by Ron Leonard, Missions Pastor
Reflecting on recent short-term mission experiences for both myself and others has reminded me to expect the unexpected. Certainly, travel, health, and personal glitches will occur, but I'm thinking more of those unexpected occurrences when God's activity is clearly recognized. Consider these recent examples:
- A teenage girl, on her first international mission trip, boldly engages in conversation with her seat partner while on the airplane and extends an invitation to follow Christ.
- The mission team leader has a conversation with an 18 year old national at a restaurant/gas station, who offers encouragement and reveals he has retained a coloring page he received as a young child from someone on a mission trip years ago.
- The medical team goes on a house call for an elderly patient only expecting to offer some comfort, when along the way they observe and rescue a choking child.
- A team dentist uses an opportunity prior to meeting a physical need by addressing a spiritual need - sharing the Gospel of Jesus through an evangelism cube.
These are only a few examples of the unexpected, not even to mention God's protection and provision for mission teams traveling globally throughout the year as well as evangelistic responses from many people hearing the Gospel for the first time.
In these occurrences, two things are evident: (1) the activity of God and (2) the faithfulness of His followers to go. Jesus Christ is "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). His activity is not merely recorded in the Bible, He actively brings redemption and restoration in the lives of people today.
The commission for followers of Christ is to "go and make disciples" (Matt. 28:19). The expectation is for all who follow Jesus to do as He commands.
So when you do so... expect the unexpected!