Short term mission trip.
My church is organising a short term mission trip. My Pastor has appointed me to lead. How should I prepare my team?
DEAR TEAM LEADER,
From my experience of going on missions, among many things I suggest the most important is unity of the team members. On our recent trip to Cambodia we were very aware of how problems like disagreements, misunderstandings, differences of opinions, offences against one another, etc. can occur. These are open doors for the enemy’s attacks: physically with sickness, psychologically with unfamiliar culture and environment, emotionally with anger/hurt feelings, and above all spiritually hindering the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
Besides warning our group that they will be attacked on all these fronts, we suggested they pray for alertness and protection and get friends to intercede for them, with the main prayer point being the unity and harmony of the team. When there is unity we can claim God’s blessing in Psalm 133 that “when brethren dwell in unity…the Lord bestows (or commands) His blessing.” We believed that when we are united and cooperating, His blessings will cover a multitude of sins. True enough we could see clearly God’s blessings on the trip.
The aim of our mission was to introduce an agronomist to our various contacts in Cambodia to see how he can help the grassroots farmers improve their yield and living. We had no idea who would welcome or work with us; we only had a list of people we would talk to about our idea. Our very first contact immediately set a hopeful tone and lifted our spirits. He expressed possibilities of his farmers being given skills and knowledge to make a decent living so that they would not have to leave their families to go in search of work far away.
Our next contact was a businesswoman, Esther Ding, who ran a homestay/café tourist resort. She was a church planter for many years, having planted over 20 churches in a crime-infested farming area and turning some of the criminals into pastors. For her community work she was given citizenship which enabled her to buy land. She was eager for it to be used to set up a model farm which could hopefully be replicated to benefit others. Her co-worker Lily told us excitedly, “Our church has recently acquired a piece of farmland and for six months we have been praying as to what to do with it. Now God has sent an expert to help us plant things correctly.”
In the same place, we happened to meet Colonel HC Tan and Mabel who in the 1990s went about the streets of Phnom Penh picking up wandering kids whose parents had been killed by Pol Pot. That was 15 years ago. Some of those kids who were educated and cared for at FGA Care Centre (sponsored by Full Gospel Assembly Kuala Lumpur) have gone on to higher education and become useful citizens. We had heard about this remarkable history and now by divine appointment had the honour of meeting the founders of this amazing ministry.
Another divinely arranged meeting was with Robert, a young man helping his father in their rice milling business. We did not know each other yet he inexplicably went very much out of his way to keep the appointment at our hotel. In the midst of chatting he mentioned that he was hoping to break into a certain country’s monopoly of rice imports but had no way to do it. Pricking up his ears, Patrick our agronomist exclaimed, “Why, the man involved in this is my classmate. He has been saying he wanted to import Cambodian rice! I will connect you.” If something comes of this connection, we can rule out coincidence. It must be a divine appointment as this will open doors to connect with rice farmers not only to pass on expertise, but for reaching them with God’s love.
Conclusion: unity and harmony among our team members resulted in God’s blessings, giving us resources, guidance and open doors which we could never have planned for or expected. The same thing will happen for you.
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