If you are like me, every spring you start receiving letters from friends and family who are embarking upon an exciting summer mission trip. Sometimes its hard to know what these trips are really accomplishing. I mean, come on, what can really be accomplished in a couple of months, let alone a few weeks? Leading a team of students to Fukuoka Japan this summer opened my eyes to a whole plethora of ways God can use trips like this. Here are just 4 unique ways we saw God working.
1. Young believers became Gospel laborers
As I debriefed with each of our team members after the trip, they shared with me incredible things they experienced God doing in and through them. They were not the same people they had been at the start. They spoke, thought and loved more like Jesus! They told me things like, “I grew a love and burden for individuals and now have a vision for coming alongside them.” Another shared that he saw God work through prayer like he never had before, and recounted to me specific ways he saw God answer prayers as he committed himself to it for the first time!
2. The Church was encouraged and strengthened
Could you imagine living in a community where there were thousands upon thousands of people, yet few Christians to gather with? The Fukuoka Nav group lives in that reality every day. They shared over and over how thankful they were to have our team there. It was such a gift to worship with this group and to spend time praying and praising God together. I’ll never forget the feeling I had when Jun, the campus leader, told me goodbye, thanking me over and over with tears coming down his face.
3. Growth was intensified
Why were the long term laborers so glad to have us? Well, our student team had something that the Japanese laborers only wished they had: an entire schedule open to meet with students! Often the time was spent over meals, shopping, playing video games, traveling, or just hanging out. It was through these avenues that our team was able to not only share the gospel but DEMONSTRATE it! It was exciting to have students like Hina and Masayo begin to read the Bible and already be at the point where they are counting the cost of following Jesus! Growth like this often takes many months to take place, and we had the joy of seeing it over several weeks!
4. Missions back home were FUELED
Not only did this trip bless the people of Japan but the people of America too. Students who go on mission, come back on mission! As students experience God at work across the world, they come back wanting to impact their own world. And not only those who went, but the family and friends who supported them had their hearts engaged more deeply in God’s work to fulfill the great commission as well!
So are you still a skeptic? Maybe like me, you need to go see for yourself…