One of the most important things we can do when we take a short term mission trip is to debrief. Caroline's Promise has taken material from Kingdom Builders and adadpted it to fit our teams. On one of our last days of the trip we spend some time praising God and praying for the debriefing process. We find a place where we can be alone and we go through the following process:
1. We list our most memorable experiences from the trip in no specific order
2. We rate them and highlight the top 3 or 4
3. Ask God what He was trying to show us or teach us through those experiences.
4. Narrow it down to one lesson
5. Answer the question, "So you went on a mission trip, how was it?" with one sentence.
We've found that when team members come back they have a hard time putting into words what they experienced and what they learned. The average person doesn't really want to see all 1500 of your pictures and although they ask you how your trip was - they really don't want to hear an hour of stories.
When you can sum your trip up in one sentence of what God was teaching you, it solidifies it in your heart. If the person asking wants more information, then they'll ask. If not, then you don't waste their time or yours:)
I can think back to every trip I've been on in the past few years and I can tell you in one sentence what God taught me. Even the children that go with us on family teams can do this!
Now, I've been home for several weeks and STILL haven't posted about my trip. I've been a little busy:) So I decided to sum it up with my one sentence and over the next few days I will explain how God was teaching me - through my top 3 or 4 experiences. I hope you see that short term mission trips are just as much about changing OUR lives as they are helping others.