This week we have 12 people in mission in Detroit. Friday my daughter leaves on what will be her 5th mission trip with the youth group at Homestead Church in Rochester, MN.
What does it mean to be in mission?
After I graduated from high school, I left on my first ever mission trip with the youth group of my home church, Excelsior UMC. We were carefully prepared for what we were going to do. There would be minor home repair, yard work, painting and the like for which we needed our bodies. But we were not going to just use our bodies in mission. We were going to open our hearts to the folks for whom we would be working. We were going to witness to our faith by being present for folks.
I used to think going on a church mission trip was about winning people for Christ and the verbal evangelism that went along with that. That isn’t the kind of mission I or the people in Detroit or my daughter will be involved in. We will be loving people and loving Christ as we do things for others that they cannot do for themselves. We love them as they are, just like Christ does. And when we are asked why we are doing this, we simply say, “Because we love God and this is what God would want us to do.”
34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me. (Matthew 25:34-40)
Thank you, God, for people who really get mission work! Thank you, God, for this beautiful mission team in Detroit and for all the other people who, over time, will discover that they want to love God’s people through mission work. For in it, God, we meet you face to face. Amen.
Becky Jo Messenbrink