After my missions trip to Panama last September, I came back to work feeling depressed. I bumped into a girl in my office who asked me where I had been. I told her I had gone on a missions trip to help build a soup kitchen. She then said, “Well that’s nice, do you feel better about yourself now?” To which I instantly answered with a simple “No.” It was an auto answer, I didn’t have to think about it. It meant, “No, I felt worse than before I went.” Nothing traumatic had happened to me. I had caught a cold but that wasn’t what was troubling my spirit. I didn’t feel better about myself at all, rather I felt like I hadn’t done enough for those I went to serve. I felt like a week and a half was not nearly enough time to accomplish what I wanted to do. I thought about all the sweet children I had met. They had stood outside the tiny building watching us work throughout the week. They were fascinated with the tools we were using, they wanted to help us paint. Every little detail we added to the room was like a new treasure to them. They were excited and they didn’t mind traipsing through the dusty, dirty conditions we worked in. The heat was unbearable at times, the worst being when I painted the kitchen. There were no windows and the smell of the paint mixed with the stifling air was almost too much to handle. I almost gave up that day, but I pressed on since that was all I was able to do to help. If I didn’t do it, someone else would have to step in and finish it which would take them away from another task they could be doing. I didn’t want the rest of the team to know how tired I was, how much my hands, my shoulders, and my back ached.
Missionary life is a calling. It isn’t a vacation. It’s not a “cultural experience.” You don’t go on a missions trip to fulfill any duty. It’s not a requirement, meaning you don’t have to go. Of course Jesus said “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” But the lifestyle is not for everyone. It doesn’t fulfill anything in yourself IF you do it right. What you’re doing is fulfilling Christ’s work. You’re being His hands and feet. Because we love our Jesus so much, missionaries will give of themselves freely. We do whatever it takes to accomplish God’s plan. We spread God’s love in tangible ways and hope that the little things we do in His name helps someone to come to know Him and love Him as much as we do.