One month. This last year of serving as a missionary was made up of 11 one-month adventures. Each month was completely different from the others. Sometimes I would stay one month in a country serving at a ministry and when it was time to leave, I suddenly wished I could stay for a year. Short term missions is often asked the question, what difference can you make in one week or two or even one month?
During my month in Japan this past January I wondered that same thing. I knew I was called to this trip and I know God has a purpose for my every step, but sometimes I feel like I can only do so much for a ministry in one month.
Am I really making a difference?
At the end of the month during our debrief time, many of the host families we stayed with came to say goodbye one last time. They prepared a beautiful dance for us as a goodbye present and prayed over us. Several people also got up to thank us personally. One woman spoke words that will stay with me forever.
“Even though you were only here for a short time, the impact you had was immeasurable.”
Immeasurable. That is the value of one month. We came to Japan without knowing what to expect. But we expected God to show up and He did. The people we met, the conversations we had and the way we served will have a lasting impression. I believe that our time in Japan was only the beginning of a drastic change in the country.
This brings to mind the question, what difference can you make in one day, in one hour? If you are open to the leading of the Lord and truly loving people no matter where you are or for how long, the impact you have will be immeasurable. I know this from personal experience. I met people on this trip and spent one hour or one day with them and they have impacted my life in a way that will stay with me forever. I hope to have that kind of impact on everyone I meet every day and for the rest of my life.