Whether you have been on one hundred short-term mission trips, or only one, chances are each one has changed you. Your views of the world and the people in it have been radically reshaped and it is something you will remember forever.
I have just returned from the World Race, my 11-month mission trip around the world to 11 different countries. It was an incredible, heart changing, challenging year. One benefit to this trip was the chance to get a glimpse into the life of a full time missionary. I lived with missionaries almost every month and saw the struggles and joys they experience every day.
One thing many of our missionary hosts asked us this year was, “What can you do?” Sometimes missionaries need clothes sorted and ditches dug, but sometimes they just want you to come and bring whatever gifts and talents you have to share with the people in their ministries.
Since I studied Journalism, there were times this past year where I was able to teach a writing workshop, help with a ministry website, or give advice on a newsletter. Most ministries will welcome your expertise no matter what it is!
So here are five ways you can use your gifts and talents for missions.
1. Discover what you are good at. What are your talents and passions? What makes you come alive when you talk about it with a friend? If you are good at knitting or crochet, offer to teach some of the locals this skill so they can make things to sell for income. If you are a teacher, offer to set up a workshop for teachers in the area and show them some new skills.
2. Do not be afraid to share your gifts. The first time I taught writing to a group of high school students in Cambodia, I was so nervous! Would I be able to communicate basic writing principles to students whose first language was not English? And of course, I was. God has given us each unique gifts and talents and there is nothing more exciting then being able to share those gifts with others.
3. Make a plan. If you already have plans to go on a mission trip, email your trip coordinator or contact and ask them if they would like to set up a workshop or a training day for you to share your skills with them. Even the missionaries might want to learn something new. If you do not have a trip already planned, consider using your gifts to invest in a local outreach project through your church or a community center.
4. Get others involved. What better way to inspire your friends and family to become involved in missions then by inviting them to join you in sharing their gifts and talents. Not everyone can do manual labor in Africa, but maybe you can teach first aid or construction or even art to people in a country on the other side of the world, or in your own community.
5. Do not limit yourself. Maybe you are talented at speaking and getting a group of people to rally behind a cause. There are hundreds and hundreds of incredible ministries that just need a voice to stand behind them and get the word out to recruit volunteers and raise funds. Even if you cannot fly to Africa, you can still use your gifts and talents for missions around to world.
Already involved in missions? In what ways have you been using your gifts to serve abroad or at home?