The experience that students receive on short-term missions trips often goes above and beyond their expectations. They learn that it’s not their skill or even their desire, but rather the Lord working in ways beyond their understanding that makes the real impact.
Here are three ways that short-term missions impact our youth:
- Missions build individual faith to trust God for physical needs and build relationships.
- Missions develop compassion for others. We find ourselves less self-focused, witnessing God’s hand at work changing lives and often it is our own life being transformed.
- Missions create a sense of community as we take part in the great commission sharing the eternal truth of the Gospel of Christ and teaching people to live with that great hope.
We have no better example of short-term missions than Jesus Christ. In Matthew 10 and Mark 6, Jesus sent out the disciples in pairs. Then in Luke 10, Jesus sent out 72 other disciples in pairs.
Here are three impacts of Jesus sending these pairs out:
- He was building their faith for physical needs and personal relationships. Jesus instructed them to take nothing with them but to rely on the hospitality of strangers for their needs.
- They witnessed God use them beyond their own understanding, which increased their faith and compassion for the sick and needy.
- They taught and preached a message for people to repent and turn back to God. Their faithful ministry impacted the whole region. Mark 6:14a says, “King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known.”
Recently, I had the chance to catch up with several young people who have had the chance to experience short-term missions on a Student Fusion trip to minister to the Navajo people. Here are their thoughts on how missions have impacted them personally.
Alexandria – Served on her first missions trip in tenth grade and since then has served with missions to France, Mexico, and several times with the Navajo.
“The first time I attended a Navajo trip was an eye-opening experience I’ll never forget. The opportunity to be on my first missions trip with such a special group of people God created impacts me even today. I was in tenth grade and still learning that reading His Word wasn’t a checklist. After the way God moved in my heart through that trip, I wanted to read my Bible. The trip was also a culture shock in the best way, and I came away grateful and humbled. The first person I truly led to Christ was there and even today we still speak. I’m so glad this ministry exists and gives other youth the same opportunity to grow in their relationship with Christ.”
Lydia – As a student, Lydia served on several Navajo ministry teams and is now married and serving in her church with the youth.
“When I went on my first short-term missions trip, I was excited to make an impact on someone’s life and to make a memorable difference. When I finished the trip, I realized that it wasn’t me making an impact — it was God. I walked away thinking less about myself and more about Him – less of the work that I did, and more of the work that the Lord did.”
Maria – Currently a Word of Life Bible Institute student dedicating her life to following Christ and serving.
“Going to serve the Navajo in New Mexico was something that deeply impacted my life, because God used me by placing me in the lives of numerous elderly Navajo. Being able to sit with them for an hour at a time and listen to their stories was very impactful because I was able to pray for them, and encourage them that they are cared for by God.”
Jenae – Served on two Navajo ministry teams and is currently a Word of Life Bible Institute student. He is returning to be a leader on her third Navajo ministry team.
“My experience with short-term summer missions has drawn me closer to God and has grown my leadership skills as well as my confidence in Christ.”
Ryan – Served on two Navajo ministry teams and is currently working on a Biblical Counseling degree. He is returning to be a leader on his third Navajo ministry team.
“The relationships you build with the Navajo people are unique in that you find yourself relating with them in ways you wouldn’t expect. On the other hand, you also get to learn about a people group that is so different from you. It’s a blessing to meet the Navajo people who are believers, and just see their passion for Christ, particularly the older Navajo women.”
Chole – Served on two Navajo ministry teams and is currently in Pharmacy school at Auburn.
“Being a part of a short-term missions team showed me how simple, yet powerful, the gospel is. Being able to teach children about Jesus’ life on a day-to-day basis further shaped my understanding that God does not ask us to be eloquent or dramatic in our sharing — but simply faithful.”
Aveya – Served on two Navajo ministry teams and is currently a Word of Life Bible Institute student. She is returning to be a leader on her third Navajo ministry team.
“In high school, I started to have a desire to pursue missions, but had no idea what that looked like. After going on the Student Fusion Navajo ministry two summers in a row, the Lord has shown me what life on the mission field could look like. The people I’ve met and the testimonies I’ve heard have grown me and pushed me to continue sharing the gospel. I will always be thankful for the opportunity to be on Student Fusion and the impact it’s had on my life.”
Interested in Student Fusion? You can learn more about upcoming opportunities and locations by clicking on the button below.
Wayne Price has been the Word of Life LCM Area Missionary in the Alabama region for the past four years. Previously, he served 17 years as a youth pastor, sending students every year to serve on summer missions teams, and has led summer missions efforts to the Navajo Nation since 2004. He and his wife Kim have three children and two grandchildren.