Spiritual Preparation


Spiritual Preparation for a Missions Trip

CJ Palmer


WHY PREPARE SPIRITUALLY?

Ok, so you've updated your passport, you've packed your carry-on just perfectly, and you've even taken out the trash. What's left to do? Unpack.

We're not talking about unpacking your suitcase here. ("Unpacking" is code for, "We're going to discuss something.") We're talking about unpacking things like the purpose and focus of your trip.

If all you do is prepare for the climate of your destination, you've missed the “mission” part of your mission trip. You need to prepare not only for your trip, but also for your mission. Just like you wouldn't go on a trip without first packing the right gear, you shouldn't go on a mission trip without first preparing your mind and heart.


UNPACK THE PURPOSE
If we're honest with ourselves, sometimes we have ulterior motives for going on a mission trip. We want to travel. We want to get to know a certain guy or girl. We want to feel good about ourselves. We want to look like a better Christian when we get back.

But there's a bigger purpose for your trip. Ask yourself the following questions honestly, and avoid the tendency to just skim over them. They're simple questions, but doing this will help refocus your mind and heart on the purpose of your trip. 

1 Do I have any ulterior motives for going on this mission trip? What are they?

2 Based on my current motives, if I left on my trip today, what would be my primary focus throughout the trip?

3 What is the primary purpose of the trip?

4 What should I be focusing on?

5 What do I need to do to genuinely align my focus with the real purpose of the trip?


EMBRACE GRACE

God has chosen you to go. He wants to use you. Why? Is it because you read the Bible every day this month? Or because of your extraordinary knowledge of African culture? Probably not. It's because of His grace. Even though there may be smarter, wiser, more Bible-savvy people out there, He picked you. God has graciously chosen you to go, so you should go graciously. What does this mean? It means embracing qualities that are often counterintuitive. It's about responding instead of reacting.

If your flight gets delayed, if they're out of vegetarian options on the plane, if the food tastes weird, if you don't sleep well, if you get bit up by bugs, embrace...

Flexibility over obstinacy

Gratefulness over complaining

Encouragement over gossip

Kindness over sarcasm

Coffee over tiredness

Grace over entitlement

You don't accidentally become a grace-filled person. It's a mindset that you have to intentionally embrace and practice. Ask yourself these simple questions to begin the process of preparing your mind and heart to respond to tough situations with grace.

1 Can I anticipate any situations on my mission trip that I may have a tough time embracing grace?

2 What does it look like to respond with grace in these tough situations?

3 What can I do now to prepare my mind and heart to genuinely embrace grace in every situation during mission trip?


UNPACK YOUR TRIP

Whew! What a trip. Now that you're home, you may be seeing the world around you in a new way. Some people call this reverse culture shock. Some say it's part of a "spiritual high" experience. Either way, your life was changed. But not for long.

You're going to tell people about your trip and they won't understand. You'll show them pictures and they'll say, "Oh yea, those are nice." The camaraderie you experienced with your team will fade. You'll go back to school. Back to work. And your mindset and heart will return to the way it was before you left. ...If you don't make intentional changes.

Did you know that the God that gave you an incredible experience overseas is that same God when you're at home? God is the same in Uganda, Argentina, and even the United States. It is you that changed and your eyes that were opened when you went overseas. Now that you know what He is capable of, it's time to bring it home.

Ask yourself the following questions a few days after you get back from your trip. These questions will help make sure the life change is lifelong.

1 What did I learn about myself during the trip?

2 What did I learn about God during the trip?

3 What changed in me during the trip?

4 What prompted the change?

5 What can I do now to nurture the change so that it sticks with me?

6 What have I learned about God's purpose for my life?

7 What steps can I take over the next month to shift my life to align with what I've learned about God's purpose for me?


If you worked through all of these questions honestly, congratulations. You're making the most of the opportunity that God gave you. Don't stop now. There's still work to be done.


Original Source: http://preparemymission.com/spiritual-prep/