A few summers back Laura and I had the opportunity to go to Cambodia (you can read about it here and here.)
But when the opportunity first came up, I shut it down with out even blinking an eye. It turns out the objections I had to going were pretty common. Here are the objections I had to going (and ones you might have):
1. I'm not called to overseas missions.
Yes, you are. We all are. This is a direct lie from Satan to stop you from obeying God. God commands (not suggests or strongly encourages) us to go to ALL nations. Matthew 28:19 says: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations." Do you know what the Greek word they translated as all means?
All. It means all, each and every one, every single. That means if you have the opportunity to go to a nation you can be sure that it is something God is okay with. You never have to pray, “God, do you want me to go overseas?” The answer is always yes.
Yes, I realize there are times that God will say, “Don’t go there, go here instead,” or “Now is not the right time,” but you can be confident because of his Word that his desire is always for his children to go to the nations.
2. My mission field is here.
This is similar but slightly different from the first objection. Maybe you recognize the importance of going overseas but have a place you serve faithfully here in America. That’s great! But you are still called to love the nations. And I think that means going, at least a few times in your life.
I have the great privilege of serving college students on a campus in Denver. And I am confident that this is where God wants me serving for the majority of the time. But you know what? Just because I serve here full time doesn't mean I'm exempt from His command to go to the nations. But when the opportunity to go to Cambodia came up this was my number one excuse. How silly! This is how I was justifying it to God:
“Um, sorry Jesus. I know better than You that You only want me to serve college students here in my safe little city. You clearly called me here and obviously You can only tell me to do one thing ever. So even though I hear what You are saying in Your Word about going to the nations, it must obviously not apply to me because You called me here.”
Guys, that is ridiculous. God can definitely give you a mission field here, but he can at the same time ask you to go overseas!
3. I don't have a heart for _____.
Yep, this came out of my mouth too. I was just not drawn to serving those caught in the sex trade. It didn’t appeal to me.
Well, you know what? God has a heart for the girls caught in the sex trade. And he commands me to love them. “…what does the Lord require of you? To do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
So a better question, other than looking at our own wants and desires, is to look at God’s heart. Ask, “Does God love these people? How does God call us to serve him and those around us?”
Do not let a consumeristic mindset stop you from walking in obedience.
4. Going for a short time hurts more than it helps.
The Barna group recently did a study of the benefits of short term missions and they found that people who went on short term trips grew in the following areas: becoming more aware of other people’s struggles (25%), learning more about poverty, justice, or the world (16%), increasing compassion (11%), deepening or enriching their faith (9%), broadening their spiritual understanding (9%), and boosting their financial generosity (5%).
You can also offer encouragement and support to missionaries who have decided to stay long-term. I’ve heard from many missionaries that when a short-term team comes it’s like a boost of energy for their ministry. They are encouraged by the faith of those going and are grateful for the extra hands to help.
Often short-term missionaries can help reach people that local staff might have a hard time reaching. A missionary in Japan said this: “Since Japanese students love to meet and talk to Americans, the short-term missionaries and teams bring us many, many contacts that we Japanese staff could never gather ourselves.”
We found this to be true in Cambodia too. The local staff said that when there was an American team serving, attendance at church and the local kids club skyrocketed because the locals saw Americans as great teachers.
Here are a few more benefits.
5. It's too expensive.
Do you think God has control over all the money in the world? His word says he does. So if he does and he loves when people go overseas, don’t you think he’ll figure out a way to get the money?
Here are some tips on raising money for short-term mission trips.
I pray that you’re less stubborn than I was when God presents the opportunity for you to go overseas! :) Hopefully you can learn from my stinky heart instead of having to go through the disobedience yourself!
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Angi loves Jesus, coffee, baseball and baking cakes. She is a missionary to college students and can't think of anything she'd rather do to serve God. Angi first met the Lord while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa but really understood His love and grace as a freshman in college. Her heart is to invest in college students in the same way that many others invested in her. You can find her blogging over at Stuff Angi Does where she tells stories about Jesus, college students, and life. You can also find her on facebook, twitter, pintrest and instagram.
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