So, it’s study abroad and a mission trip? Like that time I went to New Orleans with my youth group, and we cleaned houses for eight hours straight, then did kids clubs and ended with worship and devos every night?
Short-term missions: you come in, you work long hours with an itinerary full of service, ministry, and outreach.
These experiences are great. In fact, they serve as a good starting point for people getting involved with missions. That week you spent handing out toothbrushes in Nicaragua helped children practice better hygiene. The two weeks you did VBS for kids and sang “My God Is So Big” more times than you thought possible—that brought a smile to a child’s face, and made them feel more love than they’ve felt, maybe ever.
More than any impact you had in-country, is the impact the trip had on you. Maybe you had never seen poverty like that in your life, and the joy of the people in spite of this poverty inspired you. You laughed, you cried, you came home with friendship bracelets and a full heart. This experience rocked your world, and you saw the Lord work in ways you’ve never seen back home.
Back home—where you return to the normal, everyday routine of life.
We don’t all completely forget about our experiences on short-term missions, but we may reserve ministry for a designated mission trip, rather than incorporate it into our day-to-day lives.
Veritas Christian Study Abroad aims to change that.
Holly Travis, a student at Mississippi State University, had been on a number of short-term mission trips before she studied abroad in Cusco, Peru. Cusco was nothing like those previous trips, she says.
“With short-term trips, I spent a week focused on ministry and woke up each day with the sole purpose of building relationships with kids or painting schools in order to share the gospel. However, in Cusco, I woke up and had to do household chores, attend class, and take public transportation to meet friends or shop for any needed groceries. Although we were part of ministry work in the girls’ home, our days were filled with numerous other activities.
The Lord taught me the importance of allowing him to be part of my daily routine and look for ways to share him with others as I went about my day. I began searching for opportunities to be a light on the buses and in classrooms with other American students.
It is easy to stay focused on sharing him with others on an intense short-term trip, but upon return to the United States, that routine loses its hold…Thankfully, I learned how to minister as I went in Cusco which is something I have brought back to my home in the United States.”
Veritas aims to develop mission-minded students—students who do not compartmentalize their faith and missions apart from their everyday living. After a session or semester abroad with Veritas, students will have a better understanding of their faith and how missions fit into that. With Mission Mentors, students have spiritual support alongside the academic and cultural support a study abroad program provides.
Looking for something more out of your study abroad experience? Join students who are learning first-hand that study abroad and missions are not mutually exclusive. Study abroad with international missions—that’s what makes Veritas different.
“I am incredibly thankful for all I have learned during my time in Cusco. I am confident the lessons I have learned will ripple through the rest of my life.” -Holly Travis
Written by Carrie Hokanson