Something Beyond Yourself

A Weekly Reflection, Sunday, August 6, 2017

By: Matt Rawls

There is something about a mission trip that changes you. This is true regardless of where, how long, or with whom you go. Whatever the scenario, you return to life slightly different than you left it.

There are many reasons for this. You invariably squeeze a large amount of activity into a short span of time. When you know that your time is limited, you try to maximize every minute of it. You inevitably spend a lot time in close quarters with other people which forces even the most extroverted of us outside our normal comfort zones. Finally, you get tired, which means you must work harder at being kind, patient, and loving.

Looking at that list of things, you may be tempted to conclude that mission trips are beneficial because they are just plain difficult. That conclusion isn’t far from the truth.

But then you discover the surprise plot twist. Somehow in the difficulty you find joy. In your weakness, you find strength. In the physical discomfort, you find your soul comforted. You begin to discover why mission trips leave such an indelible imprint on your life. It’s because what you’re doing is something beyond yourself.

We all regularly do things for other people. Whether it’s volunteering with an organization or just helping out around the house. A mission trip is a service trip, but it is a service with a spiritual purpose. It puts you in a position to realize that in serving you are worshiping God and bringing God’s light and love to the world around you.

I had the privilege to participate in two mission trips this summer. I went to the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota with Ashley Cameron, Currie Costen, Jack Deutsch, Ellieblue Gurkin, Addison Hagan, Harrison Holmes, Andy Howlett, Maddy Miller, Carter Payne, Rylan Pearsall, and Annie Stephens. Then I went to Lincoln County, WV with Adam Bailey, Zane Gurkin, Tyler Hagan, Robert Holmes, Jed Johnson, Ethan Snow, and Jack Snow.

Both of those trips and the people on them are now forever a part of me. They have helped shape me, change me, and teach me about God. And I am forever grateful.