India (MNN) -- Short-term missions are a great tool and opportunity to get involved in spreading the Gospel globally. However, it is important to begin this venture with the right attitude and the right expectations. Otherwise, the entire point of the trip could be missed.
is an organization that ministers to widows and vulnerable people in India. They assist in church planting, establish long-term and self-sustaining micro loan projects, and share the truth of Jesus Christ even in prisons.
(Photo Courtesy of India Partners)
Remo Paul is a national partner of India Partners who works with short-term mission teams on a regular basis. He gets to see the blessings of the trips but also recognizes there are things every person should consider before going on a mission trip.
"The success of your short-term teams depend on how and what your expectations are. More often than not, it tends to run into issues when expectations are not right."
Sometimes it's what teams don't expect that will catch them off guard and make their trip less effective than what they originally hoped.
India Partners has a variety of teams help them.
Paul says, "Most often when teams come, they're either dental teams, eye teams, health teams, or there are training teams for pastors that need training in various issues and various aspects of life and ministry."
Paul explains that there are three major benefits to short-term mission trips.
First, he says, "When a team comes to visit us, it's a huge encouragement for us. I don't find words in my vocabulary that explain how that blesses us and encourages us, uplifts us. That would be the primary benefit."
The second benefit is that short-term missions are mutually beneficial.
"Ministry is a two-way street, so it also [in] reverse blesses the team that comes," Paul explains.
The third benefit is that these teams bring in expertise that many long-term missionaries don't have.
Dentistry is an extremely important expertise in some parts of India. Many times, villages are hours and hours away from the nearest dentist. Even if the dentist were closer, most people very likely could not afford treatment.
Since often whatever ails them is not life-threatening, they'll deal with the pain and forgo medical care.
Having a short-term mission dentist will provide these people in need with the care that they would otherwise never get. They might have waited years more for a dentist to establish himself in their village.
While mission trips can often be an eye-opening experience for Christians, there are better and worse ways to prepare for one. One way is to look at how you've engaged your own community right where you are now.
"Any mission starts where you are. So if you are planning on going on a mission trip, you should actually be involved in missions at your local church," Paul says.
If your heart is already prepared for missions, then it's likely to show up in your activity with your home church.
Paul explains that mission work is not dependent on location. "It's in the realm of spirituality that the mission trip actually happens."
Starting at a local level will prepare you for more intense challenges you might meet on the field.
Paul explains that local mission work "gives you the ability to understand how the evil one would try and stop any work."
While not all of India is hostile to the Gospel, many places are. It's important to be prepared for that.
If you know that God is calling you to go with India Partners and that He has prepared your heart for this, click here to contact them.
If you would like to partner with India Partners through prayer or financial giving, click here.