As I prepare to go on another short-term missions trip next week, I find myself reflecting on the past trips I’ve taken, and I continue to meet new people in my life that learn I go on these journeys. With those first-time encounters, people are generally very complimentary, ask a few questions, and wish me their blessings. Those wishes are always appreciated, but that’s not why I go.

I guess it was late in 2004 when Pastor David at First Christian Church challenged all of us. He asked “why can’t you go on a mission trip; do you have a good reason to say no?” A few months later, when they announced that our church would be going to Haiti, I remembered his words and thought to myself – “no, I don’t really have a good reason”. So I signed up. We ended up going to the Dominican Republic that first time instead, and it was a WONDERFUL experience.

I went back to the DR the following year, and then have gone on several more trips with Miamisburg Christian Church – where we choose to worship now – since 2006. And even on return trips to the same country (and same mission), every experience is unique and precious to me. We do different things with each trip but helping people and sharing the gospel is always the main thing. It’s also an opportunity to take myself out of my comfort zone with technology and work, and focus on His higher calling for my life.

Someone once said to me that “… too many Christians take mission trips as a glorified vacation”. He’s never been on a short-term mission trip, and I don’t think anyone that’s been on one would agree with that statement. Is it work 100% of the time? No. But it’s far from a vacation. And if were just leisure, I wouldn’t have chosen to go to Haiti or Arizona in July!

Some people call us “missionaries”, but I shy away from that label. To me, missionaries are those that do it year-round. That’s our goal, as a family, to do missions full-time one day. But for now, I just enjoy the opportunities to serve on these trips. And we serve locally as well with various ministries at our church, and with our friends at Bogg Ministries.

Odds are there is someone around you that’s going on a trip. Why not join them? Or why not support them financially, and/or with daily prayers? This year, I’m leaving behind my wife who I’m CRAZY about, our beautiful 17-month-old daughter, and another on the way. It’s not easy, and I could justify the argument that “I just can’t right now”. But I don’t think that’s what He’s called me to do. And one day, God will be calling my whole family to serve somewhere in full-time missions. And we’ll say YES!!