I’m tired of missions, should I keep going back?

by Eudora Chuah


This December, I spent a week in a rural town on a mission trip.


As I wasn’t able to make the trip last year, I made an intentional commitment to go this year. I was eager to catch up from where I had left off with the locals two years ago.


But because this was my third trip … I knew what to expect. We’d plan Christmas events for the community there, conduct home visits and attend church with the local believers.


There were even more ideas and back-up plans beyond our planned programme. To me, we were more than well-prepared.


It was only when registration for the trip concluded and the group was finalised, that I realised that unlike previous years, the team was mostly comprised of first-timers.


This meant that the new team members were incredibly enthusiastic. They were also very curious and full of initiative. One even asked if she should get acquainted with Gospel terms in the local language! Other first-timers would also double-check on things like the trip’s logistics and whether we were up to speed on the planning.


I actually said they were unduly kanchiong – uptight – and that there was no need to make plans in such detail because from experience I knew all our plans were always subject to change.


But as I observed the differences between the first-timers and myself, I began to wonder: I was just like them before … What changed?


Like them, I wanted to give my best. But objectively, we didn’t need this much preparation, especially if it would go to waste due to last minute changes.


On reflection, I found the real issue was that having become more accustomed to a context that was once new and exciting – my enthusiasm for the work there had faded.


I must be clear: It wasn’t that my heart for missions had grown cold. It was just … The spark I once had wasn’t as bright as it was on my first trip.


What then? We didn’t have much time until our trip, and we had a small team too. So pulling out of the trip wasn’t an option.


I found the answer to my faded enthusiasm at Mission Sunday in church, where my pastor preached about conducting missions for the glory of God.


The message he preached was a simple one: God chose and saved us for His glory.


Simple yet profound, the message spoke right to my lack of enthusiasm. He chose and saved me. That realisation fired up my heart for evangelism once more. I wanted to see God gather His people to Himself, and I wanted to be a part of that work.


It was humbling to be reminded that the heart of missions didn’t lie in plans, language proficiencies or other human things.


Instead, it was the idea that Jesus Himself was sent on a mission. So if you consider a week living in a foreign land a big sacrifice, try dying away from home as a living sacrifice, like Jesus voluntarily did, far removed from His heavenly home.


Christ came to us with great fervour and great purpose. So I chose to go – just the way He would – knowing all that mattered was to do His will with all my heart (Colossians 3:23).

This article originally appeared on Thir.st on January 3, 2018.

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