By Steve Colby
In an increasingly dangerous world, are short term missions worth the risk?
Danger and confusion were rampant for the early disciples. The Apostle Peter took refuge in Joppa away from the madding crowd in Jerusalem, only to have the Holy Spirit invade his prayers with a strange vision of an unholy banquet of snakes, reptiles and other unappetizing fare.
St. Peter’s decision to go on a short term mission to Cornelius’ house was a response to the Holy Spirit’s invitation. He was compelled to “go without hesitation,” and go he did, even though he didn’t understand exactly why.
Sound like a short term mission to you? Compelled to go, but you don’t know exactly why, nor do you feel prepared, and you feel a queasiness about what you will find there, what the people eat, will there be any danger?
Certainly Peter’s visit made a big difference to Cornelius and his household. Cornelius and his family finally understood who Jesus was, received His life and were transformed.
But there were two conversions that day, not one.
Something also happened for Peter and his companions. Peter realized the body of Christ involved a people he had previously regarded his enemy. Jesus had made them equal; more than this, Jesus had made Cornelius and Peter one family – brothers.
This December 27-31 thousands of students will gather in St Louis, Missouri for the Urbana missions conference.
How is God calling this generation of student to give their whole lives in service of His global mission?
Being the Body of Christ means that we go the distance to celebrate, collaborate, connect, pray, support, encourage and lament with our worldwide family members. All of this requires the sacrifice of time, money and our very lives.
In Sierra Leone, missionaries and medical professionals risked their lives and some gave their lives to care for patients and contain the deadly Ebola virus. This last week Sierra Leone celebrated the end of Ebola – cue the praise and dance parties!
Bible translators are near to completing the entire Bible in Kifuliiru in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. So encouraging, and yet there are still 1,860 people groups with no Scripture in their languages, and 6,600 people groups unengaged by a vibrant church.
The call of Jesus at the end of Matthew continues to ring clearly, “Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations….”
The opportunity to welcome new family members and be integrally linked together as His global family is too great a benefit to balk at the cost.
Please pray with me that God uses Urbana 15 to stir up this generation to go unto all the nations as His witnesses.
Steve Colby is director of missions for Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship Canada. He will be a keynote speaker at this year’s Urbana conference. Read the Faith Today interview with Steve in the latest issue. Check out our Guide to Urbana for Canadians. If you have been or are going to Urbana, check out this special subscription offer just for you.