Our daughter and I just returned from our second foreign mission trip. We have connections with a missionary family (Craig & Joanna McClure and Jason & Karen Gosdin) in the Dominican Republic and have now accompanied others from church on our second short term mission trip there. Having just returned, thoughts regarding the trip continue to flood my mind, thus today’s article will detail why dad should attend a mission trip with the children.
As mentioned, this trip was the second trip for my daughter and me. I’d like to be all super spiritual and tell you that I saw the opportunity for a mission trip and decided to take our daughter along with me; however, the opposite is the true reality. During our church’s planning of last year’s mission trip to the Dominican Republic, our daughter became very seriously interest in going on the trip. Given her age, sending her alone was not an option. So last year I went for the sole reason to escort our daughter. That’s right, I didn’t go for some super spiritual reason; not to minister to others, nor to spread the good news of Jesus. In fact, I had so much burden on me at the time that I actually dreaded going. I had recently lost my dad to cancer, lost my grandmother to pneumonia, made a huge ministry decision, and was contemplating a major career shift. With all that on me, I went on the mission trip expecting nothing but long flights, late & sleepless nights, heat & humidity, lack of clean water, and poverty – just so I could escort our daughter.
Well, I encountered all of those expectations with my dreadful attitude; however, God as able to speak to me despite it all. And in His speaking, I was greatly blessed to discover exactly why dad should attend a mission trip with his children.
It’s a real simple concept. We spend time, money, and energy on things that are most important to us. When dad forks out the money, time, and energy to attend a mission trip it clearly communicates that sharing the love of Jesus and ministering to others is a priority. As dads, it is extremely easy to communicate through our actions that our career or our hobbies are the only thing important to us. Attending a mission trip makes apparent our priority to set those things aside for a higher purpose. Attending a mission trip teaches our children that our faith isn’t lived out only on Sundays in the church house.
Now I can’t promise you that you will meet ‘the Cos’ on your mission trip and we did, but I can assure you that you will meet cool people. We ran into Bill Cosby in the Fort Lauderdale airport during a layover, really cool guy! During your mission trip you are likely to run into career missionaries that have totally surrendered to a passion for people and God’s purpose to share Jesus with them. Witnessing such surrender and obedience is awe inspiring and forces a level of self evaluation that you’ll never gain while sitting at the office. I would never tell them this (because Craig tends to get the big head), but I consider spending a few days with career missionaries such as the McClures and the Gosdins time well spent with cool people.
A mission trip will provide time with your child that otherwise you could never replicate. A long plane flight, a long bus ride, time at the table over three meals each day all provide extremely valuable bounding time with your child. A mission trip certainly doesn’t have to be on foreign soil that is thousands of miles away in order to provide such bounding time. The simple fact that you are constantly with your child (not at the office for 8-12 hours during the day) and working to positively impact others with the love of Jesus will bring you and your child closer together.
Maybe you aren’t afraid of spiders, I’m not at all fearful of them. However, holding a spider that feels more like an eight legged chihuahua will likely get your outside of your comfort zone. Again, you may not encounter a tarantula, but I’m confident sharing Jesus with those that need Him the most will get you outside of your comfort zone. Your children are very familiar with how you act inside your comfort zone. They see it every day. Your children could learn great life lessons as they witness dad’s attitude and actions when he is outside his comfort zone. This of course assumes dad keeps a good attitude!
We stay so busy with our career and other activities of every day life that we overlook our need for a break. A mission trip isn’t likely to provide extended hours of rest and relaxation, but it will certainly provide a break from the normal routine. It is in the breaks from the normal routine that we gain more perspective regarding the important things of life. At times, we need to get out of the forrest in order that we can enjoy the view of the trees.
This is a biblical truth that you can depend upon, but you need not be burdened by. The Bible teaches that sharing the love of Jesus and the good news of salvation through Jesus will never be of no value (Isaiah 55:11). The Bible also teaches that you aren’t responsible for the reaction of those to whom you minister, leave that burden to Jesus as the Bible teaches (John 4:37). You attend the mission trip with the promise that your efforts will positively impact you and others.
Guys, it’s simple, we seldom get to spend good quality time with our children. I challenge you to tell me of a better way to spend quality time with your children than sharing the love of Jesus.
What is keeping you from attending a mission trip? Do you have mission trip stories to share with the rest of us? Leave your thoughts and comments in the comments section below.