How It All Started

On a missions trip long, long ago...

As a senior religion major in college in 1976 I took advantage of an opportunity to accompany a team on an evangelistic outreach outside the United States. That trip began the process of changing my life and ministry focus, and dramatically altered my plans following graduation. No longer could I be satisfied with a vision limited to my immediate surroundings.

I saw sights I had only dreamed about; tasted (often tentatively) new foods (many of which I doubt I will voluntarily taste again); but, most important, I met people.

By itself, meeting new people was not momentous; I had met people before. What made these meetings different was the information and knowledge accompanying the meetings.

First, I met missionaries. Again, I had done so before, but this time I met them as people like me: similar joys, heartaches, and interests. I heard them describe their country of service, its spiritual needs, and their compelling burden to preach and teach the gospel to people of this country.

I saw them active in their daily work and came to understand what motivated them to continue under often difficult circumstances. I also saw them in their homes, saw that they had normal families, facing many of the identical things my family faced.

I also met people to whom the missionaries were attempting to minister. I met them in churches where, despite language barriers (I knew how to ask where the bathroom was), there was an immediate bond as we shared a position in the family of God. I met them in schools where the team presented special gospel concerts.

I saw a sea of faces eagerly listening to testimonies, realizing this could very well be their first time hearing the gospel. And, I met people on the street, in parks, in stores. Each time I looked at a face I wondered, “Will that person ever have an opportunity to hear the gospel?”

Now, more than 30 years later the burden and vision planted in my heart is still strong, motivating everything I do. I now serve with World Help as their Middle East Regional Director, helping oversea ministry and humanitarian projects.


Based on over 30 years experience in short term missions and more than 100 short term trips to over 70 countries, Before You Go provides biblical and practical insights for preparing to go on a short term mission. Originally published in 2001, the book has been updated with additional information and practical tips. Cost is $10.50 plus $2.50 shipping. Order Now

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