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Resolution #6 – Go On A Mission Trip
Chuck Lawless’ 6th New Year’s resolution with a cross-cultural mission flavour says: “I will plan to take a mission trip this year.  Most of us can go somewhere, even if it’s not to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Plan to set aside the dollars (or pounds or euros or whatever) and also set aside your time to be a witness among the nations. If you know you can’t go this year, plan to give financial support so someone else can go. Sacrifice in order that many might hear the good news.”
My immediate response is a simple one: Please do that, you may never be the same again if you do! I say that from experience, not from theory. Alomost 60 years ago, while I was a student at Cambridge University, the Lord broke into my life and told me to serve the Chinese church and people. It was very clear to me that that was His calling. But… it was equally true that I had absolutely no experience of mission or any real understanding of how to go about that. A few months later I was planning my summer vacation to go to Germany with a group of friends. They said there were no available places in the group. Then somebody dropped out and they told me I would be able to join them. But there was a problem: I didn’t have peace anymore to do that. I felt that the Lord was saying something different.
At that time a Christian fellow student talked with me about Operation Mobilisation and their Summer mission outreach teams in Europe. I felt that was what the Lord wanted me to do, so I signed up for an OM mission team. I have to be honest and say that I wasn’t 100% motivated by what was planned. But I knew it was what the Lord wanted. So I went.
I didn’t know that they were planning a team to Soviet Russia with one of my Russian speaking Cambridge friends (this was 1962 and it was very Communist days there). Out of the blue they asked me to join that team, four of us driving an old East German vehicle packed with Bibles, Billy Graham books, all in Russian, and some very simple printing materials – all of which were hidden inside our van. As the trip progressed we saw the Lord guide us safely through the strict border inspection and then we had the joy of meeting brothers and sisters in Moscow and Leningrad to hand over the materials. It was life changing. The team carried on into Finland and I caught a train back all the way to the UK, enabling me over many hours to process what I had seen there, the opportunity to serve those precious brothers and sisters in their situation that was so different from my own. It really did change my life. It confirmed the call to the Chinese people. That was the work to which I wanted to give my life, following the call of God.
Since then in FieldPartner International’s sister ministries, Antioch Missions and Chinese Church Support Ministries, my brothers and sisters across the world in our Asian and Western offices have sent multitudes of people into China on short term mission teams. Some were impacted in the same way as I was and became long-term missionaries. Others went back to their own countries but they were different from how they had set out a couple of weeks before.
I have often said that if I had a position of authority in the church of Jesus Christ (!!!), I would command everyone to go on a mission trip to another country, preferably one far away from their own country. It’s a form of baptism (if you will allow me to say so), into our Father’s business: “For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev 5:9). Your mission trip might just be your first step on the path to a lifetime working in our heavenly Father’s mission company that plans to let everyone everywhere hear the good news about Jesus!
It won’t be a holiday, it won’t be a shopping trip, it probably won’t even be comfortable in terms of hot or cold weather, different food, beds that don’t meet the IKEA standards! But it might just do for you what it did for me those many years ago.
Allow me to suggest two “next steps”:
1. Watch this video let it speak to your heart.
2. Go on line and sign up with a couple of missionary organisations who run short term mission trips.
(p.s. I missed out Chuck Lawless’ 5th resolution because it’s very similar to the fourth!)
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