Low-cost, high-value summer mission trip
PLYMOUTH – Leaders of all shapes, sizes, languages, and locations; I have a summer idea that you will love. An international mission trip in Michigan!
During May, start planning a cross-cultural excursion into the lives of immigrants, refugees, and internationals who live around you in your daily lives, right here in Michigan. Think about it. People from around the world are all around you. Listen to their accent when they speak English. Watch for the decorations in their places of business. Smell the aromas coming from the apartments in your building. Your daily life is more international than you currently realize.
The owner of the auto repair garage, the family running the restaurant in your hometown, the mothers of children who live in your neighborhood, and the students going to the university in your county who will spend the summer 5,000 or 8,000 miles away from family would welcome your approach and a friendship with an American family. It all starts with you taking the first step. The long sunny days of Michigan will provide a canopy of blue skies and mild temperatures for outdoor activities and shared meals.
You do not have to do this alone. The International Mission Board (IMB) offers online courses used for international encounters. Look at https://www.imb.org/training/ to locate studies that you can use to prepare teenagers, adults, your family, or the entire church to take an international mission trip this summer.
Did you know that a tiny portion of those born outside the United States, and who choose to live in America ever enter an American home? It is heartbreaking that so few who choose to make America their home share life with those of us born here.
The Bible urges us to be warm, loving, and hospitable to those from other nations living among us. Imagine the experience you would receive getting to know someone from another part of the world. Imagine that through your friendship that person or his and her family became followers of Jesus Christ because of your gesture of friendship.
During May, gather some family members, friends at church, or the entire church and start brainstorming how you could use the materials from the IMB to use the months of June, July, and August to cross into new relationships. What do you need to do?
Pray with others asking the Lord for direction.
Calendar frequent meetings to get things started, coordinated, and follow-through.
Establish whether everyone in the meeting will make new friends by themselves, or will all of you work together as a team in each one’s neighborhood. Or will you mix it up throughout the summer?
Calendar and protect the summer days right away for the international experiences, if not you will lose the opportunities.
Invite those who come to your mind to share special events with you, such as family picnics on Memorial Day, Independence Day, or Labor Day. Explain the meaning behind the celebration.
Invite those who are on your heart to share in a classical American experience, like a fishing trip, an overnight camp out with friends, a baseball game, or a birthday party.
Offer to share in the cultural celebrations of those who came to live near you. Others, even when they live in America, observe traditional celebrations from their homeland similar to our celebrations.
When you get all of your ideas planned, underway, and carried out, reach out to me so we can celebrate together. It would be great to have 2-5 stories in an upcoming issue of the Baptist Beacon retelling the joy you experienced during your Michigan International Mission Trip.
Write to me or call if you need guidance getting underway. I am here to serve you. firstname.lastname@example.org or (734) 770-0608.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Tony L. Lynn is the State Director of Missions for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before coming on staff at the BSCM, Tony served as lead pastor for more than six years at Crosspoint Church in Monroe, Michigan. He and his wife, Jamie, also served with the International Mission Board in Africa and in Europe.