I Didn’t Understand Mission Trips Until


Every now and then, I will receive some real mail or email from someone who is going on a mission trip. The message usually contained at least two themes: it would be out of the country and would I mind making a contribution?

Honestly, these letters bothered me. Why?

What about the people in your own community? What about the towns where coal used to provide real jobs? Same with the steel mill towns. What about dirt road rural Appalachia? Where are the missions for these people?

I think I made one donation to one of these letters (my first reaction was to write back and suggest cutting back on the latte’s and pay for your mission trip with your money). If I didn’t make one donation, I intended to … for my friends Gil and Lee.

They are part of my band of writers. They are awesome and I appreciate them and their writing. They are generous and they listen to God’s whisper (as our mystic Christian poet, Daniel reminds us to do.)

Gil and Lee sent one of “those” emails. My intial reaction was the same but I think I wrote them a check. They are in the next century in terms of technology so I hadn’t even heard of some of the payment options they mentioned.

Last year, Gil and Lee went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. They did the things people do on mission trips.

For once, at least for this mission trip, I get it. God needed them in that place and that time to speak to them. Their new life-goal is now to be full-time missionaries some time in 2019 as they start to make the required changes in their lives.

I have no doubt God could have talked to them no matter where they happened to be. But, in order for them to “get it”, God needed them there.

Gil and Lee, thank you for helping me “get it”.  I look forward to encouraging and supporting your mission field work.

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”

– Mark 16: 15

2 comments on “I Didn’t Understand Mission Trips Until

  1. Gil Gonzalez says:

    Thank you for the continued support and encouragement, Rick. I’ve learned that because God works through all of us, we all learn from each other. Christ came to give us life, but he also called us to live that life in community with others.

    • Wonderful reminder that we are called to live in community with others. Relationship. Despite my daydreams of moving to a remote cabin in the woods, you are right. We are needed to be together for God to guide us to help one another.

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