IT HAS been a great joy to hear of hundreds of Methodists investing their time and money to go on a short mission trip.
For myself, after each trip I make, I ask myself two questions:
1. How were the missionaries and national pastors blessed and refreshed by my visit? When we left, did they think, “I am so glad they came!” or did they think, “I am so glad they are gone!”?
2. Did my team members (myself included) grow in understanding how the Lord wants them to fulfil His Great Commission to make disciples of all nations?
Here are a few things I do to try and ensure a good answer to those two questions:
♦ Preparation before the trip – this is just as valuable as the trip itself.
o Our team finds out as much as we can (without being overbearing with our questions to the missionary) about the situation we will face on the ground.
o We prepare our “tool kit” – depending on the need of the situation – this may be a song, a dance, a short dramatic skit, craft materials, an English lesson or games.
o I remind the team that we are guests in their country and representatives of our own. Any complaints should be expressed in our team meetings first.
o We spend time praying for the people we will visit.
o We prepare a love gift for the people.
♦ During the trip we try and listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
o Every morning we have a short time of devotion and briefing for the day ahead.
o Every evening, the team will gather to try and answer this question: “What did the Lord say to you throughout the course of the day?”
o This daily time of reflection, prayer and discussion is the backbone of every good trip.
o If problems arise, we put our heads together and ask for the Lord’s help.
o We take time to listen to the missionaries and national pastors and try and understand their struggles.
o Together we agree on where we should direct our love gift.
♦ After the trip, each one is asked to reflect on the whole experience and answer the question: “What can I do in Singapore to fulfil the Great Commission?”
If you would like assistance in planning your mission trip, I will be glad to either help you myself or put you in touch with someone who can. If you would like to join a short mission trip, you may also contact me at 6478-4818 or visit our website at www.mms.org
The Rev Dr Norman Wong is the Executive Director of the Methodist Missions Society.