The development of a philosophy of missions #1, Or Becoming Missional…

It’s a long title, I know… This post, & the next few are a part of a project I’m working on to help answer “Why are you always going to Germany?” & “How come Hillside has a ‘sister church’ in Frankfurt?” It will chronicle the thought processes behind my own development & understanding of what missions is, as well as the situations, people, & happenings that have most shaped me & my outlook on missions, & what it means to me to live out faith, missionally.

At the end of my Jr. Year, in the summer before my Senior year, the youth group I was a part of was participating in a “mission team” to Mexico City… the city that was hosting the World Cup, a place that the whole world would be descending upon for a short time with the focus being on who had the best soccer team in the world. The purpose of the trip was to ‘evangelize/share the gospel message with the people coming to Mexico City.’ Our youth group was partnering with 2 or 3 other groups from different parts of California, most notably San Mateo, to put together ‘outreach teams’. My youth pastor asked me to consider going – I spoke broken Spanish, don’t you know? – & helped me raise the money to go. I was working a job in landscaping & through that & a couple of well-meaning donors, I was able to raise the $700 necessary for the airfare & all of our ‘in-country’ supplies.

I’d never been on a mission trip before, & didn’t know what to expect. We met as the Reno group a couple of times in advance of our trip to talk about what we’d be doing (though I don’t remember what we talked about,) & 1x with all the other youth groups that would be going too – to familiarize ourselves with them; to work out an organizational plan so that no one would get lost in the biggest city in the whole world at a time where more people were descending on the aforementioned biggest city than could be imagined… My group (which existed for the purposes of travel) had 5 people in it, & we named the group the “Jackson 5” – (back in the day when they were Oh So Cool, & before Michael became… Michael.) The idea of a large group travelling in a bunch of smaller groups to avoid confusion in airports, subways, train stations & buses is something that I carry with me to this day…

It seemed like such a good idea at the time. We were going to go to Mexico City, which I imagined as very impoverished & needy of the gospel of Jesus, to present the gospel through some amateur plays, songs in Spanish (that we’d just learned,) & by handing out gospel tracts in front of the main stadium where the semi-finals & finals of the Copa Mundial were to be played.

As we arrived by plane in the city, it became very clear to me that every thought of what I had imagined would be happening on this mission trip went out the window – looking as far to the left & right that I could, seeing only the vast expanse of big city, La Ciudad, Mexico City.

to be continued…

7 thoughts on “The development of a philosophy of missions #1, Or Becoming Missional…

  1. There are several trips in this series. None of them involving anything illegal.

  2. The buddy system is the ultimate. Long live White Gold.

    You better include your Europe trip that included gun fire in your hotel…good story. Can’t wait to read the rest.

  3. Wait, who said anything about illegal activity? But, as always, I look forward to the entire series, anyhow.

  4. Gunfire? I totally need to hear this. You must include the Romanian Mofia as well. That’s good stuff!!!

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