Just Another Vacation?

A home in a Costa Rican Barrio

Costa Rican Barrio

I was reading my mom’s cousin’s blog about a recent trip she took to Costa Rica as sponsor for the senior class at the Christian school she teaches at in Marion, Indiana. I thought that it would make a great topic for a blog on personal growth. Then today at church, we had a lady from Pioneer Bible Translators speak for our service and show slides and videos of people in the areas that they serve. It served to drive home the point to me.

I’ve been on three mission trips and have another planned for this summer. I’ve been to the Dominican Republic, Panama, and to a Native American reservation in South Dakota. Speaking from personal experience and from the comments that I have heard from many of the people that have been on mission trips, it is a life changing experience. You return unable to continue as the same person you were when you left.

What are the factors that contribute to this? I believe one of the primary factors is that it pulls you out of your comfort zone. You no longer have the people, places, and things that you turn to whenever things aren’t going as planned. You are stripped of this support system and have no where to turn but inward. It causes you to analyze yourself and to separate the things that are TRULY important from the unimportant. Seeing the conditions that many people in this world live in only serves to intensify the self analysis.

Paradoxically, being on a mission trip also pulls the attention OFF of ourselves. Your focus is totally on those you came to serve. At least to me, there is nothing more gratifying than serving someone for no other reason than that you can. And yet somehow, taking the focus off of ourselves causes us to see ourselves for who we really are.  This provides yet another opportunity for self analysis and the change that often comes with it.

So if you’ve never been on a mission trip, what is it that is holding you back? What is it that you are afraid of? Are you AFRAID of the life changing experience that may come with it? Are you afraid to leave your comfort zone and the little cozy world you have built for yourself? These bonds are holding you back and preventing you from becoming all that you could be, and there’s no better way to catalyze the change than to go on a short term mission trip and change someone else’s life for the better in the process.

P.S. – If you’d like to read more from the Costa Rica trip blog, you can find it at the following link. This link is to the specific post that struck me the most. You can access the rest of the blog from there.  http://lcs2010goestocr.blogspot.com/2010/04/i-was-hungry-and-you-gave-me-something.html

  • Nice post, Don. But I believe I'm YOUR cousin too – – – go ahead, knock me off your list if you want to, but I'll still claim you! 😉

  • I'm sorry Keetha. I didn't mean to slight you. 🙂 Just wasn't quite sure how to refer to you. The extended cousin network is just all so confusing! I guess next time I should just go with cousin and leave it at that, eh?

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  • I'll take cousin and be PROUD of it. I believe we are first cousins once removed, if you want the “technical” of it – – – you and Keri are second cousins.