This month is Missions Month at Redeemer! For three Sundays, beginning January 8th and ending the 22nd, Redeemer’s upcoming overseas mission trips will be highlighted. This year more mission trips are on our schedule than ever before—up to 11 trips, sending 200+ people to countries such as Japan, South Africa, Argentina and more.
Mission trips are special volunteer endeavors where a team of 10 to 20 people serves in an overseas cross-cultural context. Each trip prepares social justice and mercy projects while spreading the Love of Christ.
Those of us at Redeemer have a unique opportunity with short-term missions. Through the connections of City to City, the church planting arm of Redeemer, we partner with our international church planters as a way of supporting their work. Last year we served church planters in East Asia, Buenos Aires, and various cities in South Africa. Projects the teams developed and implemented included:
• Teaching Business and Finance classes to help adults start their own businesses
• Conducting a Kids Club and VBS
• Medical professionals, including optometrists and a dentist, gave specialized care to rural populations.
• English classes were taught to university and middle school students
Funds raised by our teams were used to outfit a new computer center and upgrade a dental office, conduct church outreaches in the form of a jazz concert and a Christmas event, and underwrite various projects like landscaping the yard of an orphanage and refurbishing a church nursery.
The projects that were undertaken and funds that were raised are blessings to the host churches, but these trips are often life changing for members of the mission team as well. Trip Leader Christine Kim has this to say about the experience:
“Serving at South Africa’s Lily of the Valley orphanage was such a humbling experience for me. I went with the expectation of fully giving myself, but I ended up receiving so much in return. It was so obvious that God was present everywhere at Lily, in the kids’ joyfulness at a new day, and in their simple and unshakable faith of His love for them. It made me examine myself, my faith and my idols under a microscopic lens.”
There is no certain “personality type” best suited for a mission trip. Every personality and skill set is of value and needed for a well-rounded team. Preparation for the trips include general meetings, fundraisers, and socials where trip projects are developed and team members get to know one another. The prep time in itself is a challenging and growing experience.
On the first three Sundays in January look for the Missions Table at Coffee Hour, where you can find literature on our upcoming mission trips. Former team members will also be on hand to answer any questions you might have. Some of our past team members will also be sharing testimonies of their personal experiences on our final missions Sunday, January 22.
Many of us discussed how to live out the gospel “first in our hearts, then in community, and ultimately out into the world” in our Catalyst groups last Fall. As we begin 2012, how might “living a life poured out in deeds” be reflected in you, personally? Like 73 Redeemerites in 2011, it could be in the form of a mission trip! We hope you’ll prayerfully consider joining us this year.