Join the Team

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With that one word, Jesus sent out the first large-scale, short-term missions team. (He had already sent a smaller team of 12.) Soon 72 hand-picked missionaries set out in all directions, two-by-two, carrying nothing.

That's right: no money, no bags, no sandals—nothing. The missionaries were told to rely solely on the kindness of people they met on their travels. Talk about roughing it!

But the Bible gives us no record of grumbling or doubting. We don't know for sure what hardships each of the missionaries endured, because we don't catch up with them again until they get back. And by that time, all the frustrations and tense moments have been forgotten. We are simply told they "returned with joy" (Luke 10:17).

They also learned some pretty powerful lessons—lessons that are still important for anyone who wants to join a short-term missions team:

1) Missions trips are tough. You can't take along all the comforts of home. You might have to walk for miles on unpaved roads or ride in a rickety old bus. You might have to sleep on a cot and eat food you don't like. You will have to depend on other people—your teammates, your team leaders, and the people you meet wherever you're going. You won't always get a warm reception. You will get discouraged.

The fact is, Jesus made that first missions trip tough for a reason. He wanted to show the missionaries that, when the comforts and securities of life were stripped away, God's strength would be enough to get them through anything.

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