Today I just got an email from Cabela’s that beckons me to book my “trip of a lifetime”. It’s a bird hunting trip to Italy, a special shotgun, a tour of the Verrazzano Winery, and overnight accommodations in an Italian castle. It does not sound like a trip of a lifetime to me.
I’ve had a lot of vacations that some might consider a trip of a lifetime. I’ve stayed at the rainbow Hilton at Oahu in Hawaii, stayed at the Atlantis at Paradise Island in the Bahamas, watched Diane eat lobster (lobster’s not for me) along the seashore in Maine, taken the whole family to Disney, eaten pastries at a cafe on the French side of St. Marteen, taken a 2 week trip out west to Yellowstone and Bryce and Zion Canyons in Utah (thanks Jeff and Lisa – if you’re going to Montana, stay here), and just this year my wife and and adult sons went sailing, snorkeling, and kayaking in mangroves in Key West. Diane has dreamt of going to Italy (not to go bird hunting), and we may try to do that next year for our 30th Anniversary.
But I can honestly say that none of those trips have been life changing. It’s not that those trips hold no value. Vacations are great for being refreshed and spending time with loved ones. Diane and I have great memories. But mission trips change lives. And it amazes me how many churches have never taken a mission trip. Diane and I attended Sistersville First United Methodist Church for 21 years and the church had never gone on a mission trip until Doctors Gary and Amanda Nichols offered the church the first opportunity to go on a mission trip. Diane, Matt and I went with them to Buckhannon, WV for a week to repair a roof. We did that in 2006. And that trip changed our lives. Since then, I have been on a trip to Dayton, OH, two trips to New Orleans, three trips to Long Island, NY, two trips to Haiti, a trip to Oklahoma, and to Ghana in Africa.
We who have been on mission trips try in vain to speak words that reflect their impact on us. Mission trips are like making memories with Jesus. If you go to church here at WCSG, I hope that you will consider going on a mission trip if you never have. If you go to church somewhere else and you want to lead a mission trip, but have no clue how- contact me. I will put you in touch with the right people. If you go, it will be the trip of a lifetime.