Q: Our son is going on a short-term mission project to a foreign country with his church youth group this summer, and to be honest we aren’t sure it’s a good idea. In addition to the health risks, do projects like this actually do any good? They’ll only be there 10 days. — R.C.
A: I hope you’ll encourage and support your son and his youth group in this effort, because it could be one of the most memorable and significant things they’ve ever done.
Why do I say this? First, mission trips like this can be a great encouragement to the people they’ll be helping. Christians in other lands often have very little, and they may feel isolated and wonder if anyone really cares about them. But having a group of enthusiastic young people care about them and help them can be a great encouragement to them. Paul sent his young friend Timothy to some Christians who were surrounded by unbelievers simply “to strengthen and encourage you in your faith” (1 Thessalonians 3:2).
But a mission trip like this can also make a deep spiritual impact on those who go. They may never have been outside the United States; they probably have never seen the poverty and struggles that people in less developed countries endure. May they begin to see the world the way God sees it. And may they be like Jesus, who saw the crowds and “had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
Pray not only for your son’s safety, but that God will deepen his commitment to Christ through this experience. Jesus’ command is still in force: “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:38).
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.