GC31176x118One 75 year old, three mid-60s, one mid-50s, three mid-40s, and two 20 year olds…

No, not a family reunion or a pipe band practice or the passengers on a bus! Apart from a couple of acquaintances most of these people had never met each other. What would bring such a mix of people together from all over the North Island and from a variety of church denominations? A two week Short-Term Mission trip to Cambodia in January!! We laughed together, prayed together, cried together and encouraged each through the good, the great, the hard and the challenging. Friendships have been forged and although we may only see each other occasionally, we have seen God at work and have shared common experiences that will unite our disparate team in ways that few other experiences can.The best part is that people have been impacted and changed through the experience!

So, what di˜ erence has the trip made in the lives of the team members...one lady who is part of the mission's committee at her church felt she had lost her passion for Mission. She has come home with that passion renewed and is the prime mover in seeing her church work towards developing a cross-cultural partnership in South East Asia.

Another one from the team commented afterwards that she only went to Cambodia to support her mother who had instigated the trip. She had no interest or passion for Mission. What a blessing it was over the two weeks to see her engage with people and step out of her comfort zone. She has come home wanting to seek God's direction and will for her life in respect to Mission. When asked if that meant using her job to support Missions or giving up her to job to commit to returning to Cambodia her response was, "I don't know but I'm open to both!"

The changes in peoples' lives that I have seen from Short-Term Mission trips are not limited to our team to Cambodia. In November last year a team went from Eden Community Church to India. I had the privilege of being involved with their pre-trip training. As a direct result of the trip one person has resigned from her job and is studying nursing full-time with a view to how God can use her in the future. Another person has started training as an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) teacher knowing this is a great way to be able to reach people with the Good News about Jesus both here in New Zealand and in many other parts of the world. A third team member has begun a building apprenticeship with the purpose of using his skills in Mission involvement in the future.

Short-Term Mission trips have the potential to be about more than people having wonderful experiences, being a blessing to those they visit and seeing what God is doing overseas. They are often the catalyst that results in life change of those who go and as a result they are never the same again. Lives, communities, families and churches in New Zealand are changed as well as lives, communities, families and churches around the world. Isn't that what we all desire to see?

Jo Borlase
Church Mission Mobiliser
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jo works for International Teams and helps NZ churches to engage in cross-cultural partnerships. She also provides training for Short-Term Mission Teams and for leaders of STMs.

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