My first trip to Guatemala was in 2010 with a large group of primarily women. For many of us, it was our first missions trip. Nervous, awkward, and terrified pretty much sums up how I felt. After that initial trip I really started praying about the value of spending that much money for a week versus using that money to invest in the people. After reading many blogs and articles, I can say that people are all over the spectrum when it comes to this topic. I feel led to share my thoughts on this, seven years later, having lived the last two years as full time missionaries. This week, our good friends Tony and Brenda are here at Esperanza de Vida with their church team. They were with us on that first trip. They have lived out the Gospel in so many ways that it’s too hard to write them all. Lives have been changed….Chris and Paula just moved down here this week to serve full time….they were also on that first trip. Their small church has helped build and establish a village for impoverished families. Many more of the ladies on that trip have been investing in the lives of the children of Guatemala as a result of that adventure into the world of missions. Just today, we joined Brenda’s ladies as they shared Jesus with the moms that are at the hospital. My friend Lisa, that led that first trip, has gone on to lead many more and helped to build homes, a playground, provide food and clothing in the name of Jesus to many. People have come to Christ as a result! Our children have served in many different countries as a result of short term trips…our son teaches in Brazil…our niece serves with us full time having taken her first trip as a high schooler. This is my view of short term missions….relationships being built…hearts being changed…lives being restored….hope in Jesus being found! Short term has led many to full time commitments. I was forever changed as a result of that first trek in to the unknown. Investing in people with the love of Jesus is never a mistake…short term or long term…God can and will use both experiences for His glory!