My husband and I have been on six overseas mission trips during the past eight years through our church. We’ve participated in five trips to Tanzania and one to Indonesia. The size of our team has varied through the years, from as few as two members to over a dozen.
A mission trip involves a lot of planning and preparation. We generally begin having regular meetings anywhere from a year to 18 months before we leave. We have money to raise and materials to purchase, and classes for newcomers on how to prepare and what to expect on their first trip to a foreign land. There are Bibles and Pastor libraries to purchase, usually by the dozens or hundreds.
The trip to Tanzania takes about 24 hours from the time the plane takes off from San Francisco Airport to the time it lands at Kilimanjaro Airport outside the city of Arusha. It’s an awfully long time to spend in a tight seat on a crowded plane, but the time always passes.
Tanzania is in southeast Africa, on the Indian Ocean. It is a beautiful country with a wide variety of landscapes and ecosystems. It can also be a very hot, dry and dusty country, with few of the amenities to which Americans are accustomed. The people there are welcoming and kind, and we have made many good friends over the years.
The Great Commission
Mitch and I participate in these mission trips because we are commanded to do so by Christ Himself. Matthew 28:18-20 records the departing words of Christ Jesus as follows: “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”