Over Spring Break, the Lord opened the doors for a group of BGU students to go on a short-term outreach to the Holy Land.
I had never been overseas before, and though I expected this experience to change my life, I was not ready for it to impact me the way it did.
As someone passionate about ministry in North America, I always voiced the importance of doing ministry here. I felt like my call to ministry would never be overseas, but as God took me overseas, He began a new work in my heart.
On my trip, there were 9 main things He showed me:
1. The Need for Missions in Europe
Before arriving in Israel, we had a 12-hour layover in Zurich, Switzerland, and there, the Lord began to break my heart for the nations in a new way. I believed doing ministry in Europe would be similar to doing ministry in the USA, but God showed me otherwise.
While in Zurich, I met a young woman from Colombia, my home country. We were having a good conversation and getting along well. Being from the same country, we quickly established a good connection, however at the end of our conversation, I asked if I could pray for her.
The mention of prayer pushed her away. It broke my heart, especially knowing most people from Colombia have humble hearts towards God. This young woman wanted nothing to do with what she thought was religion, something majority of Europeans find to be a waste of time.
Europe needs missions more than we realize. It needs to see the beauty and love of the gospel, rather than the hurt religion has brought to many there.
2. The Need to Share with the Jewish People
God is doing a great work in His chosen people. More and more Jews are coming to faith in Christ. Religious Jews are starting to see how the Tanakh points to Jesus as the Messiah.
On our journey, we met orthodox Jews who had never heard how prophecies in the Old Testament point to Christ as the Messiah. They were willing to hear us out.
We also met numerous Secular Jews who have been hurt by religion and have not encountered how a relationship with Christ differs from religion.
Though many hearts in the Jewish community are still hardened towards the gospel, there is also many who are open. The harvest is plentiful in His chosen people.
3. The Power of the Holy Spirit
In Israel, we got to see the Holy Spirit move in ways I had not witnessed before. One of our nights in Israel we were worshiping by the Sea of Galilee and we had Muslim and Jewish women worshiping with us.
That is not something you see every day. The Power of the Holy Spirit is so amazing and you get to witness it in such incredible ways overseas. Short-Term work overseas gives you the blessed chance to experience the Holy Spirit in new and beautiful ways.
4. The Unity of the Body of Christ
One incredible thing we got to experience overseas was the unity of the Church. We got to be a part of a group made up of Christians from all around the world- USA, Dominican Republic, The Netherlands, Switzerland, etc. And though we were all from different places, it was beautiful to see how easily and quick we became like family throughout our time together.
It felt like we had always been together and we were able to see each other as brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles. The unity our group had was indescribable and a delighting preview of what things are going to be like for the church once Christ returns.
It was a cherishing opportunity to be able to be in fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ from around the world.
5. The Blessing of Seeing the World
Having the chance to see the world is a blessing that at times we overlook. We begin to view missions as a job when, in reality, it is also a gift from the Lord that not everyone gets the chance to enjoy.
As missionaries, we are blessed by seeing God’s creation around the world, seeing its beauty while partaking in what the Lord is doing worldwide.
When we go overseas, yes we have a job to get done, but God also delights in us taking a step back to enjoy His wonderful creation and His blessings to us.
6. The Lord’s Heart for the World
Going overseas revealed new things to me about God’s heart for the world. It helped the need for world missions become more real in my heart.
Though I had a passion for ministry, I never had a real passion for world missions until I went on this journey. It showed me how important it is for every believer to go on an overseas outreach to understand the need in the nations and God’s heart for them.
7. The Heart to Love like God
Being overseas, God provides opportunities to learn to love like Him; whether it is by serving members of your team or showing love to those who might not accept the message you bring and persecute you for it.
One of our experiences overseas was coming across a group of Jews who did not like when other religions shared their faith. They began to shout at us and show hostility towards our group, and though none of us felt fear, our hearts broke for the Jewish people.
As they shouted at us and showed anger towards us, we were reminded of the love that Christ showed for them and the world, dying for all of us. We had been sinners, and we mistreated Him, still He loved. During our time overseas, God opened our hearts to understanding new parts of that unconditional love.
8. The Call to Pray for Jerusalem
Not only are we called to pray for Jerusalem, but for all of Israel; for God’s chosen people. God’s heart desires to see Israel saved, the nation that He made a covenant with for generations. Israel is set apart in a unique way, and God’s enemy hates it.
We are called to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for the salvation of the chosen people. Pray that hearts that are hardened to the gospel will be softened. Pray that God will continue to protect His people and show mercy on those who deny Jesus as the Messiah.
9.The Most Important Thing
God brought a huge reminder to my heart during our times overseas- the importance of keeping our eyes on Him. When we become busy with the things in our life whether it is school, work, relationships, etc, we don’t realize how all these are catching our attention and distracting us from being fully focused on the Lord.
We are called to seek His Kingdom above everything else and this journey for me was a huge reminder of that. When you are busy 24/7 with your eyes focused on living out ministry, it helps your heart refocus on what is truly important and distractions begin to melt away.
It is not only a growing opportunity and a ministry opportunity, but also a healing opportunity.
As someone who used to think that I didn’t need to go overseas, I challenge you to open your heart to it. Perhaps God will radically transform your life and give you a deeper understanding and love for sharing His message around the world.
Is God calling you to Missions?
Is your heart yearning to understand more about God’s heart for the nations?
Check out our Short-Term Missions Trip and discover more about God’s calling for your life.
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- 9 Things God Showed Me on My First Short Term Outreach - April 12, 2017