Mission trips, unless to remote, unreached corners of the globe, can seem strange or unnecessary to many folks these days.
Often times these trips don’t look anything like the way we imagine: sharing the gospel of Jesus with impoverished people who have never heard/ read the Word of God. In fact I find it rarely looks like that.
Durango, Mexico is a mid-sized, middle class city with deep Christian/ Catholic roots. It is lively, fun, and beautiful. So why do we go if it seems on the surface to not be in need??
Well, looks can be deceiving. Just like most American cities, Durango is largely a post-Christian society. Much like it’s larger “brother” Monterrey, Durango is either stuck in a superstition/ animistic based “christianity”, or it sees no need for God at all.
But also, let’s face it… sometimes these trips are the catalyst to help change lives of the people going on the trip! A perspective shift is always good for us. To go see how other people live, worship, give, is often a life-changing experience.
We go also for enjoyment! God calls us to be joyful and a light to the world… and how can we do that when we are not enjoying each other and fantastic tacos??
We also go to bless others. It doesn’t matter where you are, Beverly Hills or South Sudan, there are always people with physical needs. And often, it’s not chronic, it’s just a short season when a family needs a little help to get going again. God calls us to meet these needs for our brothers and sisters. Chances are, we will need this same help at some point in our lives too.
We go simply to love others in person. We can email and Facebook all day long but when you can be face-to-face with a friend, it has an impact that encourages and strengthens. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:20
We go to build relationships. This is my friend Eduardo. I would not have met him if we hadn’t come on the last trip. And though our trips to Durango may cause our Mexican brothers and sisters some headache, I know too that the friendships we have begun are real and meaningful. And we need more friendships with our neighbors!
We go to love because Christ first loved us! If we are dwelling on the love that the Father has given to us through the person and work of Jesus, we can’t help but want to love others!
We go to serve. What does it mean to serve? Does it mean that they really need our help… maybe, but maybe not. I think it just means that you show up with a willingness to do whatever the task at hand is. And that you do it to the best of your ability, to God’s glory. Sometime that means we mess things up on accident. But the important thing is to keep swinging the hammer alongside our brothers and sisters and work to the bring honor to the One who saved us!
But over all this we go because God calls us to go. He calls us to go anywhere and everywhere to share His message of love, forgiveness, restoration, and mercy. And we love that this is exactly what our friends in Durango are doing, so we go to be changed, to help, build relationships, love, bless, work, pray, and eat wonderful tacos y tortas, in the name of Jesus.