Lesson #2 – Begin the day prepared and end the day debriefed and thankful.
I have never been bored on a short term team. There are always more people to meet and things to do, than hours in the day. Sometimes it can get overwhelming and we can get swept up in the emotions, experiences and challenges of trying to make sense of it all.
That is why on a short term trip it is essential to take time to start and finish each day well. Every morning you need to prepare your heart, mind, and attitudes through prayer and study of God’s Word.
That may sound like a “Duh” statement, but you would be surprised how easy it is to convince yourself after a few long hard days to blow off your quiet time with God just to give yourself an extra 30 minutes of sleep. Don’t do it! I’m not talking about attending a group prayer time. Push yourself and ask you roommate to help you get up each day and spend this valuable time ALONE with God.
You will also find that taking some time each night to reflect upon the day’s adventure and give thanks to the Lord is equally difficult to achieve, but well worth the reward. This gives you an opportunity to redirect your thoughts and God an opportunity to integrate the day’s experiences into your life. You may want to read one of your favorite Psalms or a passage that your group is studying for the day. This doesn’t have to be a long time, but even giving 15 minutes towards this will be significant.
Finally, you may want to use a journal to write down your experiences, feelings, and thoughts. This is definitely extra work, but if you are like me, by the time the week ends, I can hardly remember all that took place when we first arrived. Journaling is a great tool for helping you hang on to the life lessons that you are learning.
Helpful Hint: Using the Field News widget in the GO! Phase of MissionMakr is also a great way to ask different people on your team to share their thoughts each day. We usually ask someone who seems to have been impacted by the days experiences to write 2-4 paragraphs and then attach a couple of representative photos that we can share with our Trip Followers. This can be sent to a special email address or logged directly onto MissionMakr. Once it is published, a note goes out to all of your Trip Followers and they can share in these experiences with you.