Mission trips should be required

Of all the “one-time” things you could do to follow Christ more closely, can I recommend taking a mission trip?

I got two emails over the weekend from people in our church who went on the trips.  I’ll include one letter below and we’ll probably hear about the other one on a Sunday soon.  Here’s why I think they are so powerful.

1.  There is bound to be something you experience that you don’t think you can handle. And you find out you can…with God’s help.

2.  You have to humble yourself to ask people to support you.  Don’t just pay it out of your pocket.  Asking others for support is part of the growth experience.

3.  You come back with a bigger God because you experienced new parts of his world.

4.  You realize how stinking rich we all are.

5.  It becomes SO obvious that we get some basic things about life wrong.  Hit me when I read the letter below about relationships.

6.  You will probably pray a lot more.

7.  Every single time…you go to help others and you are the one who comes back changed.

Here’s the letter from Jack Goldsberry who just got back from Africa…shared with his permission.

Dear Friends and Family,

 

            Wow! I don’t even know where to begin. I guess first I’ll tell you a little bit about Uganda, specifically the district of Ntungamo. It is the most beautiful place I have ever been. The landscape is lush and mountainous, and the people are so friendly. They value relationships more than time so if something is planned for noon, most likely people won’t show up until around 1pm or later. They love white people and yell out “Muzungu” from everywhere trying to get your attention to chat. What really touched me was that when we would go work in the villages, building mud houses or working on the banana plantations, people from all over would come up and say thank you to us. Everyone was very appreciative, even the ones we weren’t directly helping and it was very humbling. I stayed with a host family and two other members of our group. Our family was just wonderful and took great care of us. The father’s name is Enos and his wife is Deborah. They have five children of all different ages and they were so much fun.

 

            We built four mud houses for families in the villages, worked on their banana plantations, and built places for them to bathe. It was a wonderful experience getting to interact with the families we were helping. Some of them were living with 12 or more people in little broken down shelters and it was great to see that we were actually making an impact.

 

            The rest of the time we were working with the children at the Compassion center. This location has about 300 kids from about age 8 to age 14. Seeing their smiling faces made our hearts melt. We would worship with them in the morning, and their beautiful voices would echo through the city. It was truly a joyful noise. Next, a few of us would give our testimonies and share why we love Jesus and why we came to be with them. After worship the kids would split up into different groups based on their year in school. I always went with the secondary (high school) group. One of the Peace Corps members was leading my group through The Purpose Driven Life and I was given the opportunity to teach them. It was amazing to be able to work through some of the tough spiritual issues they were dealing with personally. They had a lot of questions about baptism and being saved so we helped them through that and showed them the scripture that dealt with those issues. After that, we would talk about life questions. There are a lot of issues with corruption, sugar daddies, STI’s and AIDS, and peer pressure in Africa. We were given the chance to help them through some of those issues as well. It was a little tough to try and get them to talk and ask questions but they love doing formal debates. One morning that really got to me emotionally was when we asked them to tell us things that made them happy and then things that made them angry. The “happy” answers were the classic friends and family answers but the “angry” answers really hit me hard. They talked about abuse and people forcing them to have sex for money, etc…It was hard for me to deal with those things happening to the kids, especially when they talked about it like it happened all of the time. We played them in volleyball (they beat us), football (they beat us in a shoot out), and ultimate frisbee (we finally beat them). The kids are incredible and a true delight!

 

            I have been changed in ways I haven’t even begun to understand yet. What I do know is that I will truly appreciate relationships with people more than I did before. I realized how many things I take for granted and I am a lot more thankful for the things God has blessed me with since I’ve been back. Service will be forever a part of my heart. I have yet to experience a greater joy than serving people. I have learned that more money or material things will not lead to happiness. A lot of the people we met had hardly anything and they were truly happy. I will be less wasteful and use what God gives us right from the ground and the rain. They live off of the land and reuse the rainwater for their gardens and to drink. I know I will return to Africa one day, I’m not sure when but I know one day I will return.

 

Lastly, I wanted to thank all of you for your generous support and prayers. Without you we would have never gotten this opportunity to make a difference like we did. We taught them and they definitely taught us.  My favorite quote is by Margaret Mead…. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever does”. Thank you again for your desire to serve Africa and spread God’s love with me.

 

In Christ,

 

Jack “Mbabazi” Goldsberry

 

 

 

~ by Greg Lee on July 1, 2008.

One Response to “Mission trips should be required”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. The two floods I experienced in my basement were nothing compared to what I witnessed In New Orleans. And helping out there gave me a chance to give back what has been given to me: the care and support of my church family. We are truly rich!

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