Passion Birthed Through Short-Term Missions
When Tera first learned Christ Community Church was sending a team to Senegal, she was surprised to sense God’s tug on her heart. But she felt like perhaps the last person who should be taking such a trip. Not only did she have three little girls in need of care and a husband who needed to work, she’d also never been on a mission trip before nor did she know how she felt about them in general.
“I’d always questioned short-term missions and their value,” she said. “I questioned their impact and whether they’re a wise stewardship of time and money. They aren’t vacations or holidays or opportunities to experience another culture. Missions aren’t supposed to be a selfish thing.”
But she wanted to be obedient above all else. “I was like, ‘Well, if I’m not supposed to go on this, God will make that clear.’” She decided to call her husband, convinced he’d tell her not to go.
So, she called him that afternoon, and he said, “Go for it. Apply.”
Though his response surprised her, she still didn’t believe God was truly calling her on this trip. Too many other obstacles remained, and yet, by that afternoon, God had knocked down another major hurdle—who would care for her kids. Both her mother and mother-in-law said they’d help.
With that covered, she continued to move forward, although she doubted she was the best person for the role. It didn’t seem like her skillset as a stay-at-home mom and former teacher matched what CCC was looking for in terms of team member skills. “I thought this would be a major roadblock,” she said. “I figured I’d fill out the application, they’d say, ‘Thanks for applying,’ and that would be that.
“Then I met with Eva [Brandt]”—Assistant Director of Missions at Christ Community—“and sure enough, she was like, ‘I’d like you to be part of the team.’”
This didn’t change how she felt about short-term missions, however. And yet, amidst all her questions and wrestling, excitement began to form. This was soon challenged by what felt like a major call to humility when she learned she’d need to ask for financial help.
“That was hard,” she said. “But Eva encouraged me, saying this was an important part of the process—to invite others to participate.” And so, once again, questions regarding financial stewardship arose.
She prayed on this for a while. Then God spoke to her very clearly through an Old Testament passage. “I’m part of Bible Study Fellowship,” an international, interdenominational group that studies Scripture systematically, “and we were studying Joshua at the time. One of the themes we saw through our reading was that we simply need to obey God. At the very end of the book of Joshua, he said, ‘Choose this day who you will serve.’ And [all the Israelites] got excited because they had conquered all these people and could take the land God had promised them for themselves as he’d commanded.
“But what stood out to me was how Joshua seemed to be saying, ‘I don’t think you understand how hard this is. It’s hard to obey and follow God. You’re so hyped up, but I’m not fooled. I know the dedication obedience takes.’”
That, Tera said, was when it became clear to her that she was to go. She knew she couldn’t make up any more excuses.
So she went out of obedience, and while there, God not only expelled her previous concerns but burned within her a love for Senegal, the missionaries she interacted with, and the West African people.
“We got to spend every evening sharing dinner with a different missionary family or group,” she said. “We got to hear their vision and what their ministry is about. We got to go and learn and listen and see them in action. That was very powerful for me.”
One night, one of the missionaries spoke about his original concerns regarding short-term missions. “He’d wrestled with the same things I had,” she said, “but he also identified the good things about short-term mission trips and how impactful prayer really is. How important it is to come and meet the missionaries, then go home and tell others about all God is doing and to pray for them.
“If that was the one thing God brought me there for—to pray for Senegal and a specific group of unreached people—[that would be enough]. This missionary made it clear: If God is calling you, you should go.”
God had clearly called Tera, she obeyed, and she’s so glad she did. “I know I’m not done,” she said. The passion God birthed in her heart during her time in Senegal will continue and will drive her prayers, her thoughts, and her giving.
If you are interested in learning more about a short-term missions experience at CCC, contact Eva Brandt at email@example.com.