Faith Adventures: The Discipleship of Short-Term Missions

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  -- John 3:16-17 NIV

 

For many years churches have been sending teams to the mission field to help missionaries and those they serve.  There is much more happening in the process of sending teams than we sometimes realize.  A great team will be intentional about not being just a sanctified vacation.  They will prepare the hearts of team members for effective ministry while visiting the field, and to equip them for service once they return home.  People are often transformed by Short-Term Missions Trips.

 

And that is why we are renaming our Short-Term Missions Ministry from Work and Witness (which is true) to Faith Adventures. Faith Adventures is a hands-on connection between local churches and our mission fields, where team members are equipped and sent to work alongside our missionaries and those they work with.

 

Faith Adventures creates experiences to:

Share your Faith in Word and Deed.  Opportunities are presented for you to share about your trip and the reasons you are going with those in your sphere of influence; folks at work, school, in the community and family members.  And you have the opportunity to share your faith with both words and actions once you get to the mission field.  Language barriers are not that difficult because people will see your heart as you share.

 

Deepen your Faith by stepping out of your comfort zone to minister.  Going into another culture and travelling a long time to do so, going without some of the things we take for granted, being away from family; all of these are things that will force you to be more dependent on God’s company and provision.  It will give you a chance to connect in new ways with Him and others.

 

Connect your Faith by working as a Community to engage others.  It is a really great experience to work as a team.  You learn skills that God intended for you to have in collaboration, cooperation, patience, and learning to value others, including those you are serving once on the mission field.

 

Broaden your Faith by seeing Christ in other cultures.  We have a limited view of how God works in the community and our churches.  Worship, communication, and church life is different in other cultures. It is good to see how God works in local contexts.  It is also interesting to see the many things we have in common with our Christian family in other places.

 

Enrich your Faith by seeing God provide the resources needed. Poverty and meager circumstances allows people to express their dependence and faith in God’s provision.  We have everything at our disposal in our culture and we know that whatever we are lacking can be easily obtained.  This is not so in most of the world.  God provides for people’s needs, not their excesses.  It helps us value the tremendous blessings that we have in U.S. culture.  In some ways ministry is easier in the U.S. because we have so much at our disposal.  God will use this to show us how we can use His resources to make a difference in our communities.

 

Realize your Faith by allowing God to work through you to reach others.  It is a fantastic thing when you realize that you are witnessing transformation while you serve others.  You are transformed, surely, and so are those you work with.  Sometimes those are small and sometimes big transformational moments.  When you hear the missionaries’ stories of the big picture of transformation, you will see that you have played an important part, even if it is for a few short days.  It ignites in you the possibilities to do more when you get home.  Find a place to use your newly acquired insights and skills.

 

Grow your Faith by retelling your Faith Adventure Story to others when you get home.  One thing is for sure; everyone comes home with great stories.  The greatest stories are when you are able to tell others the big picture story along with your personal experience and invite them to be a part of the ministry as well.  You can help recruit for future teams, gather financial support for projects and missionaries,

 

Faith Adventures, led by Pat O’Neill in the home office, will help you to find a place to minister, a team to participate in, and help prepare you for a new Faith Adventure.  Teams do not have to all come from one church.  Multiple churches and individuals can participate together to assist our missionaries and our international partners.  Team sizes range from several to 15 persons. Pat has been working with short-term missions teams for 18 years and has led several teams herself.  In 2016 she is organizing nine teams and eight are in the planning stages so far for 2017 & 2018.  She can coordinate all stages of planning and implementation.  Teams are forming for:

 

Bolivia

  • Santa Cruz — Nueva Esperanza (New Hope) Children’s Tutoring Center with Bryan and Molly Canny.

  • Cochabamba — City of Refuge outreach to youth, college students, homeless and orphans with JJ and Randi Guerrero.

  • Cochabamba – with James and Jenny Wolheter assisting with various projects.

  • Potosi — Everlasting Hope Orphan Outreach with Daniel and Naomi Elliott.

 

Brazil 

  • Cubatoã — Facility work, Community outreach, Leadership Training with Aaron and Cris Brakefield and David and Izabel Warren.

 

New Mexico

  • Gallup — Pine Tree Mission VBS and Construction with Pastor Virgil Chee.

  • Kirtland — Community outreach & VBS with Dave and Carol Kochendorfer.

 

Liberia

  • Monrovia — Children’s ministries, Leadership Training with Gordon and Niki Elliott.

 

We are also looking at possibilities with Fiji, India, and Japan.

 

For more information, contact Pat O’Neill at 503-342-3588 ext. 102 or email her at pat@ecmissions.org

 

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