by Jill Lienemann, Kesher International Missions | ©2010
“So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.’” Luke 2:15 NKJV
The celebration was over. Now what to do? The shepherds’ decision to “go” was made without hesitation. No lengthy discussions. No weighing the pros and cons. No talking themselves out of what they just heard and experienced. Their decision was made unanimously among the group. God placed a unified spirit among these shepherds for a divine purpose. “May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” John 17:23b NLT He will do the same for your mission trip group. Watch as God takes people of different backgrounds and melds their love for the lost into a spirit of agreement resulting in a powerful witness of His glory.
The shepherds put their faith into action. “…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:17b NIV They easily could have not acted upon the revelation they were given, returned to the normalcy of life and missed out on a life-changing faith-building experience. “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” James 1:23-24 NIV Instead, they placed their confidence in God and started out to find the announced miracle in Bethlehem. Did they know that in doing so they joined their ancestor Abraham who also put his faith into action? “You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend.” James 2:22-23 NIV Do you know that as you put feet to your faith on your mission trip, you too will be called a friend of God?
The shepherds left their earthly job of tending the sheep to carry out their divine commission at great risk. An unattended flock would be in danger from predators and result in the shepherds being fired and displaced. God is not unaware of everything you will leave behind (family, work, home, pets, etc.) in your obedience to take your mission journey. Take heart! What you will gain from this experience is exceedingly more than you can imagine. “Then Peter said, ‘See, we have left all and followed You.’
So He said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.’” Luke 18: 28-30 NKJV
KESHER TIP: Prepare sample customs forms. On your pre-site visit to your mission field, collect an extra set of customs forms. Complete the information using imaginary name and details. Make copies and distribute to your mission team at the airport before boarding. Now when your group is sitting in different locations on the plane they have something to guide them, in their own language, when filling in their own customs forms.
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