Short Term Missions

The Barna Group has an article on their website titled Despite Benefits, Few Americans Have Experienced Short-Term Mission Trips. Here is an few excerpt from the article:
The label "life-changing" is pasted on many things, but the description fits most short-term service trips. Only one-quarter of those who have participated on such a trip said it was "just an experience," while a majority said it changed their life in some way. The most common areas of personal growth that people recall - even years later - include 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%). Others mentioned the experience helped them feel more fulfilled, become more grateful, develop new friends, and pray more.
A few months ago I posted about my short-term mission to China. Thinking back on that trip I would have to say that the main result of that trip for me was that it helped me to gain a more global perspective of the kingdom of God. It caused me to develop a bit of compassion and empathy for people who struggle living out their faith in ungodly countries.

What about you? Have you ever gone on a short or long term mission trip? If so, how did the experience impact you? Would you do it again?


  1. Yes, yes, and yes. I have been on 4 short term mission trips and my hubby on 3.
    I went to Nicaragua twice (each for 2 weeks) Haiti for 2 weeks and Ubekistan for 12 days.
    Living in primitive conditions, sharing in other peoples lives and loving the different children of the world has made me more sensitive to others and their needs.
    We really want to go to Kenya this year but it will take a miracle financially. We would be working with the aids orphans. the other choice is Cambodia to work with the young girls that have been rescued from prostitution. Both are pretty heavy situations.

  2. How wonderful to have done that! I wish I had fitted that in between college and work, when I was younger and more energetic. I often consider that when I retire, I'll get a "God Job" that will put my skills at the service of the Church. I hadn't considered travelling before, will have to put that on the "think it over" list.

  3. Hi K-Bob! I have been on several one day mission trips (to Mexico, very poverty stricken areas) and each of them had more of an impact than the one international STMT I went on. I think it was because of the location...we went to London with JFP to hand out materials in Arabic to Muslims that were visiting London for the summer. This was in 2000, the year prior to 9/11. My son was with me and we saw all the sites, it did not feel like a mission trip and I think I felt guilty for having a nice time and also felt really weird pushing Christianity on Muslims.

  4. Thanks all for the comments.

    Glad that it didn't feel like a mission trip Barbara.. sounds like you had a good time. Parts of my trip did feel "missional" but others didn't as we toured the Chinese countryside. I think that it is one of the great aspects of these kinds of trips.

  5. Bob,

    My wife has been to Kenya last year. GOD willing she will be going this year too.

    I was an eye opening experience for her and for me too. Even though I was not able to go the stories I heard changed my heart.


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