In August 2008, a group of young Christians led by Michael and Janet Morrison were planning to go to the Philippines for a short-term mission trip. Even a short mission trip can be a life-changing experience. We interviewed four of the participants as they were preparing for their evangelistic odyssey, and we had a follow-up interview when they returned.
Question: What made you decide to go on this short-term mission trip?
Kyle: I’ve been on a couple other mission trips to New Orleans before, and I absolutely loved them. I was a little uncertain at first when asked if I would join the Pasadena church on a mission trip to the Philippines. But after a few phone calls to my friend, Steven, we talked ourselves into going, deciding it would be a great experience.
Steven: My friend Kyle is going, so at least I would know someone else while I am there. And I thought it would be an interesting experience.
Alex: A lot of my friends had talked about going to the Philippines on the first mission trip  and how much fun it was and how they got to impact other people’s lives. So I decided it would be a good thing to do and that I wanted to go with those particular people.
Deanna: I knew I wanted to go on a mission trip this summer to experience God’s love in a whole new way — the love he has for all his people around the world. Honestly, I felt my heart tugging towards Thailand rather than the Philippines at first. Especially because I have a friend who is teaching the young refugee kids there this summer, and she has also told me about her experiences of sharing Jesus’ love with the girls who are sold into trafficking in Thailand. For about a month I prayed and asked God where he wanted me to go—and if the Philippines was the place for me. I prayed that God would give me a heart for those people. I believe he is doing just that!
Question: What do you expect to achieve by going?
Kyle: I’m not sure what to expect. I just know that I’m going to be coming home with a lot more than when I left.
Deanna: I hope this trip allows me to let my light shine and plant seeds among the people in the Philippines. I hope the Holy Spirit is poured out in the hearts of all the people we meet—both young and old. I hope that our youth group gets to start a fire of worship and passion for the God who made us and loves us.
Steven: I hope to learn about the culture and to bring someone to Christ, because that is what we are called to do.
Question: Have you ever done anything like this before?
Steven: Going to New Orleans after Katrina is the closest thing I’ve done to this.
Kyle: No, not exactly. I’ve been to a couple mission trips to New Orleans, but I’ve never even traveled this far in my life before.
Alex: No, I have not. This is going to be my first mission trip, and I’m very excited.
Deanna: I have been on two short missions trips to Indian reservations within the U.S. and I went to Mexico to help build houses and share the gospel, but I have never been anywhere this far from home.
Question: Of course you are looking forward to doing this. But are there any aspects of it that worry or even scare you?
Kyle: Well yes, the Philippines are a long way away. I think the thing I’m afraid of most is the new culture and experiencing the everyday life of a Third World country.
Deanna: Of course! If it weren’t scary, where would be the excitement? Or the growth? It can be scary to leave your comfort zone, but I think this is where God refines us. And it may sound stupid, but I’m a little scared of just messing up. I don’t want my own fear or hesitation to get in the way of God’s plans. But I know this is God’s trip, God’s work, and there is nothing I can do to mess it up.
Steven: Just being able to communicate the message effectively is going to be a challenge in itself, and I think that will be the most difficult task. But anything about the area itself, no.
Alex: No, everything seems to be perfectly safe, and I think the outcome of the trip will partly be whatever we put into it. The rest is God’s part.
Question: How have you prepared for the experience — physically — mentally — and spiritually?
Kyle: The group has had mission training, and we all came up with a speech that we are going to share with students there, and we’ve gone over vacation Bible school lessons to share with the children, too. Physically we’ve all had to have the standard immunizations and medicine for the trip.
Steven: Mentally, I’m just focusing on the work I’ll be doing and seeing how I can be the best of help. Spiritually — prayer is the only thing. Getting my family, peers, and church all to pray, including myself of course, is the best way to prepare. The battle is won on our knees.
Alex: Physically, I have gotten shots and have taken pills. We have also been working on learning music together as a band. Mentally, I have learned about the Philippines and the culture and customs as well as learning the curriculum for Vacation Bible School that we are going to use with the kids there. Spiritually, we’ve been perfecting speeches that we’ll give to the kids on various spiritual topics so we’ve been preparing and praying about the speeches. I’ve been trying to keep in contact with my generous sponsors and asking them to help pray for the mission trip in general. [All participants were required to get sponsors for prayer and financial support.]
Deanna: Prayer and lots of it. Our church members have also been very supportive in praying for us young missionaries. We have done a lot of preparing for the trip. We are learning about Filipino culture, and we are learning how to best share the gospel with the youth there. Physically, we have to take typhoid and anti-malarial medication just to be safe.
CO: Can we interview you again when you return, to see how it all went?
Alex: Yes, I think that would be marvelous.
Steven: Absolutely! I’m sure I’ll be excited to talk about it.
Deanna: Certainly! It is an honor. I would also like to ask for the prayers of all your readers that this trip would be fruitful and drenched in the Holy Spirit.