International (MNN/OM) — [The following blog originally appears here and was written by Paul, who leads the Short-Term Mission department for Operation Mobilization (OM) in France (a multi-faceted charity, one of whose goals is to support the local church in their community evangelism efforts). He is married, has two boys, and enjoys eating French pastries.]
Human nature longs to be remembered. We all want to do something that matters, to leave behind a legacy. We want to be needed, to be important. We are surrounded by models of great individuals who made a difference on society, such Isaac Watts, the Wright brothers, Einstein, John Newton, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Even in the Bible, we read the “Hall of Fame” in Hebrews 11.
Maybe you’ve seen some of the OM short-term options, and you’re considering taking part in short-term missions (STM). Perhaps you’re asking yourself the question, “Can I really make a difference by spending nine days out of a year on outreach?”
What about nine weeks?
Thankfully for me, as coordinator of STM for OM France, the point is not whether I can make a difference at all, but more about the difference that God makes. One of the things I long for is to see evidence of God at work through what I do. Of course I want to be useful; I want my life to count eternally so that at the end of my days, I hear those precious words from Matthew 25:21: “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”
Short-term mission, long-term impact
One of my passions is to see churches in France mobilized through STM to reach out to their communities and tell those that don’t know God the exciting truth that He loves them. I love to see the difference God makes in the lives of those involved in STM.
Occasionally, we see a non-believer turn to Christ, and when that happens, we rejoice! However, what’s more likely is that we see God stirring the hearts of those who already know Him–different churches united in evangelizing their town, youth group energy ignited to put on a kids’ club, a long-haired teen touched to the core by the joyful smile of a special needs child he’s been playing with, others stirred to action when confronted with the realities of poverty. Each one responding in obedience to God’s unique call on their life, a call to be part of the difference He wants to make in our towns, our churches, and our lives–all for His glory.
“Before, I was quite far from God. This week has brought me closer to Him. He’s opened my eyes.”
– Micaël, STM participant
So let’s leave behind a lasting legacy, in obedience to God’s call on our life. To quote OM’s slogan, “Pray, give, go” – and make a difference.