Elijah and Life-changing Missions

We have been talking about the story of Elijah for a number of weeks in church. This Sunday as my pastor was reviewing the story I started thinking about Elijah in relationship to short-term mission trips. I know, not a normal relationship, but they way he told it, it makes sense to me.

My pastor was talking about how Elijah had this big "life changing" experience when he watched God consume the fire on his altar. This is something that you would think would totally change his life. But nothing really changed.

The next thing is Elijah hidding in the wilderness wishing he were dead. Then God tells him to go up to the mountain and he will meet him there. God comes, not in the wind or earthquake or fire, but in the "sheer slience." It is this seemingly quiet moment that changes Elijah.

So now the relationship to short-term mission trips. The trip is this huge "life changing" experience. I'm not saying that it doesn't affect people, it does, but often this change is short-lived. The next thing we know is we are back home and dealing with culture shock all over again and we struggle with that. Then the "high" slowly dies away and we are back to where we started.

But done right, there can be real lasting change. The lasting part isn't in the big thing, it is in the "little" things. Real changes happens through relationships. Lasting change happens when we continue those relationships. Lasting changes happens when we continue the discussion. Lasting change isn't in the "big" trip, it is in the "little" things, the planning and the follow-up.

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