This question comes up occasionally among Christians. Why do you go? What can you accomplish in such a short time?
I can answer from many different angles but this time I think the best way to answer is by sharing a short story from our trip here in Brazil.
We are working with IMB missionary Eric Reese who has connected us with a neighborhood Baptist church. On our first day we were visiting with people in the community, looking for opportunities to share the gospel. My team included my wife, Julie, and Elke Cansler. Elke is a member of our church, Spring Baptist in Spring, Texas, pastored my Dr. Mark Estep. She was excited to be on her first mission trip but very nervous wondering how she would be used in Brazil.
Our second stop was in a small shop where Elke looked for a small souvenir to take home to her family. When the shopkeeper asked why we were here she answered, “The Olympics,” but missed the opportunity to say that we had also come to pray and share the gospel with people. Elke immediately knew that she had missed he opportunity but we encouraged her to not be discouraged. She heard me share the gospel a few more times that first day and I asked her to pray with Francisco who is a believer and concerned that his son is away from the Lord. (Pictured below with Sabrina our interpreter) We were fortunate that first day to see one young lady accept Christ.
On the second day we changed groups and Elke was placed by herself with a new interpreter, Renata. She and Renata became on fire evangelists! Elke shared the gospel many times and they saw six different people come to salvation. When we returned to the Reese home Elke said she felt so much more comfortable and confident about sharing her faith. In the following days Elke has continued to grow in confidence and her ability to share has continually increased.
There is no doubt that this trip has made an indelible impression on Elke as well as those with whom she has shared. That’s why I continue to believe in the usefulness of short term trips and love working with IMB missionaries like the Reese family.