What to Know Before Your First Mid-Term Mission Trip - Radical

What to Know Before Your First Mid-Term Mission Trip

The decision has been made to go on your first mid-term mission trip. You prayed about it, asked for counsel, and now are preparing to serve overseas. You’ve probably gone on short-term mission trips and are now feeling called to commit for a longer period.

You want to continue to learn and evaluate if this is what God wants for your life long term. You are nervous, excited, and expectant of what God will do. 

If any of this rings a bell, here are some things to keep in your heart as you are preparing for your first mid-term mission trip.

Prepare Your Heart

It can be easy to get caught up in all the logistics as you prepare to go overseas. Learning about the place and people, saying goodbyes, getting things you will need, and finishing a season can be absorbing. Sometimes the urgent replaces what is important. 

Do not lose sight of the spiritual reality taking place as you get ready to go. Any preparation will be worthless if your heart is not aligned with Christ’s. We can do nothing apart from Jesus (John 15:5).  

Prioritize time with God in prayer. Ask God to prepare your heart for what is next. Pray for the people, for your teammates (whether you know them or not), and for the works he has prepared beforehand for you to walk in (Ephesians 2:10).

The practice of prayer is oftentimes championed but neglected. Prayer is your constant weapon and the starting point for everything else. Remember the words of Martin Luther, “I have so much to do today that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”

Privilege, Not Sacrifice

Sharing Christ is a privilege, reminding us of the gift of being called his children. People around you may be impressed by your obedience and compliment you on the steps you are taking. Additionally, they may express words of admiration along with genuine concerns about your future. Their encouragement, prayers, and support are a means of grace, but be mindful of how you respond. 

Don’t give the impression that the Great Commission is an act of heroism.

You want to be sure you do not give the impression that the Great Commission is only for some, or an act of heroism. Instead, you want to encourage others to Great Commission obedience pointing them to the fact that we are just unworthy servants doing what is our duty. Jesus Christ is the hero.  

Paul wrote, “Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). Paul identified with what John the Baptist had said: that he was not even worthy to untie the straps of Jesus’ sandal (John 1:27). Neither are we. 

As you prepare to go, you have a unique opportunity to point others to the gift of serving our Lord and Savior, while encouraging them to respond to God’s call in their own lives.  

Spend Time Wisely

Make every effort not to see people as a means to an end.

Compared to a short-term mission trip, committing to one or two years might seem like a long time. You may think your term will be long enough to learn, meet people, and serve. But don’t be deceived; it goes by very quickly. More time also means more opportunities to invest in it. Be intentional in using and seeking these opportunities carefully.  

Ask God to lead you into what he is doing and where you are going. Share the gospel, love people, and build relational bridges. Make every effort not to see people as a means to an end, or as sinners to be conquered. 

Instead, place genuine value on building strong relationships and letting your witness grow out of doing life together. Do not compromise having personal time with the Lord, meeting with other believers (Hebrews 10:25),  and make sure to rest.

Choose Faithfulness

While time will fly by, there will also be storms to weather. For such times, remember the reason why you are there. I have often gone back to the prayer of Amy Carmichael, the 19th-century Irish missionary in India: “God, hold us to that which drew us first when the Cross was the attraction, and we wanted nothing else.”  

As you prepare to go, aim for faithfulness, not success, and trust God for the outcome (1  Corinthians 3:6–9). Carmichael often reminded herself of 1 Corinthians 4:2, writing, “There have been times of late when I have had to hold on to one text with all my might: ‘It is required in stewards that a man may be found faithful.’ Praise God, it does not say successful.”  

There is no magic formula for being fully prepared for this new season. It will be both beautiful and challenging, as you look more like Jesus and his light shines through your life into the lives of others. 

New place, new people, same faithful God. He is your constant, reason, and purpose. Jesus has promised to be with you. Enjoy the journey.  

Daisy Báez-Castillo

Daisy Báez-Castillo is serving overseas among unreached people groups. Originally from the Dominican Republic, she was captivated by Christ at the age of 17. She graduated with an M.A. in Missiology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.


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