Mission trips

Has anyone been on one, outside their own country?
Where did you go, what did you do?
Did you go with your family or with your church or on your own?
How long for?
What did God do on your mission trip, and what was that particular mission. Does it still need helpers or prayers?
I've never been on one but I watched a documentary on people who went on missionary assignments and also people who served in the Peace Corp. The people coming back from those trips had trouble reintegrating back into american society and didn't even want to reintegrate because they no longer identified with the hustle and bustle, dog eat dog materialism and really just wanted to leave again.
I've always held missionaries in high regard and considered them heroes as they serve on the "front lines".
I don't know much about Peace Corp. I know they american though, kind of volunteering thing.
In my church several serving as missionaries. I don't know how long they been away...but I would think...if you made a life there why would you come back. I don't think any of the disciples ever came back to Jerusalem after being sent out, Paul went went on three I think, touched base, and then was martyred somewhere in spain (or I think so, last record of him in the Bible) only John lived to old age on the island of Patmos.

The countries these missionaries go to often very undeveloped ie. very poor living conditions.
off the top of my head - Uganda, Phillipines, China, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, Mexico...
or remote isolated places. I suspect cos many americans live in urban areas it would be quite a culture shock, as they used to all the amenities and mod cons. Apparently my country is still a 'sending nation' although I seem to see a lot of Korean christians come to be missionaries here, and americans as well. But they don't seem to be evangelising just planting their brand of church. We already have believers and churches here. So I don't know. Those that stay here are meant to tell their neighbours the gospel anyway.
I went on my first international mission trip in June of 2013 to Ghana, Africa. It was a two week trip that my daughter (22) and I went on together that was through our church. When I signed up I thought we may be going to help with small construction projects for the church of some of its members or for the community through the local church. Our church had aligned with a local minister and the schedule was from about 8 in the morning until about 9 at night, needless to say, a full schedule.

We had a small group of 12 people and actually stayed at the pastors house most of the time, but tent camped one night closer to the villages we were going to serve. The service we performed was not what I had planned for. We mostly went out in groups of two along with a local translator and driver and went to schools and churches and usually one of us gave our testimony and the other the message. I had never given a sermon before but did in a small one room church of about 40 people. I did pray before I gave the message that He would help speak through me and reach those that needed to hear my (His) message. We also as a group went to remote villages and set up music and went out and invited the villagers to join us and we also would have a few of us missionaries provide testimonies and one provide the message. When you arrived at a village, it was the children who gathered and followed you most of the time you are there. They were so cute!

We were warned that there was some darkness (voodoo, witchcraft, etc) out in the villages and in many services you had a few people that went into convulsions, which is something I hadn't witnessed in the U.S. Most all times, these were women. Yet, it took sometimes several men to try and hold them to keep them from hurting themselves.

It was so refreshing to go to another country and be welcomed as if you were family (which we are all God's children), from someone who is from such a different culture. It was also great seeing usually 10 or more people giving their lives to Christ at the gatherings in the villages.

They say you don't come back the same and yes, you are very much thankful for what you have. While I had hoped I would treat everyone as my brother and sister in Christ before I left, I found me a lot more loving, compassionate, forgiving, and accepting of all people when I got back. Again, a great zeal for thankfulness and more desire to serve. I still keep in touch with the pastor and a few of the friends I made over there and they are now Facebook friends.

The experience I gained also has helped me keep the desire to love and serve Christ more. I developed and host a website (www.swordnotes.com) that represents about 4.5 years of my notes from my morning Christian readings. Mostly they are footnoted excerpts from the many resources I am blessed to be able to afford. The notes are grouped by topic and also has links to popular Christian leader's devotionals. At first it was just for me to be able to pull the site up on my phone, table or computer, anywhere I had internet access and might not have my Bible. But others expressed interest and so I put it out there in case others were interested.

I have to admit that I read a few books before I left on going on missions. And I have gone to the trouble of aggregating a lot of information on missions from numerous books and websites. As I mentioned above, these are researched works from others and I encourage others to buy the book if they find the information I present from their book interesting. The direct link to the missions section is: http://www.swordnotes.com/research/topics-section-2/mission-planning/ . I am hopeful that this helps answer more of your questions than I can in this post. And hopefully I am not violating the rules as I sell nothing on this site, but feel blessed that I can help take the light out into the world. God bless you and good luck in your research and decision.
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Hmm. I had the idea that going on missions was evangelising or planting churches like Paul did or does it just mean strenthenging the faith of churches that already there? Otherwise it just seems to me a church exchange or church swap. Did any of the ghanians visit america for 2 weeks as well?
Thanks for sharing btw! It is nice to be welcomed by fellow believers wherever you go, even if not speak the same language. Did they speak any english?
I have seen ppl give their lives to christ in churches here when they had big evangelistic meetings in certain churches that always do what they say is altar call at end of service.
I think that by the local churches hosting these special in-church and local outreach events attended by missionaries that they expose the existing culture with some fresh and unique insight that may not be prevalent in their existing thought or culture. Our small group did not just preach and give testimonies in churches only on a Sunday. And let’s not forget that much of the work Paul did was with the existing churches to help problem solve problems and grow them, as this was what many of the books of the New Testament were about (letters to the churches).

What I didn’t know but soon came to realize was all the planning that occurred before we got there. As our church (that has the Great Commission as one of its missions and itself is one of the fastest growing churches that has planted over 190 other churches (https://churchofthehighlands.com/about/story) had worked with a local Ghanaian pastor, who was also in the process of training assistant pastors, who themselves had small branch churches. So, the plan was not just with one church, but also with several churches and schools in the area. We didn’t just hold our meetings on Sunday, but every day and night we were there. Only twice was our meetings in the main host church.

In Ghana, not many people have cars and most people spend hours walking to and from church. These people spend the better part of their day walking to get to and from church. So, it appeared that the plan was to hold these mini services in the surrounding villages calling people to accept Christ, taking names of the people who gave their heart to Jesus, as well as local leaders and others who were interested. I think that the plan was for the local assistant pastors would follow up with these local village leaders and work toward having future services in the villages. I know our small group of missionaries gathered together our personal funds and bought one of the assistant pastors a motorcycle so he could travel back and forth to these different villages to help start churches.

As I said, I have only been on one international mission trip. I’m sure there are many more seasoned missionaries who have much more to add. This is only my small experience, but I hope it provides you some insight into at least what I experienced.
Fortunately, my role was as the group photographer to help document the trip. I documented it beginning with some of the training at our church, through arrival and tour of St. George's Castle in Elmina, which was where many of the slaves from Africa were kept until they were shipped out. As I mentioned, we spent a LOT of time shuttled places in the church van, so many of what look like tour photos are taken as we sped along in the van. I was trying to capture the essence of Ghana and where we went. With the exception of the tour of the castle and one half day at a marketplace as a break, the rest of the pictures were some of our activities, where we stayed, some food pictures, an orphanage we visited and took food and of some of the villages we visited and held meetings. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I will direct you to a starting picture that skips into the experience. But basically, you will be in the gallery that documented most all of the experience with around 1,000 pictures. http://kelcom.zenfolio.com/ghana2013/h644caa7e#h6fbefe99 .

We had a pretty young group (probably most in their 20s) and I was one of the oldest. As such the Ghanaians wanted to carry my bag that contained my Bible, camera, passport, food bars, rain jacket, etc.. When I asked why, they said they usually help the elders... :) . Well, I was 55 at the time and didn't necessarily think of myself as elderly, although I do have gray hair. However, 55 is pretty old in Ghana as they have a tough life, with many there working in the mining or farming (Cocoa and Coffee) trades. But, I was taken with everyones respect for older people, much more than in the U.S. that many times jokes about older folks. The children and teenagers were so polite, respectful and innocent as well. Again, I felt so welcomed, although we were there to serve them in any capacity, the local church needed.

There was a lot of passion in their church services, which were longer than the ones in the U.S. I would think this is the case since because of the lack of transportation and the fact that it takes longer to travel, that the services were held to accommodate this. When we were driving back to our home base after performing a service in a village, we would pass people walking in the dark miles away from the city on their way back to their village. Life is harder and time is a lot different there. In the U.S., we seem so caught up in our daily jobs and so tied to the clock where there, it is more tied to sun up and sun down and the flow of life. In the U.S. we have more leisure time, more biblical resources and time to study the bible. We aren't spending as much time traveling places and securing and preparing our food and fetching water. All these things I take for granted. In other words, I am so very thankful. And my daughter who was 20 at the time that was also on the trip with me, came back with a new perspective as well. She also loved the country of Ghana and its people.

Also, I hadn't been around Islam as much and since all the windows were open in the house we stayed, the Muslim calls to prayer came in what seemed like the middle of the night, but were really in the early dark morning. Among the Ghanaians, whether, Christian or Islam, there seemed to be much more emphasis on religion. You may notice in a lot of the pictures, many businesses have Christian references in the name of the business. I thought that was so cool. In the U.S., while there is freedom of religion, I fear that the society is so afraid of offending someone (non Christians) or discriminating against someones rights (political correctness), that as Billy Graham said: "Our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone - except God." This is not true in Ghana, where Christians proudly display their faith and aren't afraid to let you know. This is the way the U.S. used to be when I grew up. Everyone was proud of their faith and we respected others, no matter what their faith. I also saw demon possessed women with the local pastors trying to excise the evil spirit. I haven't seen that before, but it wasn't uncommon there in Ghana.

Regarding the food, we were fortunate that the pastor's wife had training in food preparation and we mainly had chicken, fish and rice dishes that were good.
Did they get victory..was the woman delivered?
I have kinda seen it here in churches but it doesnt happen very often.

The church I go to has lots of elderly folk in it and I like it cos elderly folk are nice to talk to. They not so caught up in work as many retired so have more time for you.
I think having transport like owning cars and even public transport taken for granted in big cities. i like that people walk everywhere and meet people along the way when they walk. Thats lost if you always go by car everywhere.
Which woman? There were a number of women who appeared to be possessed and would convulse. It always amazed me how many of these people lived in mud houses, yet wore pretty dresses. But some of the women that were in these dresses, when experiencing the convulsions would be rolling around on the ground (sometimes in the dirt). And the pastors would be there praying over them and we would all be around them praying for them. Many times it was like they passed out and were out for a period of time while the service still went on with someone they knew watching over them. I can't remember following up on each one as we had our roles to continue and I do remember that some did join back into the service. Whether they got delivered or not, only God knows.

Regarding where everyone was in white, this was a technical school in the area that we visited one night. They also sang beautifully for us and then asked us missionaries to sing them a song. Our singing was a disaster and did bring forth some quiet laughter as not all of us knew the selected song and not all of us were blessed with the gift of music or singing. :)
I would think that living in mud huts that you cant really do much about to make pretty, the women would want to wear pretty dresses as thats something at least they can afford. Besides, it does not cost much to wear something pretty and feminine.
Im amazed that ppl here and in america go round wearing deliberately ripped jeans. Do they want to look poor?! and those jeans are expensive too.

Lol you need to practise singing more!
I sang semi-professionally in four different rock bands, but when you are not familiar with the song and you are depending on the couple of people who do know the song to belt it out and they are not loud singers and are on the front row, where I can't hear it, it made it very difficult for a lot of us to hear and we had to pretend we were singing which made it even more of a comedic rendition of the song. You know how it is when you start to feel sorry for the group singing and feel their pain. One the dresses issue, I just wondered how they kept the dresses clean once they laundered them. Yes, I also agree with the deliberate down-dressing and expense comment.
Hmm I dont know...I suppose the women arent doing hard labour like the men? Did you stay in a mud hut? Was it clean inside?

Well...it depends on the song. If its something you all know like amazing grace, should be easy to sing that acapella. Next time pick an easier song! Im curious now what song did you try and sing? You dont need to answer if too embarassed.
Call to prayer...how often did that happen?
Dont christians have a call to prayer as well? I recall older tradtional churches had church bells they ring every sunday to announce services and also weddings, but dont have any in my area, as its a newer suburb with no church buildings close by. Or not ones that have bells at any rate.