Short-term mission trips are a key part of the Australian mission scene. Whether they be sent from churches or schools, or via mission agencies, thousands are taking advantage of these short-term opportunities every year.
WEC has been running a short-term program for many years. Now called STOMP (Short Term Overseas Mission Program), it provides opportunities for both individuals and teams, from one week up to two years.
But why? Why does WEC think STOMPs are important to run? How could going on a STOMP be valuable to you?
We believe STOMP trips can be significant markers in a Christian’s spiritual life and growth. They provide opportunities for experiencing God and the world in new and amazing ways.
STOMP trips provide great opportunities for discipleship. Even before you go, a WEC Mission Mentor can journey alongside you to help you grow spiritually. Such mentors have all engaged in mission work themselves and know how to help you prepare spiritually. Your relationship with God and others, guarding your heart and spiritual warfare are some of the practical areas they will work through with you.
STOMP trips will also help you grow in your knowledge and understanding of what God is doing in other parts of the world. When I did a short-term mission trip in Africa my perspective on the world changed. I saw not only people’s physical suffering, but also their spiritual suffering: fear of the spiritual forces that were binding them. But I also saw how God had used Christian missionaries over many years to bring hope and deliverance. I saw the churches they had planted, filled with Christians who could dance and sing for joy about what the Lord had done in their lives. Although many countries remain spiritually hard, there are many places where the church is growing and God is visibly at work.
Ask anyone who has been on a mission trip; these kinds of stories are common. Be more than just a backpacker! Go on a STOMP; you will never be the same again.
STOMP trips also provide opportunities to learn to trust God in new ways. It might be to trust Him for the finances you need for the trip or the courage to step outside your comfort zone and live in an unfamiliar culture. It might be to trust Him to bring about transformation amongst the people with whom you are working.
We hope your prayer life will change as a result of going on a STOMP trip. That your prayers will become broader in scope so you begin to pray, not just for your own needs and those close to you, but for the unreached – those who have no opportunity to hear the gospel. Our desire is to see you praying in faith, persisting in prayer for breakthroughs among resistant people groups. We’d like to see you praying faithfully for Christian workers, for the challenges they face, and for more workers to be sent.
STOMP trips can also help you find your place in God’s mission. If you are wondering if God is calling you to long-term service, then a STOMP trip can be a great way to see that confirmed (or not!). In the last few years God has called two of our STOMP participants to long-term work and they are both preparing to go back to the countries they had visited. One member of a team STOMP wasn’t sure how her training and gifts could be used in the future, but the trip helped her see there are creative opportunities out there. STOMP trips can also help you get to know WEC as an organisation and whether it is a good fit for you.
As WEC works in over 80 countries, there are numerous options for matching you with a relevant STOMP experience. By joining a team on the ground you can be part of fulfilling WEC’s overall vision “to see Christ known, loved and worshiped by the unreached peoples of the world”.
Although as a short-termer you might not have the language to communicate with local people, there are still many things you can do to make a valuable contribution to the work of a WEC branch.
As an Aussie, teaching English is one ready opportunity. While TESOL qualifications are helpful they are not always needed. Have you considered helping in a missionary kids’ boarding school as a teacher or dormitory helper?
Perhaps you have sporting abilities that could be used. Several branches run sports programs that can use people with sporting skills and training (see Page 11). Or there are opportunities to work with children, including running kids’ programs at branch conferences.
Are you skilled in music, media, the arts, medical work, a trade, engineering or any other kind of professional skill? Do you skate or surf, sing or dance? Are you just great at hanging out with people? Do you have a heart to disciple or evangelise, or for prayer? There are so many things you can do on a STOMP.
If you do a STOMP trip you can be assured you won’t just be sent off to some distant country without proper preparation. We will ensure you have the necessary paperwork in order, and you will receive orientation to help equip you to serve in a cross-cultural environment.
Denise is the Short-term Coordinator for WEC Australia. She began her journey with WEC as a short-termer at an MK School in West Africa. Then God called her to long-term ministry and she returned for another nine years, working with a WEC church denomination to develop an adult literacy program