Two weeks ago our blog post was about this year’s opportunity for High School and College age students to go to Paraguay on the EXITE Team 2017. We hope you share this with those you know that could go to Paraguay on this trip. If you fit into the age bracket seriously and prayerfully consider attending. Today we have a testimony about the impact of short-term missions trip from Courtney Cook (Adler) who has been on numerous EXITE trips. Read about her experience and one of the main things she has taken away from these trips. They are life changing and worth whatever it takes to experience short-term missions cross-culturally.
“Missions started, for me, when I was in junior high. Our home church in Pennsylvania had planned a trip down to Costa Rica to help in the building process of the Belen Church. I did not realized what an impact that trip had on my life until I was in High School.
It was through GMI, and the EXITE Team, that I returned to Costa Rica, and realized that the trip I had taken almost 4 years prior was so much more than what we had done to help build the church for those people. It was the relationships that were built and had been remembered through the years that had made the greatest impact on me. You see, when I first started going on missions trips I focused on all the ways that I could impact these people, and all the different ways that the Lord would use me to speak into their lives. What I did not take into account is the way that these people are going to impact my life, and the ways that they are going to speak into my life.
For me, missions trips have become so much more than going to a foreign country and giving of my time for just 2 weeks in the summer. If there is one thing that I have taken away from going on short-term trips, it is to look past yourself. Look past what you might be able to do for these people. Look past the attitude of how honored these people should be that you came, because when you focus on yourself, you truly miss the deep, heartfelt, inspiring relationships with those around you. Aren’t these some of the things we are made to do; cultivate relationships with those around us, and come together as the body of Christ?
Short term missions trips have taught me a lot about myself, and who the Lord is calling me to be each day. I have been to many different places and met many different people, but through the work projects, through the culture shock, and through the ministry done on each trip there is something that always rings true and that is the lifelong relationships that you build with those you meet along the way.”