“To put simply, they need you,” says mission veteran Nathaniel Planalp.
This statement encompasses one of the main reasons why RP Missions continues to send out young people to local and distant places year after year. While mission work may provide different perspectives of ourselves and others, or help us learn more about another culture, service is at the heart of short-term missions. Planalp, a recent college graduate from Columbus, Indiana, has served in both Cyprus and Germany and adamantly encourages everyone to give short-term missions a try.
“I think high school/college is an absolutely perfect time to travel the world, meet new people, get out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself, and grow in your faith. However, the number one motivator that always convicted me was the need to be a servant to my brothers and sisters in Christ. As great as experiencing different cultures is, it is not ultimately why you ought to go. Missions gives a greater scope of what is important, and you will not regret going.”
Through short-term missions, young people learn how to use their God-given gifts for His purposes and glory. For Planalp, his travels helped him realize how he could use his own abilities in service to others within the church. For example, his bachelor’s degree in English Writing became very helpful to the church in Germany, as he was able to write programs and itineraries for the Trinity Reformed Church’s summer retreat. He was also able to teach introduction English lessons in Cyprus to a group of refugee children. As Planalp discovered, many of the churches partnering with RP Missions make it a priority to find spots for everyone on the team, allowing each member to use their skill sets for service.
Working with the kids turned out to be one of the most rewarding aspects of Planlap’s trips. In Germany he had the pleasure of helping run the Vacation Bible School program. The team would divide into different positions or age groups and spend the week doing morning and evening sessions for the church’s youth.
“I think the inclusion of our team made it exciting for the kids, added fresh energy and helping hands, and the opportunity for the adults to have their own time of spiritual refreshing and learning,” he said.
At the end of the day, service abroad has given Planalp a new understanding of his role as a Christian in the States. These trips helped him realize what “real need” looks like, and how he can continue to pray for God’s people around the world. In the church in Cyprus, particularly, Planalp met with people from very different life backgrounds than his own.
Unlike his own comfortable upbringing, many of the families within the church are refugees fleeing persecution. Planalp had the opportunity to listen to their stories, which he described as powerful testimonies of God’s faithfulness in the midst of great adversity. One of the greatest lessons the team took away from their time in Cyprus was “that God is present and works mightily through his Holy Spirit even against fear and adversity.”
Planalp invites everyone to pray for his friends in both places. He asks we ask for refreshment and encouragement for the families in Germany, as many are military families living away from home. For the people in Cyprus, he asks that we pray for peace and safety for the refugees in the midst of dangerous and ruptured cultures.
RP Missions provides opportunities for God’s people to serve Christ through short-term efforts partnering with established congregations and missions. RP Missions helps Christians grow in their appreciation for Christ’s Church and in their service to our Savior, all while actively engaging in evangelism to the lost, discipleship of the saved, and encouragement to Christian laborers at home and abroad. Trips are anywhere from two weeks to three years in length.
On MissionFinder, we have over 1,000 ministries offering opportunities like this to serve at home and around the world. Does your church or organization need help organizing mission trips? Check out our partner site, MissionMinder.com. Their easy to use software will help you manage all the details for your short-term mission trips and team members online. Unlimited Trips. Unlimited team members. Easy online fundraising pages. Try it free for 30 days. Learn more here.