A Fork in the Road
How short-term trips helped me discover my calling!
I had just returned from my third short-term trip to Honduras with my local church. I had fallen in love with the country, the people, the language, the culture, and everything that missions was. Since my first trip there when I was fourteen, I felt God nudging my heart towards missions. I knew I had a calling and that the best way to gain more experience was through short-term trips. However, after my third trip, I found myself at a fork in the road. I was ready for something more, and I was asking myself the question, “Now what?”
I wanted to go deeper. I wanted to take the next step. I wanted to know more about missions and pursue God’s call on my life, but I wasn’t sure how. I think that is a position that a lot of people find themselves in after a short-term trip. Perhaps you’ve done a lot of trips, or maybe you’ve just done one, but you feel God has given you a gift and a passion to serve?Perhaps you want to know more about what it looks like to be a missionary? Perhaps you want to be more involved in international missions in general? In one way or another, you’re asking yourself the same question, “Now what?”
Before we continue, there’s something I want you to remember. Short-term trips and short-term missionaries are extremely impactful. I’ll give you a real life example. My home church, Upper Arlington Lutheran Church, in Ohio has a sister church in Honduras that we have partnered with for years now. We used to go to different villages every time we took a team, but then we decided to take a new approach. We decided to partner with one village because we felt that it would help us build deeper relationships with the people. Multiple short-term teams from the church visit the village every year. We are able to build relationships because we go back to the same place consistently. We strive to be an encouragement to the local pastor and the village, as well as pray for the people all throughout the year. Very few people who go on the trips are able to do full-time missions, but they still impact the community and the people through their short-term work. It’s important to know that God uses both short-term and long-term missionaries to impact the Kingdom for His glory.
United World Mission is passionate about mobilizing missionaries to engage our world, both short-term and long-term. If you’ve done a few short-term trips and feel God is moving in your heart to take the next step, I would encourage you to do so! Here are some ways how:
- Do a longer trip. You could spend a summer in Mexico or South Africa with our Avance or East Mountain programs. Serving for 6-8 weeks is a lot different than 1 week, and it can give you a great new perspective on missions and cross-cultural ministry.
- You could begin supporting and praying for a missionary.
- You could talk to one of our missions coaches to learn more about different opportunities around the world.
- You could decide to lead a short-term team yourself.
These are just a few of the ways you can take the next step and we are here to guide you. God has called you and He will equip you. Just trust Him!
By: Callie Wulf, Mobilizer & Coach – Latin America