As I write this, the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) is preparing to meet in convention in Lexington, Kentucky, June 24-27. MOST Ministries will have one of the “Mites in Action” speakers, Ruth Martin, sharing the work done with a previous mission grant given by the women of LWML to MOST Ministries. This celebrates a long-standing relationship between the two mission groups.
One of the things I find most important about MOST trips is that they are “field-driven” meaning they are sent in response to requests from missionaries and church bodies in a certain country. They are done to provide help for the communities where the churches or missions are located and to assist with connecting the church to the community for Jesus. Through this connection to the local ministry a short-term mission trip helps produce long-term impact.
I have been on five trips with MOST and would like to give you some examples of those trips. A Nicaragua Eyeglass clinic was my first trip. The fact that eyeglasses meant several months’ salary brought many people every day. Our “miracle” of the trip was an elderly woman who was blind in one eye and could barely see anything out of the other. When tested she needed a +20 in one eye. We searched through our donated glasses and found one pair that was plain glass on one side and +20 on the other. She cried (and we did, too) at the miracle that had happened. I’ve always wondered who God moved to donate a seemingly worthless pair of prescription glasses to MOST, not knowing how God intended to use them. The pastors from the area presented the Gospel to people before they left the clinic and sent them off with witness bracelets.
In Guatemala we did the purified water, sky light, and Bible School trip. As a nurse, I found this to be very interesting. We taught about intestinal pathogens and how they affect health. We traveled out in the community to selected families and taught them how to use the filters to purify their water while men on the team along with the local ministry men installed roof panels as skylights in the often dark and windowless homes. At each home the family and friends would gather and listen to the Gospel message using witness bracelets given to them by a local ministry staff person.
In Latvia during an ESL Camp we saw what years of occupation by the Soviet Union had done to try to wipe out the faith. This camp was at a Lutheran church. Using the ESL Christian curriculum, the high school class had to learn that the Bible had an Old and New Testament, the books of the Bible, who the Apostles were and who Jesus was and what He taught. Very basic information that had been lost during the occupation. One of the things I remember most about that trip was the singing and music. Latvians have a tradition of singing and we had kids that loved to sing. They learned many Christian songs that I know they will remember for a long time. Maybe that’s how God was connecting with them. God gifted our team with a music minister from Florida for that trip!
On another trip to Nicaragua we visited with a family who had received a water purifier from an earlier team. I asked what difference it had made and they told me they weren’t missing as much work and the children weren’t missing as much school from being sick with intestinal issues. Another trip to Guatemala was a team we put together from the Oklahoma District LWML. Holding the eyeglass clinic at a local school one day, we had the opportunity to give eye exams and have the ministry staff give the Gospel message to middle school and high school students.
When I first signed up for a MOST Ministries trip about 15 years ago I was concerned about having the skills or stamina to do a short term mission trip. As it turns out, God knows what is needed and provides it. He knows why you are there and works through you and in you growing your faith, your trust, and your desire to give all the glory to God for His provision and faithfulness. Don’t hesitate to put your trust in God and your name on a Team list! You will be amazed at what God provides for you and for those you serve!
Pictures from Team 1818