Short Term Mission Trips Can Change Your Life

Thirty years ago a 3 week trip to India with our preacher helped change the course of my life. Michele and I came home with a new outlook and the beginnings of a new direction and purpose. That eventually translated into a new career and 20 years of mission service in Africa.

Less than a week after we finished our last of those 20 years that same preacher friend came by to ask a favor. Would I go back to India for another short-term trip? The answer was a fairly quick, yes, if the Lord was willing (I had always wanted and intended to go back, but never did). The India part of my trip is now over and in some ways like the first trip, it has affected me again!

A familiar smiling face met my friend Mark and I at the Vijayawada airport. It was not the founder of the work who met us many years ago, but his faithful son Johnson and his young son Mervyn. They were a welcome sight in a foreign land. We quickly set off on a two hour road trip to our base for the next few days, Bhivamarum. Upon our arrival at the home and school compound we were met and received just like we were on that first trip. There was a large sign with our names displayed as honored guests; the school children were lined up greeting us; and garlands were placed on our necks. It was a special surprise.

The next morning saw the start of a very active, productive and emotional 9 days. It started with speaking at two church visits on Sunday, and then 3 days of seminars with over 200 preachers, church leaders, and students from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. All of this included many smiles, greetings and especially lots of food. The seminar ended with a time of evaluation/appreciation given by anyone who wanted to come forward. Their kind and encouraging remarks made me feel like we had really given them something useful.

The same day the seminar ended we started our 5 day road trip. The pattern was to visit one area in the late morning/afternoon and another in the night from 7 p.m. to around 10. In each area we usually visited one group of Christians (sometimes several churches together) and made visits to homes, projects, and a stream or pond for baptisms. Our host, Johnson, usually shared some history or current news about each place and then just told us what to do. He might tell us to preach, pray, encourage, bless or even open a new project, and of course, eat.

The first place we stopped affected me. Upstairs in a small dimly lit room we met and spoke to a group of ladies in a sewing project, mostly unbelievers with very little of this world’s possessions. They reminded me of those Jesus may have met with or those Paul may have met on one of his journeys, perhaps like at Philippi. They looked very grateful for our coming and seemed to hang on to every word we spoke. Afterward they almost blocked our way to ask for or almost beg for individual prayers. Some of the older women even bowed down to touch our feet in this small dark room. It is difficult to describe how it felt in that situation. From there just a few hundred yards away we walked to a feeding station for the poor and homeless of which many were lepers. They were all sitting inside around the wall of this small building waiting for us to come. No speaking this time. Mark and I stooped down, him spooning out the rice and me the stew on each of their plates. It was a humbling and powerful experience!

The following night we were out again, about an hour from our hotel in rural India. It was very dark. We came upon a large truck blocking a road that was impassable – the week before a typhoon passed through this area bringing floods and much damage. There was no way to cross in the vehicle so we made our way on foot through some banana plants down to the stream. We held hands in a line and crossed the swift flowing water. On the other side we jumped on motorcycles (3 people per cycle) and made our way to the outdoor meeting. They were waiting and singing with loud speakers broadcasting their songs throughout the village. The welcome sign was up and garlands were received. One of the highlights was 3 smiling beautiful children who sang for us and the group. Amazingly, they like us, also crossed the river to come that night which was much more dangerous for them. We made our way back to the car via the motorcycles and the river. I will not soon forget those brothers and sisters and the journey to be with them.

Other stories could be told. Our hosts were wonderful. My traveling partner was great. Hopefully many were encouraged- I know I was.

I am still processing some of the events of this trip. And just like the first time they are burned in my memory and now a part of me. I don’t know yet all the ways this trip has affected me, but neither did I 30 years. I am grateful for the chance to Go and for those who made it possible. I look forward to being back and working in Denton with all of you.

Other Posts You Might Like:

I Was Born This Way - Nic Dunbar

Let’s Go - Bob Bentley

For His Glory, I Will Do Anything - Jabbarri Jones

He Rescues and He Saves - Nic Dunbar

Simple - Andres Badillo



baby dedication

McKinney at Cardinal

101 Cardinal Drive
Denton, TX 76209



Sunday Worship Schedule
9:30 - Worship (English Service)
10:10 - Bible Class (Birth to 8th grade following the Kid's church time until the end of service)
11:00 - Worship (Spanish Service)

Wednesday Evening Schedule
6:30 - Celebrate Recovery

More Singing Oaks Websites

icon_bulletin View Worship Bulletin

icon_listen Listen to Sermons

icon_listenMember Login

icon_bulletin Resources