Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Bridging the Word and the World

11/6 2013

A Different Kind of Trip


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It’s that time of year again on the PTS campus when World Mission Initiative is recruiting students and others for the spring mission trips. As they gather together the last minute stragglers (I’m one), I can’t help but reflect on what it is that makes these trips different.

I had been on mission trips before coming to seminary. I am blessed to have been raised in a church and community that leans heavily toward being missional and through that to have had the opportunities to do short term mission trips. Those trips did transform me, so I don’t want what I say to be seen as devaluing those experiences. I treasured each and every one, hugged them close to my heart and let them seep into my core to become a part of my being.

However, there is something different, and after some intrapersonal excavating there is one key attribute that keeps coming to the forefront, and that is this quality of being relational. There is something profoundly relational about the trips hosted through WMI. This is a hard point to sell since a majority of the trips are one to two weeks long, so how can trips that short even be qualified of being relational? Regardless of the trips’ length, the trips in and of themselves are built around being a one hit wonder. They are built on the connections and the trips and the people that came before on the hopes of continuing those connections in years to come. Though the same people may not go each year, or the same trip not offered every year, they are part of a intential weaving of the Church, cultivating a larger picture of God at work in the world. They are not built around going to help perform this service but instead, bridging peoples and nations and nuturing relationships, and every person, every trip is a part of a long and growing lineage.

Yet, not only are the trips built on a foundation of being relational to the core of their being, but the foundation of that is built on the Triune God, the God of all tongues, nations, and people. Which is enough, honestly, to pull me in to another trip, so that I can keep seeing and discovering, through the people God transforms me with, what, and where God is moving in this large, beautiful world.

Written by Rebecca Dix, middler MDiv student