The Power of Exposure
The benefits of taking an overseas missions trip.
A missionary once told me, “You get a burden the same way you get measles, by being exposed!”
Having been raised on the mission field (son and grandson of great missionaries), I was oblivious to the fact that my life had been exposed to many incredible things, and that I was taking all of my experiences for granted. I have had the privilege of working on the mission field in street ministry, preaching in parks, children’s evangelism, church construction, teaching in Bible schools, helping the poor, and so forth. For me it was all just a part of life.
After moving back to the United States in my early twenties, I began to lead large groups of young people on Youth On Missions (YOM) trips. As I look back, I am amazed that any parent in their right mind would send their child overseas with me since I was so young. Yet it was on those trips that I began to realize the power of exposure.
Our first trips began with us smuggling Bibles into a communist (and anti-Christian) country. Many trips, hundreds of people, and tons of Bibles were taken into cities, churches, and to people who had no access to the Word of God. Today YOM consists of street evangelism, crusades, humanitarian work, service projects, and much more. Yet regardless of the country, continent, or context, we continue to see the lives of young people transformed as they become exposed to the urgency of the need to reach our world.
However, and as awesome as it is that these teens and young adults are able to get exposed to global missions through YOM, there is something more important than just being exposed. The ultimate goal of these trips for the participants is that the exposure they experience sparks a burden. Alison Seiffert, a veteran “YOMer” (as they are affectionately known) said, “YOM opened my eyes to the world and all the people who are hurting and lost. People that we have the privilege (better yet, obligation) to reach!” Testimonies such as these are why we began taking young people to smuggling Bibles in 1985, and this .past summer led 118 young people on a missions trip to Puerto Rico.
Today there are missionaries, pastors, and evangelists who participated in a missions trip as a young person and had the opportunity to minister in some capacity. Something sparked inside of them that forever changed their lives. While we realize that not every missions trip participant is called to be a missionary, pastor, or evangelist, most of these participants come back with a greater vision, passion, and love for the lost, not just across the world, but now in their very own cities. They come home as North American missionaries ready to reach their schools, neighborhoods, and communities. A burden is created in their spirit because of their exposure.
How We Can Obey the Great Commission
Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
If you have ever asked, “How can I get involved?”
Pray. The importance of prayer cannot be overstated. We have all heard the testimonies of missionaries who in a desperate time of need were prayed for by someone thousands of miles away on a different continent. Being sensitive to the voice of the Lord, the pray-er was plugged into the flow of the Holy Ghost, and God moved on behalf of that missionary.
It has been said that God does nothing except in answer to prayer. Prayer is something we can all easily get involved in. Not only will you support a missionary, you can also get exposed to a burden by being willing to pray. I challenge you to get a map of the world and get exposed through prayer. You can find a monthly missionary prayer calendar at www.gloaskedssions.com/Resources/missionhereprayer-calendar.
Give. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21, NKJV). Not only do we go by praying, we can also go by giving. There is no way to have a burden without your heart becoming involved. And your heart cannot help but be involved in the areas in which you sacrifice. It has been said, “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”
There is no way for you to track the impact that your giving has made, is making, and will make around the world. However, rest assured there is One who keeps track. God keeps track of even a glass of water given in His name, He promised to reward for it.
Go. There was a time when we were satisfied to let only the appointed missionaries do all of the going. We are now seeing a surge of people willing to answer the call to go and to put their own boots on the ground. This greater involvement is bringing new burden for missions all around the world.
Many have asked me, “How can I go to a mission field if I’m not an appointed missionary?” The answer is simple: Get the blessing of the spiritual authorities (parents and pastor) in your life and go!
Here is a list of some of the many trip opportunities available now:
1. For youth there is Apostolic Youth Corps (www.apostolicyouthcorps.com) and Youth On Missions (www. youthonmissions.com). Many districts have their own youth missions trips, and some church youth groups take regular missions trips.
2. Pastors can go on Pastors on Missions trips set up by many districts.
3. Adults and youth can go on church-building trips (www.apostolicman.com) or work on orphanages such as in Guatemala (H.O.M.E.) or Brazil (www.jubileeorphanage.org).
4. There are even specific humanitarian missions trips, medical missions trips, and disaster relief trips (these might require special qualifications) (www.compassionservices.org).
5. Short term missions trips with Next Steps of Global Missions (www.nextstepsprogram.net) or the Associates In Missions program (www.aim2go.org).
Send. Perhaps you are unable or simply not called to go.
Your job, your responsibilities, your career, or education is in the way for now. Here is where you can get involved: Send someone who can go (a youth in your church, a son, a daughter, a nephew, a grandchild). Send them in your place. Help them accomplish their mission and you both can fulfill the Great Commission as a team.
The General Youth Division AYC leaders and our Youth On Missions teams around the country are amazed at the great quality of young people volunteering every year to make a difference in the world. You will not only impact a nation; you will change a life forever. You can actually “go” through them. Many of these trips offer daily blogs in which you can follow their daily experiences. Upon their return, you will be able to see the huge impact their trip has had on their lives, their vision, their passion, and their love for the lost.
I could tell many stories of how God has used young people on these missions trips every year�stories of healings, miracles, signs, and wonders. Beyond allowing young people the firsthand experience ofApostolic ministry in a foreign land is the revelation for youth to understand that regardless of their age God wants to use them now. Whether altar work, worship leading, singing in a choir, sharing their testimony, witnessing on the streets, preaching in a park, or ministering in a service, God wants to use young people today.
I love what Adrian Hunter, our 2011 “YOMer” of the year said: “If you are a young person who feels a call to ministry, or even someone who doesn’t but wants to be involved in the kingdom of God, I would strongly suggest going on YOM. It will change your whole perspective on life and the world. Most important, you will never be the same again.”
Whether you send, go, give, or pray, now is the time to get exposed to a burden for global missions.
Mark Hattabaugh and his wife, Esther, have one son, Mark II. Mark serves as the senior pastor at The Pentecostals of Cooper City, Florida, director for Youth On Missions, and director of MK Ministries. He has led disaster relief missions and is a medical missions trip coordinator for Compassion Services International.
The above article, “The Power of Exposure” is written by Mark Hattabaugh. The article was excerpted from pages 14-16 of the Pentecostal Herald March 2014.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.