”, but when done with the love of Jesus, the “practical” applications also serve the people there and extend a hand with tangible results that lead them to a deeper relationship with Christ.
I have been on well over 100 short-term mission trips and helped host approximately 1,100 individuals on our beautiful campus. These have given me a pretty good sense of the true benefit of investing in these efforts. There is no question of the impact to the general public stakeholders in the country that teams visit, and also the testimony of generosity to its leadership.
Simply, the fact that a group of Americans would spend their own money and vacation time to travel halfway around the world to meet them and do any kind of good works is an encouragement. They always appreciate having new friends from a different culture, especially from America. There is a place for you.
I have personally experienced many medical mission teams, construction teams, and evangelistic teams. Other groups have played pivotal roles such as drilling wells, constructing toilets (to keep young school children from drowning in the derelict systems in the area), assisting with agriculture, and teaching all kinds of other skills. All these things are very worthy humanitarian efforts and I have seen much spiritual growth in the nationals and churches that are served.
A benefit many people fail to realize is the spiritual and emotional growth that mission participants experience.
Most of us have experienced a spiritual dry season in our lives at one time or another when our prayers seem to bounce back off the ceiling. We get the feeling that we are just not connecting with God. For me, a mission team experience anywhere overseas has been the perfect solution in my own life. Nearly every time, especially in Africa, there always seems to be an open window or door to heaven and communication with the Holy Spirit is so much more active and vibrant.
I always love sitting around an African campfire and hearing individuals share what God is doing in their hearts as they spend their days serving beautiful, disadvantaged African children and widows. It is especially meaningful when we are able to assist people who can never return the favor. God seems to always bless that sort of gift by filling our own hearts with great sense of satisfaction. Once you feel this kind of joy, you realize that it is so much more valuable than money, power, or fame.
We often see that the children we serve are happy, smiling, and cheerful despite living in a shack with a dirt floor, no indoor plumbing, and almost no material goods. For them, it is love and faith that give them inner joy, despite unhappy circumstances. I often hear from people who travel with us to Africa that they plan to bring their children on the next trip so that they can experience that it is not possessions that make people truly happy.
On a typical year not affected by COVID, Blessman International hosts 10 to 12 mission teams each year. With the vaccine, we are praying that we again will soon be hosting even more short-term missionaries (aka “you”).
We like to cap each team at 20 individuals, representing folks from all over North America. The typical trip is 12 days long and costs approximately $4,500 including everything. On the trip, people will experience working with the two churches we have planted and helping with our large feeding program of over 20,000 children. We also have a 120-acre farm that is always in need of physical assistance to grow vegetables on the scale needed to feed the children in our program.
Nearly all of the team members will have the opportunity to join us in blessing the children with our Sports 4 Christ and our Celebrate Recovery programs for high school youth. When we have medical professionals on the teams, they often volunteer in our local 350-bed public hospital. Our water and sanitation projects are usually carried out by nationals that we employee but occasionally team members may also participate in these activities.
Everyone can take walks in the African bushveld where they can view many different species of African game animals. We also offer photo safaris for anyone interested in these.
Please visit our webpage: www.blessmaninternational.org, to learn more about our ministries in the country of South Africa and upcoming trip dates. Sign up to receive our newsletter, and for additional information on the trips and how to register. We are in the process of designing a specific trip for LCMC congregations. Stay tuned for more information.
Build enduring friendships with your team and those in Limpopo you serve, deepen your personal faith in our awesome God and provider, and you too, like me, will be changed forever for the good.
A condensed version of this article first appeared in BY THE WORD, the quarterly newsletter for LCMC. For more information and to view past editions, click here.
For more information on international mission organizations, click here.Log in to add a comment
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