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Handling Culture Shock On a Mission Trip

Culture shock is that lost feeling that comes when you’re in an environment for the first time. On a trip overseas, the sights, sounds, and smells are all different than from what you and your group are used to experiencing. Your sense of normalcy is completely flipped upside down. Sometimes your brain and emotions have difficulty processing the information overload. Culture shock can leave you feeling like all you want to do is curl up in your bed in a ball, hold your hands over your ears, and yell until it all goes away. Culture shock doesn’t have to be a debilitating experience,...

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Backyard Missions

Lori, a high school junior, had an apathy problem. Her short-term missions trip to Mexico had given her a fresh perspective on life. She determined to do more to reach out to those in need upon her return. However, within months, she had fallen back into her old, comfortable lifestyle. Lori found the answer to her problem when she became aware of Fran and her situation. Fran had a drug problem. One day Lori’s youth pastor asked her to go with him to call on Fran. Afterward, Lori reported, “When I look at Fran, though, I realize, ‘Boy, this could have been me.’ What I...

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Called to God

“God doesn’t call us to a place. He calls us to Himself.” – Gary Witherall What does that mean for your missions trip? First of all, it’s not just about what great things your group is going to do. You are going to be used by the Lord to bring hope and truth to others. But if God is calling you, and if God will do it, then the other question is what you’re going to gain. What you’re going to learn. What you’re going to see of the Lord; new things you just wouldn’t have gotten back home. I’ve led enough projects to know that kids are...

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The Unexamined Trip: Checking Motives

Bob Lupton, Founder of FCS Urban Development in Atlanta has been critical of what he calls “Vacationaries” and “religious tourism.” In a recent article published here, he makes the following observation about short-term missions trips: “But in fairness to our U.S. churches, many of our motives are noble. We want to excite our members about missions. We want to expose youth and adults to the needs of a hurting world. We want to engage our people in life-changing experiences. “We desire to obey the teachings of Christ to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, show...

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