Several teenagers from our church are going on a mission trip to a village in Central America this summer. Do trips like this really do any good? I'm sure they'll have a good time, but won't they just get in the way of the missionaries already there?
I strongly encourage mission projects like this, as long as they’re well-planned and the volunteers have the support of the missionaries they’ll be assisting. I hope you’ll do all you can to help those who will be going, both by your prayers and your financial support.
Will the teens actually do any good while they’re there? They certainly will, even if they’re only there a week or so. For one thing, they’ll be an inspiration to the believers in that village, who may feel isolated and wonder if anyone cares about them. These young people will be a living example of God’s love — and the love of other believers. The Bible says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
They also will be able to help in practical ways, even if they can’t meet every need. Teaching the Bible to children in the community… helping repair the roof on a church… digging a ditch to pipe in clean water… the list of possibilities is almost endless. The Bible says, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people” (Galatians 6:10).
But the real benefit will be the trip’s impact on those who go. We have so much — and most of the world has so little. May these young people realize that Jesus’ words are still true: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord… to send out workers into his harvest field” (Luke 10:2).