By Bishop John Guernsey
I spoke this past week with a member of one of our churches who had recently been on a short-term mission to India. He was profoundly touched by the great hunger for Jesus he encountered there and by the powerful move of the Holy Spirit that brought healing to many. A young person from another church told me about the impact of her experience among the poor in Haiti.
Short-term missions—rightly prepared for and rightly undertaken—can be life-changing for the missionary, have lasting benefit for the sending church and significantly support the work of the host church. Going on a mission trip takes us out of our comfort zone and drives us to an hour-by-hour dependence upon the Lord. In fact, going on a mission trip can show us more of how the Lord would have us live each day here at home: prayerful, attentive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and completely dependent upon Him.
My first short-term mission was with SOMA (Sharing of Ministries Abroad) in 1989. Meg and I were invited to Uganda as part of a team to teach and encourage clergy and lay leaders about ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit. We saw the Lord work in ways I’d only read about, and ministry for me was never the same again. We also formed deep friendships that gave us a lasting sense of what it means to be a part of the global Body of Christ. Our parish was changed, also, as we caught the vision for greater engagement in mission in our own community, as well as internationally.
In this issue of The Messenger, you’ll read about a number of short-term missions taken and planned by our churches. And Meg and I hope to return to Northern Kenya in August to come alongside the church there as they seek to share Jesus with unreached people groups. Mary Ailes, our Communications Director, would like to hear from you about other missions, too. Email her here.
God is on the move, and when we go out in missions, we are privileged to join Him in the life-transforming work of His Kingdom.The Rt. Rev. John Guernsey is bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic.