Author: Karen Godfrey, Go To Nations Associate Missionary
People are often fascinated by my short term mission work. Some people ask extensive questions, some express their own personal interest in missions, and some will only go so deep. I am always fascinated by the ones that say, “I have always wanted to do that!”, but have never found the opportunity or ability to do so. I wonder if the obstacles that stop them from do so are really obstacles or fear of the unknown. I always respond by telling them the desire is there for a reason and to find a way to go at least once.
In February of this year, I attended MPO (Missionary Preparation and Orientation) and became an Associate Missionary. It was a great time of personal growth for me in so many ways. Before going through MPO I had attended many short term mission trips and knew that it was a large portion of my purpose here on earth. All but one of my mission trips were in Latin America in which I feel a particular pull to.
At the time of taking MPO, I was torn on whether or not it was time for me to graduate into full –time missions. I have been teaching art for a few years in the public school system and enjoying the work I am currently doing. Teaching also has allotted me the time to go on a short term trip once a year. At the end of MPO, I discovered it was not time to become a full-time missionary. I came to the realization, that God put me in a season where I could support short –term work, and support the world headquarters of GTN on a volunteer basis.
MPO is a week full of practical and spiritual education for missions work. We learned the practical applications to all aspects of missions such as finding and solidifying your calling, identifying your gifts, fundraising, writing newsletters and blogs, short-term mission work, church mobilization and ministering to certain people groups. We spent some time developing and refining our testimony to present to audiences.
There is half a day spent on personal interviews. This is when seasoned missionaries’ interview you and want to know every aspect of your life. It may seem scary at first, but ultimately I found that this was extremely beneficial, because you can get insight from different people on any current circumstances you may be facing. The following day, you will have a final meeting to discuss what your personal plan might be for serving with Go To Nations.
MPO strengthens your character development. We spent some time sorting through a personality profile we had taken before we arrived for MPO. Learning more about how you are wired and what your talents are is the core of MPO. There was also time allotted at the end of the week for discussion on the importance of personal healing. These sessions helped us to better understand others and the importance of creating a team oriented environment.
I can’t say that I understand or know the whole plan God has for my life, however, during MPO many things were brought to my attention and paths that God has already walked with me on have prepared me for what is to come. On the night of graduation, there are prayer warriors ready and waiting to pray for and speak over your life. It is during this time, that some missing puzzle pieces get revealed. My personal experience that night left me with a fire I could not contain.
Author: Karen caught the missions bug in 2003 on her first trip to Guatemala. She has grown to love the people of Latin America. She is an art teacher at a Title 1 urban school in Jacksonville, FL a path she could have never imagined God would lead her to. In addition to missions and teaching she enjoys writing, is always in search of a great novel and coffee. Walking the beach or taking a small road trip are always on her list of favorite things.