Maybe it seems silly to be asking these questions NOW, after I've come home from a mission trip to El Salvador, but before I went I didn't even know what to ask. But now that I know the risks of harm, I'm more cautious about the damage we could do. My question this week is about the contents of a mission.
What elements are necessary to make it a good mission trip?
On our trip, we prayed about going, had several sessions of optional training and prayer, then we paid and asked others to help us pay for our travel and supplies. Once out of the country, we got a bit more training on the process of demonstrating the use of the filters we were giving out, prayed, ventured out into the communities with local guides, prayed, and spent some time in the evenings debriefing and enjoying the company of each other and our hosts. And, of course, are still praying.
Our time in the communities included talking with the people, learning their stories, sharing our own, demonstrating the use of the water filter, giving one to each family, praying, and playing with the children. At the end of the week we spent one day enjoying the local tourism attractions and environmental beauty.
Of all the things we did, which parts were essential?
Is there potential harm in doing some of those things without the others? What could we leave out?
If we left no time for rest or refreshment, would we have remained connected to the Vine we find essential for life? Did we need all that preparation? Did we need more? Did we need the support of our community or did that just make it easier? Would we have failed to share the best thing we have had we not used words to name the Giver of all good gifts? Would humanitarian effort have been demonstrative enough of the mercy we understand? Were words essential or would actions have sufficed to share faith? Would it have been banging gongs and clanging cymbals to ONLY speak truth without giving to any practical need? And what about the prayer? Did regularly jumping into that already moving, powerful River make any difference in our trip?
What elements would you say are essential in sharing your faith?