This is a guest blog post by Sara Choe of Adventures in Missions
Johannesburg to Houston, she came home on a mountain
But school was starting, things kept moving on
Before you knew it seven years had gone
She found a picture of her standing, smiling,
Arms around the starving kids she swore to not forget
She swore to not forget
– “Two Weeks in Africa” by Caedmon’s Call
It’s that time of year when young people of various ages are either returning to school or are starting school for the first time.
Summer brings undergraduate and graduate students to Washington, DC in droves for internships within the federal government, e.g. U.S. Congress, or with nonprofit organizations of all shapes and sizes. Some students worked during the summer, while some traveled for leisure.
For many churches, summer equals overseas missions and community outreach. This isn’t to say that these ministries don’t go on year-round, but rather that it’s the opportune time for parishioners to participate in these activities.
For as little as five days or two months, Christians in America of all ages engage in missions during the summer. They go through training and raise funds for the trips by holding bake sales and car washes. They learn as much about the culture they’re crossing into. Then, they get on a plane and meet with the missionaries they’ll partner with.
There’s more labor than leisure to these ventures; participants might dig, or pour concrete, or build stoves more than they lounge. Teens become teachers to young children, transmitting games and songs in an effort to communicate love.
Even during a trip that lasts the entire summer, what one gains in perspective and wisdom outweighs what they’ve accomplished. After such experiences, some may feel as if they’ve climbed a mountain and they don’t want to descend from the summit.
Adventures in Missions, a faith-based non-profit organization based in Georgia, sends people all over the world on missions trips of varying lengths. Regardless of how long they’re “out in the field,” we believe that each participant returns transformed – albeit only slightly different.
They’ve entered a world where poverty is the status quo. They’ve tasted the suffering of those they’ve come to help. Yet the would-be beneficiaries, with their determination to push for change, gratitude in spite of their hardships, and hope for something better, challenge participants.
Our hope is that they’re not just moved but move, living the lessons learned and effect transformation as they go back to school or work.
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Sara Choe is a member of the Marketing Team at Adventures in Missions. She completed The World Race, an 11 month journey across 11 countries, in 2009 and is a frequent blogger. Adventures in Missions competed in Mightycause’s 2010 March Goodness competition and placed 6th in the South Region.