Short-term missions: Go with a servant's heart

While a student at Southern Nazarene University, Kimberly Garrison spent a summer in Australia with a program called Youth in Mission. The following spring, as Kimberly prepared for graduation, she wrote a letter and sent it to the 25 SNU students who had been accepted for that summer's Youth in Mission program.

Here is what she wrote:

Dear Youth in Mission (future world travelers),

Hey guys:

This summer will be an experience you will treasure for life. I have never forgotten all that happened last summer while I was away in Sydney! The joy you receive from those around you becomes your blessing. Be prepared to learn, to be blessed,, and be used in a way that you would never have expected to be used! Prepare your heart and leave for this summer having no expectations. Go with a servant's heart.

You guys are going to have a blast! I wish I were going too!

I thought I would make a little list of things to remember before you left. I sure could have used some of this advice before heading off to Australia! Here's some pointers for these next few weeks till you leave.

  1. Don't get discouraged about money! It will all come in! GOD is faithful!
  2. Pray now! Pray for your trip, for your team, and for the people you will meet.
  3. Give your summer mailing address to as many people as you can. Mail is a great comfort.
  4. Take lots of pictures! Pictures are forever memories. There are faces that you will never want to forget!
  5. Pack gifts for your host families and kids. Little stuff (gum, little toys, balls, anything fun, they will love it!).
  6. Prepare your heart. Your world will be rocked!
  7. Don't overpack! I made that mistake and had to lug around everything from house to house because I just couldn't toss it all away. Leave room for souvenirs for when you come home.
  8. Those of you going to other countries: Make sure you are not packing useless stuff. In Australia, unless you had a outlet converter, it was useless to pack a curling iron or blow dryer because it didn't fit into the wall outlets.
  9. Prepare yourself to be open to strangers! Training camp is a combination mini-term and summer camp. It will be draining emotionally, physically, and spiritually. But when Saturday comes, you will realize how awesome an experience it truly was!
  10. Have fun! And, like they will drill into your head at training camp, "Be flexible!"

Loving people to show them Christ will be the biggest ministry you will have this summer! Remember: this summer is all about HIM! It's not about what you can or cannot do, but what He can do through you!

Have a great time! I know you will. If you have any other questions or maybe want to see some of my pictures and my scrapbook, let me know. I'll be praying for you guys! God will bless your summer and the experiences that lie ahead of you. Take a smile with you everywhere you go.

To those of you going to Australia: Give the entire Harris family a huge hug. Brian, an older man that some of you might stay with, is the best! Tell them all that I love them. Well, just "hi" will probably be all you will think of.

Trust me. It is so overwhelming and awesome when you get there. Have a great summer! God Bless!
Have a blast!

Sincerely, Kimberly Garrison

Short term missions resources    Mission trip fundraising     Re-entry: Coming home from a missions trip     Sample fundraising letters     How to ruin a missions trip

Seeking God's will?     Giving a year of volunteer service     A dream of students having significant cross-cultural experiences