As the summer approaches, there will be hundreds of short-term missions teams getting on planes heading overseas to either assist with a manual labor project, help with an outreach through a local church, or participate in an internship. Exchange Your World is sending a short-term work team to Asia in just a couple weeks, and it got me thinking about practical ways we can pray for this team, as well as other groups that will depart this summer
Pray For Team Health
After long flights, layovers, and “interesting” food our bodies become more susceptible to getting a virus or catching a cold. It’s never fun to be sick, especially in a foreign country, where you don’t have your typical health care system available or the comforts of your own home. It can also be especially frustrating to miss out on the purpose of the trip if you’re stuck in a room recuperating. Praying for a short-term mission team’s physical well being is very important, so that they can accomplish the task that God has given them to do.
Pray for Reliable Equipment
Have you ever started a remodel project in your home and realized you need to run to the store to get that tool you are missing or searched for instructions for something on Youtube? Well, in your host country internet may not be available and a Lowes is not just down the street. It’s interesting how a small inconvenience can bring a project almost to a standstill. This can be another opportunity to trust God for ingenuity with equipment hiccups so that the work project can continue.
Pray for the Missionaries that are Receiving the Team
It is easy to remember the team members that are going, but sometimes we forget to pray for those that are receiving them. Those field workers have been prepping for your arrival for months and there is a lot of backend work that you will never see (e.g. buying supplies, arranging transportation, registering with local law enforcement, etc…). They have families, ministry responsibilities, and they are taking time away from their primary focus to make sure that you have the smoothest experience possible. It’s not all negative though; I remember when I received teams I was super excited to see them step off the plane. It gave me a “taste of home” for which I was grateful for and the assistance that those groups provided helped me to stay long-term. The important thing is for the team members to be respectful of the sacrifices the missionaries have made to have them there, and seek to be a help to them in any way they can.
Pray for a Correct in Perspective
This team that you are praying for or participating in is helping with a physical project; however, remember that God’s heart is not for that wall to be built or that room to be painted. His heart is that every single unreached people group in the world would hear His Gospel. Hopefully, through this short-term mission trip, each team participant will come to a greater understanding of God’s heart for the nations and return not saying, “We accomplished that work project.”, but rather say “God wants the unreached people group we visited to hear His Gospel message.” If a team goes and doesn’t complete the project and yet comes home with that change in perspective, to me that is a successful short-term mission trip.
As your local church sends out teams or as you head out. Ask God, “What do you want me to learn from this experience?” and we believe He will open your heart to see that “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”