“What did you do?” Answers of a Missionary Abroad

**This blog was originally posted on the Women’s Life blog July 22, 2014.

Short term mission trips are incredible opportunities to go. Go to another part of the world, go serve, go experience life in another culture, go outside your comfort zone, and yes go share the gospel. Having gone on short term mission trips since high school, I am usually asked this same question multiple times before I go and when I return, “What did you do?”

As I was preparing to go on a short term mission trip this Summer to Southeast Asia I began to pray that the Lord would use me, that He would open my eyes, stir my heart, and equip me to be faithful to what he would have our team do. We were not given many details about what we would spend our time doing while in SE Asia, we just knew we were going to work with a career missionary family serving there.

Upon arrival we met to discuss our lives for the next week and what we were going to do. The answer was share the gospel…such a simple answer with a much deeper reality in my life. Up until this point on short term trips we had a list of things to DO. Build this fence, hand out food, put on a VBS, pass out information, prayer walk, etc. with the hope that we would have the opportunity to talk about Jesus and share the gospel. This time it was different…there was list of things to do or events to plan, simply a call to share the gospel.

All week God was reminding me that the call to go He has given believers is not a call to go DO things in my own power somewhere else; it is a call to go and share the gospel. Yes, many times that opportunity will come through meeting practical needs and through acts of service but far too often in my own life the service and things I can DO become the focus and not the gospel, not Jesus!

We went out in pairs each day with the goal of sharing with women in the city, the guys were sharing with men. Our team spent time in Luke 10 one morning. The story of Jesus sending out the 72 disciples in pairs and telling them when to stay and spend time in a city and when to leave. As we went out to share that afternoon my partner and I were weary. We had walked through many shops, started conversations with many women but had no gospel conversations. We were spent and struggling with our flesh and emotions. We stopped and prayed and committed ourselves to be obedient. A few moments later we were walking past toward a shop. I smiled at the Muslim woman working there and she said “Hello, would you like to come in?” Instantly I was reminded of Luke 10 and how when the disciples were welcomed in a home they were to stay and invest in the people. That afternoon my partner and I shared the gospel with the two ladies in the shop and she asked to be connected with my friend living there in the country.

The stories and experiences I have from my time in SE Asia are not mine. They are not things I did and lives I impacted. They are God’s story of the redemptive work he is doing there that by his grace and my being obedient to the call to go I was blessed to be a part of.

So, what did I do in SE Asia? I shared the gospel and told the story of God’s love he has displayed so perfectly in Jesus Christ! Being back in North Carolina the challenge remains. Will I, will you, just do a lot of things or will I seek to intentionally share the gospel?

Staci Byrd is received her MA in Biblical Counseling from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She hails from Texas and loves spending time with her family, friends and awesome small group. 

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