While you’re reading, feel free to listen to “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2 to get a more immersive reading experience. Follow the links below for various YouTube versions.
Jamie settled into his seat on the Boeing 737-800, glancing out the window at the tarmac of the Lilongwe International Airport. Malawian baggage handlers were throwing bags onto the ramp, motoring them up into the belly of the aircraft. His mind drifted to the events of the last eight days filled with beautiful people who needed Jesus. Many had found at least the beginnings of a living faith in God, and Jamie was thankful to have been a small part of it all. Tears filled his eyes as he remembered the joy on the faces of the new believers surrounding him. Wow! What a week, he thought.
A flight attendant’s announcement brought him back to the moment. I wonder if this flight has Wi-Fi? He couldn’t find anything in the flight information about it. I guess I’ll have to wait until I get to Joburg, Jamie concluded. I wonder what ministry I can find in India. He let his head fall back against the headrest and closed his eyes.
Before he got home to Vermont, Jamie had already filled out an application for a short-term experience in New Delhi.
A Longer-Term Commitment
Jamie could be singing the song “But I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2. He is no different from many people trying to fill a long-term hole in their hearts with short-term experiences.
It’s not that there is anything wrong with going on several mission trips, but if you are planning your next one before the one you are on is over, maybe God is trying to tell you something. He is the Lord of the harvest. Is he asking you to make a longer-term commitment?
Though all mission experiences have value, investing more time in one place has significant benefits for the kingdom. A long-term worker learns language and culture, resulting in deeper relationships. Those relationships lead to life changes in the missionary and the local people around them. Ultimately, a resident worker has a more significant gospel impact.
Not everyone should be a long-term missionary, but if God is leading you in that direction, please obey. The harvest is plentiful, and the workers are few! Be the answer to the prayers of many asking God to send more harvesters into his harvest field.