Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Changing the World, Starting in Hammond, Louisiana

My son wrote this for our church mission magazine about his first mission trip.

By Matthew L. Burton

My first mission trip experience – a construction trip with other youth from Ridgecrest to Hammond, Louisiana – was not what I expected. The bus trip was longer than what I had thought, the sun was hotter than I would have preferred, and the entire experience was more memorable than I had hoped.

Our church worked with World Changers, which is an organization that partners with Lifeway to do mission trips all over the country. These mission trips are project-based and focus on doing construction for people in need. In the process, we can share the gospel with them and their neighbors.

When our work groups were first organized I’ll admit to being a little mad. We were only guaranteed one person from our church in our work group. We had all been told this would happen ahead of time, but it was hard when it actually happened. I remember the first day and how all my friends were being split into groups with people from other churches and states. I wanted to go out and do the work with my friends and have a fun time doing it.

My group was assigned to build a wheelchair ramp for a man who, due to illness, was now wheelchair bound. We got to work on building the ramp in the muggy Louisiana heat. Every day after lunch we would walk and talk to the neighbors and homeowner. We also played basketball with some of the kids in the neighborhood and invited families to a block party we hosted in the middle of the week.

Then that is when it hit me: I was not here to just have fun and work with my friends. I still got to see my friends in the evening and have some fun, but that should not be my focus. I was here to spread the love of Jesus to the people of Hammond.

After I realized that truth, the last two days were easier. Seeing the look on the faces of the homeowner and the neighbors after we got the job done and took the time to talk to them was awesome.

This is the main lesson I learned on my first mission trip: “I am not here to be comfortable and to have fun 100 percent of the time. I am here to get work done for the Lord.”

Although I did have fun at the right times on this trip, I truly learned that I should go out and be the vessel God commanded us to be and make disciples who make disciples.

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