This past week I traveled with 12 Physicians and 2 organizers to a part of rural Honduras on a medical mission trip.
The climate was hot & dry, the food was delicious and communication was a challenge.
But the inconveniences didn't dampen anyone's spirits. The people on our team dug a foundation for a church building, prayed for people at the conclusion of many services, played soccer with local youth, hugged lots of kids, danced, visited local orphanages and made lifelong friends.
Not everyone can wrap up their routine life and become career missionaries, but many of us can go on short-term mission trips. If you've never tried it, I highly encourage you to consider these benefits of taking the compassion and humanity to another culture:
1. You will encounter God's heart.
Our God is big and He cares about the nations. He's a global God. And His ultimate goal is to gather a family that represents "every tribe and tongue and people and nation" (Rev. 5:9). When you do good for others, the recipients of your kindness aren’t the only ones reaping the benefits. There are a ton of perks in it for you, too.
2. You will expand your limited perspective.
You become a glass half full kind of a person. Having a positive impact on someone else could help you change your own outlook and attitude. Experts say that performing acts of kindness boosts your mood and ultimately makes you more optimistic & positive.
3. You will be become more grateful.
I receive an attitude adjustment every time I go to another country— Whether I am eating papayas and baleada in Honduras, or riding in an all-night train in India, I come back from my trips with a renewed appreciation for life's little blessings—air conditioning, running water, nice roads and flush toilets.
Helping others gives you perspective on your own situation, and teaches you to be appreciative of what you have. The Global One Foundation describes volunteering as a way to “enhance a deeper sense of gratitude as we recognize more of what is already a blessing/gift/positive in our life.”
4. It Gives You A Sense Of Renewal.
Helping others can teach you to help yourself. I have recently gone through a rough break up & this experience gave me a sense of purpose and satisfaction. The easiest way to make other people happy is to act happy yourself, even if it’s not how you feel.
Sometimes we can act ourselves into a way of thinking. So like the old song says, ‘Put on a happy face.’ Talk as if you have self-esteem and are outgoing and optimistic. Going through the motions can awaken the emotions.”