I'm going on a mission trip with my church youth group this summer. We'll be serving in a village in a very poor country, helping to put a roof on their church and doing some Bible programs for children. Do you have any advice?
I’m thankful your youth group is doing this; from what you say, the people in this village have great needs, and you can be a real help and encouragement to them. The Bible tells us to “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
But God not only wants to work through you to help others. He also wants to work in you while you’re serving the people of this village. Be alert to His leading, therefore, asking Him to use this experience to teach you new things about Himself and what He is doing in the world. You may discover, for example, that in spite of their poverty, the people of this village are actually rich in faith and love. Sometimes our wealth and comfortable lifestyle get in the way of a true commitment to Christ.
God may also want to open your eyes to the needs of the world. Most people today have very little, compared with what we have; many, in fact, face hunger and disease almost daily. Do we care? Many also do not know Christ, and have never had an opportunity to hear of His love.
Ask God to keep you safe, but also ask Him to bring you closer to Christ and to change your life through this experience. He may even use the trip to change your future plans. Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37-38).