Weather you have done missions before or this will be your first trip I have found seven good reasons to take this step to encounter others with the Love of Christ.

1. You will encounter God's heart. Our God is big, and He cares about the nations. He's a global God. And His ultimate goal is to gather a family that represents "every tribe and tongue and people and nation" (Rev. 5:9). When you step into a foreign mission field, you will sense God's amazing compassion for another culture and you will begin to know Him as Lord of the harvest.

2. You will expand your limited perspective. Too many of us are stuck in spiritual ruts. Even pastors can get bored with the sameness of ministry in one community. Every now and then you need to step out of your comfort zone and allow God to stretch you. Experience how other Christians worship God with fervor. Discover how they plant churches and engage in evangelism. Recognize that the way we do ministry in the main land United States is not necessarily the only way. And expect to learn from the people you are going to minister to.

3. You will become more grateful. I receive an attitude adjustment every time I reach out—especially when I am with Christians who are less fortunate than I am. Whether you are eating papayas and bacalitos in Piniones, sleeping on an uncomfortable bed in someone’s home or riding through the island to various locations, you will come back from a trip with a renewed appreciation for life's little blessings—air conditioning, running water, nice roads and flush toilets. There's nothing like spending time with people of need and comparing our situations with their challenges. The experience is humbling.  

4. You will discover your spiritual family. When you minister alongside Christians in another location/country, you find that the Holy Spirit bonds us together supernaturally. There are people who have become like family members to me because of our spiritual connection. These relationships can last a lifetime. This is the same type of bond the apostle Paul felt with the people he met in Greece, Italy and Asia Minor during his travels.

5. You will build lasting partnerships. God gives us this strong bond, so we will link arms and work for a common purpose across racial and cultural lines. I encourage churches to send teams to the same place annually to foster permanent relationships and effective projects. Expect God to link your church with a community overseas. Your connection to the same people over time can lead to the planting of a church, an orphanage, a shelter for women or a school.

6. You will overcome your fears. There was a young lady who was taken by her trip here. It was her first and I am pretty sure it will not be her last. She did not know the language but that did not stop her from reaching out and connecting with the people God had placed before her. She was so impacted by her trip she wanted to be baptized before she returned to where she came from. I guarantee she will have more spiritual confidence when she gets back home.

7. You will expand the kingdom of Jesus. The Great Commission was not a suggestion. Christ's kingdom cannot be built without bold, radical obedience to Matthew 28:19: "Go therefore..." Somebody has to GO. There's no way around it. To share the gospel with the whole world, we must be willing to pack our bags sometime and leave home.

Of course, not everyone can hop on a plane and go far from home for 10 days. Some people have health limitations or family pressures that make travel impractical. Don't feel guilty if you are in that category. Instead remember that those who can't go to the mission field physically can go through prayer or financial support. And the reward will be the same.

When David defeated the Amalekites, he gave the same reward to the warriors who stayed behind to watch the baggage as he gave to the frontline soldiers who wielded swords (see 1 Sam. 30:22-25).

So, whether you go virtually or in person, let's recognize the priority of missions. Let's encourage every Christian to discover their role in God's great plan to tell everyone about Jesus and His love.

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