“Transformed by Trouble”

An inspirational book that has made a difference in my life is The Purpose Driven LifePurpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I have recommended it numerous times to those who are finding their faith or looking to build a better foundation of faith.

There are 40 parts broken in to five sections of purpose. With so many people I know facing unimaginable obstacles in their lives and the unfathomable pain and grief they are going through, I wanted to focus today on #25, “Transformed by Trouble.”

Warren writes several things I feel are worth mentioning.

  1. “God has a purpose behind every problem. He uses circumstances to develop our character.”

  2. “We learn things about God in suffering we can’t learn any other way.”

  3. “You’ll never know that God is all you need until God is all you’ve got.”

Read those once again slowly and think about each of them. If you are under attack or are undergoing any suffering or pain in your life, you may struggle a bit in finding truth to these three points. But I’ll tell you this: these truths should begin the process of speaking life into the reality you find yourself in. Keep in mind, your current reality can be either temporary or changed. You decide.

1000 Tips 168 reality temp or changed

Correspondingly, I’ll add this to each point above:

“God has a purpose behind every problem. He uses circumstances to develop our character.” The topic of one of my speeches is titled: “Out of Chaos Comes Character.” With a purpose behind each problem, what is it we are to learn from our hardships? The character we build is derived from the chaos in our lives. We have a choice whether we excel with excellence or decline with defeat.

“We learn things about God in suffering we can’t learn any other way.” When suffering, we are more available to hearing past the normal noise, seeing past the normal tunnel vision, and leaping to a new fountain of faith. Suffering offers opportunities for growth – unique opportunities we may otherwise not experience.

“You’ll never know that God is all you need until God is all you’ve got.” When you hit rock bottom, or close to it, sometimes the only thing you got left… is God. The world and everyone you know can abandon you, but God never will. You can abandon God, but it does not work the other way around. Problems and suffering make us regain focus on what is important. Who knows? They just may be the catalyst of regaining a faith lost or a rejected relationship.

As Pastor Warren points out, troubles are a great form of transformation! And they are. When you find yourself going through troubled waters, audit your situation. You have several choices. You can swim with the current, you can fight the current, or you can head for shore. Sometimes, you can just stand up and walk out because your troubles are shallow and easily drain away. Other times, they may be deeper and require someone to throw you a life preserver. If this is the case, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Trey Campbell, tcampbell@southwestern.com
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Purchase 12 Jars: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life: here





The ridiculousness of irony and the reality of our situations

At what point does irony succumb to the ridiculous? This recent headline caught my attention:

Norwegian flight carrying 60 plumbers turns back due to broken toilets

plane toiletYes, it’s true. A flight bound for Munich had to return to Oslo and circle the airport until enough fuel was burned off to land safely because… the toilets were broken. Coincidentally, 85 passengers on the plane were in the plumbing industry, 60 of which were actually certified plumbers.

Isn’t that a headline that smacks of irony? It’s ironically funny. That’s the way life is sometimes – for better or worse. And that’s the way our spiritual life is too. God has a sense of perfect irony. He designed us to laugh at ourselves and be laughed at. And I’m sure he gets a laugh because of us all the time. Just like that headline, we can be ridiculous too!

When something comes up in our life similar to the plumbers on a plane with broken toilets, how do you react? Do you laugh and reflect on the situation and move on or does it affect your mood and attitude for a day or more? Are you like Jonah, who tried to flee from God to get out of his divine appointment, or are you like Nehemiah, who took charge of a problem that was not his and made it a divine appointment? 

Quick case study:
Jonah: God told him to go to Nineveh to preach against the wickedness that consumed the city. Jonah instead bolted to Joppa where he boarded a boat. We all know how this story ends: rough seas, thrown overboard, great fish, swallowed for three days, vomited back up.

Nehemiah: He was the cupbearer for King Artaxerxes in Babylon. Upon hearing the disrepair of the holy city of Jerusalem, Nehemiah took action. Against all odds, he led a mission to rebuild the walls of the city – and once there, did it in 52 days!

How often are we like the headline we started with – caught in a mess we both can and can’t control? In the actual article, it explains how the toilets had to be fixed outside the plane. In that case, no matter how much knowledge and technical experience the plumbers on board had, there was nothing they could do about it… except laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation. And that is what we must do when presented with the craziness of this world that is both within and beyond our control.

Take a page out of Nehemiah’s book. Take on the things beyond your comfort level, beyond your experience level, and beyond your position. Like the plumbers on the plane, you may be qualified, but the situation may dictate it is not your time. But if it is your time, make it happen!1000 Tips 167 bridge and reward

There is a bridge between faith and initiative. There is a reward for obedience through action. Seek your reward in ways only you can through both your faith and obedience.

Trey Campbell, tcampbell@southwestern.com
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Article: https://www.thelocal.no/20180130/norwegian-flight-carrying-60-plumbers-turns-back-due-to-broken-toilets


Satisfaction should fade, leading to greater hunger

If you find yourself satisfied, perhaps you would be best served to make it short-lived.

12Jars-frontcover“…the state of satisfaction is unstable, if not a little irrational. If you are in a consistent state of satisfaction, what motivation is there to grow, build, or improve? No… in life it’s better to stay hungry than to be satisfied.” 

12 Jars: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life
Chapter 8, The Fifth Jar – Never Be Satisfied, p 44

Hunger can be one of two things depending if used as a noun or verb. It can be a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by the need to eat or it can be a strong desire or craving for something.

If you have ever had a goal, you know to reach it you must have a strong desire to make it reality. Michael Phelps did not win 28 Olympic medals by showing up to the pool in a speedo and goggles. He put in the time. He practiced countless hours and committed to his dream. His lifestyle was determined by the hunger he had to be the best swimming champion in the world.

What many successful champions of life know is you have to stay hungry. You can’t lose the craving and desires that got you where you are for one very good reason: you need to get to the next level. God did not make us to be mediocre. He made us to exceed intermediate. Quite simply, He made us to be exceptional. To be exceptional, you have to stay hungry!

Thomas Edison was on point when he said, “Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.” Satisfaction is the enemy of progress. Progress is impeded when the feeling of satisfaction replaces your appetite for advancement and achievement.

A final note for you on this fine day:

1000 Tips 166 harvest onetime meal
Don’t let short-term satisfaction be a substitute for long-term gratification! Stay hungry my friends!
Order 12 Jars: here

Formidable force of faith or featherweight? Are you dangerous?

Safety is not necessarily overrated, but it can be a sign of complacency. Case in point: we often pray for safety, but I bet most of us rarely pray to be formidable. Or what about daunting, imposing, fierce, or even menacing. (Back to this in a moment…)

Nica Group 1Last month, I took eight college students and my 16-year-old daughter on a mission trip to Nicaragua. I didn’t know what to expect, but I did have faith great enough to know the Holy Spirit would show up. And, oh did he ever – BIG TIME! We had what I can only describe as “deep devotional” time where we reflected on the day’s events, explored what the Bible said about specific topics, and shared personal struggles and victories. We had powerful prayer with everyone united as one. We laughed, we cried, and we shared encouragement.

The entire trip was life-changing. I would dare to say none of us are the same people we were when we left the States. We were changed. We grew. We matured spiritually. We bonded. We were refreshed by the Spirit. And we were… stirring. Yes, I said stirring. We were stirred by the Spirit and, in turn, looking forward to shaking things up to keep the receptivity alive when acclimating back to our daily lives.

Switching back to formidability…. what does the following three sentences mean to you when you read it?

“We have a primal longing to be uncaged. And the cage opens when we recognize that Jesus didn’t die on the cross to keep us safe.
He died to make us dangerous.”

This is a quote from Mark Batterson’s book, Wild Goose Chase. After the Nicaragua trip, I believe each of us to be more dangerous than before. It’s our enemy who needs to be on guard, not us. We are armed and fortified, protected by the spiritual armor of God.  Yes, we are more dangerous than before. While our enemy wreaks havoc to hold us back and keep us quiet, we roar like lions and charge like rhinos. We fly like eagles and strike like a puff adder. We are dangerous. We send the enemy into hiding, defeated and deflated.

Jesus died for us to be stronger – eternally strong. We are not caged by our sins, we are set free by our faith. When we pose a threat to our enemy, he tries harder to cage and contain us. It’s a battle of wills. A battle of strength of spirit. I know this: if Jesus suffered the way he did for our sake and died to make us dangerous, I want to be savage beyond safety and ferocious in faith. Shouldn’t we all be such a threat that we make hell’s Most Wanted List?Nica Group Freddies Now that is being dangerous!

This is what is happening! There is a movement to change personal shortfalls and a company culture that surrounds those who were on the trip. Group devotionals have occurred. Critical life discussions and accountability are taking place. Spiritual support is underway. Multiplication is manifolding. Questions are being asked. People are noticing change. God is good and He is active in the hearts of those who ask. One of the many positive byproducts of the mission trip was the candid courage each person has stood tall with. And with this courage comes the element of danger!

Their liberation is delivery from the cage that held them back! Watch out world! These young people are uncaged! They have been unshackled and are free to be formidably fierce in their faith. No featherweights in this group! I have witnessed it. I have been a part of it. I am proud of them. Won’t you join us?

Trey Campbell, Author – Speaker – Encourager
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The person who says “I can’t right now, I’m too busy changing the world,” is not changing the world

World-changers don’t have excuses. They have results.

They are the first to invest in others and pour time into the things people who will neverExcuses make their mark in this world never would. Why? To be successful, you have to be willing to do the things unsuccessful people aren’t willing to do. This is not new news… or at least it should not be.

I’ve said before: “Excuses are like fish. They have a short shelf-life.” Busyness often falls in that short shelf-life category. Those who wait for tomorrow on the premonition they are busy today never achieve the things they want to. Now, I can hear some people reading this… “But Trey, I am busy. I have a 40+ hour job, the kid’s practices and recitals, school work, laundry, spending time with friends, taking the cat to the vet, etc.” I’m not discounting any of that, BUT those are things that HAVE to be done. When we use a phrase as daunting as “changing the world,” there are things associated with accomplishing this that go above and beyond your average, everyday schedule.

You see, people like Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jesus did not accomplish what they did because they used time as an excuse. They used time to their advantage. These are well-known, household names (especially that Jesus guy). World-changers don’t have to be as big as the names I just listed. You can start with one person – yourself. You have the power to change yourself and your surroundings, and, in turn, utilize a domino effect to create bigger, farther-reaching change. Your impact and influence is not limited by time, but by your use of time.

Busyness is a lie we become comfortable with. It’s an excuse we rely on. It gets us out of things and allows us to justify to ourselves we have a valid reason of not doing what we are asked, what we say we will do, or what we plan to do.

Believe it or not, time is one thing we have plenty of because it never runs out. We may have only 24 hours in a day, but we always do have tomorrow. We just have to manage our time better and actually do the things tomorrow we say we will today. I can be defined as a busy guy, but I find a way to get things done. Here are some examples things I think have helped me:

  • Schedule – Schedule is a choice. I can binge Netflix, take a nap, or do something constructive such as blog, read a book to gain knowledge and feed my mind, workout to strengthen my body, or spend time with those who build me up. I write down what needs to get done, and add things to my list that come up. Having things written down, I can feel accomplished when I mark them off. Setting specific times to get things done also prevents time waste. You can schedule every part of your day. Invest in a planner if you need to or an app that helps you waste less time.
  • Priority – What are YOUR priorities? I bet if you made a list and then compared it to how you spend your time, they would not necessarily match. We all have things we care about and we all have things we need to get done. How can you be efficient and productive to do both? If anything truly is a priority for you, won’t you make time for it? For me, when I was soliciting endorsements for 12 Jars, I had three people tell me they were basically too busy to be bothered. Working for a direct sales company for two decades has taught me not to take this personally. But, it makes me think I was not considered a priority in their life because they could not fit me in their schedule over the course of several weeks. What I learned is my priorities are not someone else’s priorities. And that’s ok. When you set your own priorities for each day, you develop habits for the important things and people in your life.
  • Goal-setting – If you want to do big things, you have to dream big. Goals are made to reach with sweat equity, not little-to-no effort. Changing the world means having goals so big, people laugh at you (behind your back of course). Go big! Your strategies and tactics will dictate how you reach your goals. Excuses of being busy and why you don’t hit your goals fall on deaf ears to those who are making things happen in their own lives.
  • Attitude – This is something that is controllable and will help you get through the good times and the bad time – of which you will have both (you can’t have one without the other). You  choose your attitude. Start in the morning with some positive phrases or reading. Make the day yours, not the other way around.

Sure, we are all busy, but no one is busy enough to make things happen in your life rather than letting life happen to you. Take control of your situation and make the most of the rest of your life!

Trey Campbell, tcampbell@southwestern.com
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Order 12 Jars: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life here

A dream fulfilled is only the beginning: this is MY beginning

This past week saw the payoff of two years worth of work, time, effort, and a piercing desire to see a dream fulfilled. The book I’ve been writing has seen the ink of pages.

Yes, 12 Jars: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life has been published!

Elisa 12 Jars photoWhile I do want to discuss some of the things the book contains you may find intriguing, this post will feature my “why” behind what I have written.

This book being published is just the beginning. At one time I thought having it published would be the realization of the dream. What I’ve come to find is there is no end to it. There is lots of work to be done to get it in the hands of people who want or need to be inspired and moved. This process is not for me, but for what God intended for me.

Here are a few reasons where I find myself at this time:

1. I am living my purpose; my calling if you will. Call it encouragement, inspiration, invigoration… whatever you want. My spiritual gift is exhortation. This is where one works to help those who falter in their faith or wallow in the results of sin or poor choices. Those with this gift strengthen and encourage others in their faith.

They can also challenge or refute others while at the same time lifting up and galvanizing them in order to foster spiritual growth and action. The goal of the encourager is to see everyone who calls themselves a Christ-follower “make disciples of nations” and glorify God. This book is a tool of encouragement to live a life worthy of your calling, to leave a legacy greater than your lifespan.

2. This project has been spirit-inspired – from the concept to the words on the pages. And not just this book. All other projects I’ve been working on including intentional conversations, speaking engagements, and several others projects .

And why is this divinely inspired? Because my prayers are being answered. I have come to a crossroads in my faith – where you are riding the fence or over it and running free. I’m free. And I’m running hard and fast.

3. This book ushers in the next era of my personal, professional, and most importantly, spiritual development. This represents opportunity for speaking engagements with meaningful conversations, relationship building, and honoring my purpose.

4. I want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. To follow in footsteps this big or any for that matter, the first step is always a leap of faith. Faith is believing in the things we can’t see. Unless they are in sand, wet concrete, or mud, footsteps are unseen. But that doesn’t mean a path has not been walked before us. Lift your foot, believe you will come down on solid ground, and take a step. Then another… and another.

With that said, if you would be interested in purchasing a copy or have me speak, let me know. I’m ready to begin sharing my message of impact, love, and legacy. My site will be ready soon, but until then:

I named this post “A dream fulfilled is only the beginning: this is MY beginning.” What is YOUR beginning? Are you working toward the realization of a dream that will take you to a higher level? Or are you stuck living in a fantasy that gets you through the day?

A hard worker has plenty of food,
but a person who chases fantasies has no sense.

– Proverbs 12:11

Trey Campbell: tcampbell@southwestern.com
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Friends of fiberglass and iron

As we mature with age, we begin to realize how popularity fades, but true friends brighten our lives. True friends enhance us in a way that makes us rival the stars.

In the fourth and fifth grade age group I volunteer with at church, we talked about friendships. As we talked about making the right friends and what to look for in the friends you choose to have, it got me thinking about the extremes of friendship.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
– Proverbs 27:17

Smooth words may hide a wicked heart, just as a pretty glaze covers a clay pot.
– Proverbs 26:23

On one hand, you have a your friend who is iron – they sharpen you, and you them. They are there for you in thick and thin and you for them. There is a mutual respect and continual line of encouragement. These are the friends who will cry with you, laugh with you, cry laughing, and laugh at you crying. They are true.

On the other, you have you fiberglass friendships. These are the ones that break easy at the first sign of turmoil, drama, or hardship. They cut and run or go into hiding and you don’t see them until the air clears. As Proverbs 26:23 says, don’t be fooled by those who aren’t true.

“Beware: Friends of iron will buy you lunch. Your fiberglass friends will eat your lunch.”

friendsThe fact is we all have friends who are just not very good friends. And sometimes, we may be that person to our friends. Choose your friends wisely or they will steer you on the wrong path – a path of destruction. Sadly, it’s the fiberglass friends who keep us from being the person God wants us to be.

There’s friends for all seasons of our lives – from tragedies to celebrations and everything in between. Make sure you seek out the sturdy, sharpening iron friends rather than the fragile fiberglass friends who come and go.

Trey Campbell, tcampbell@southwestern.com
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Photo credit: Evelyn Mostrom, Unsplash.com

Rise up shepherd boy!

Little boys (and girls too!) often don a cape and mask and engage in acting out their imaginative fantasies of being a hero. As adults, we still have those fantasies, though most of the time without the full costume. (Well, most of the time…)

hero igor-ovsyannykov-225463As an adult, you don’t have to have super powers, a costume, and secret identity to be a hero. In fact, heroes come in all sizes, shapes, races, cultures, and however else you want to subdivide our species. However, a dual-commonality between heroes of Hollywood or comic book fame and real-life is they have unexpected beginnings and are more about heart than strength. A real hero is not defined by how much they can bench press or how fast they are. They are defined by their actions. They are defined by their heart.

And that’s where I would like to take us now.

Do you remember the infamous story in the Bible where David fought Goliath? This was not only epic, it was God-ordained. How was it not? After all, who, in their right mind, would let a “beardless” shepherd boy with no formal warrior training, go toe-to-toe with the largest, fiercest Philistine?

This was just the beginning of an epic calling God had for young David. As a shepherd, David would fend off attacks on his flock by predatory animals by using a club or a sling and stones. He was not armed in any other fashion other than the staff he would use to reach and catch sheep and a club. Slaying a lion and bear to protect his flock was, in his mind, all in a day’s work.

I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God!
– 1 Samuel 17:36

You see, David’s secret weapon was being underestimated. His ultimate weapon was not the sling and stones, but rather the favor of God through his faith. We all have access to this favor. Though our purpose may not be to slay a giant, it is to slay the things in our lives that represent the giants.

Whatever went through King Saul’s mind to let David fight the giant is beyond me. But he consented because David’s faith won him over.

Are you like that shepherd boy? We all want to be. We want to be somebody. We want to be the hero. The only problem is, we can’t be the hero if we are not willing to rise up and accept the favor God has for us! We need to be willing to heed God’s calling for our life.

What are the giants in your life that need a stone between the eyes?
How will you fight those giants? And with what?
Will you run quickly to your giants as David did?
Will you embrace victory or fall to defeat?

Heroes are not born, they rise to the occasion. Out of a renewed resolution to be of great faith, a hero is born. Rise up and be the person God made you to be!

Photo Credit: Igor Ovsyannykov, Unsplash.com

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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Make this new year not about resolutions, but redemptions


Bring on 2018!

I believe this to be the last minute rally cry for many of us as we move into the new year. After all, to many the new year represents new starts, a new you.

People typically make resolutions because they are looking for one of three things: growth, change, or an escape. The reality is a resolution is really just a fancy way of making a promise to yourself to enact the specific transformation required in order to see the result of your desire. A common example is if someone wants to lose weight, they may make a resolution to get fit by hitting the gym more.

As I’ve blogged before, I don’t really do resolutions. I believe we should be making an effort each day for improvement. I don’t need a change in the calendar to designate the start of promises I may or may not keep.  I do, however, respect those who have a resolve for something different in the upcoming year. You see, for a lot of you out there, this represents hope. For many people I know, 2017 was an absolute dumpster fire of a year. 

And if that was the case for you, I offer this advice: rather than get bogged down in resolutions, seek redemption. Redemption is the atoning for a fault or mistake. It’s being rescued, perhaps delivered from whatever chains bind you. It’s like a pay-off of sorts – an emancipation or acquittal of the past year. What I’m suggesting is putting in motion a different perspective of the age-old resolution pledges for the new year. Rather than resolving to do something, I wonder if it might make more sense to find redemption in the things already done?

The Greek word for “redeemed” is lytrōsis. This means verbatim “a ransoming, a deliverance, or a rescue.” Ask yourself:

  • What is it from the past year I need to be ransomed, delivered, or rescued from?
  • What was the cause of the fires in my life? The chains holding me back? The things I need to move on from?

It may be something out of your control such as the loss of a loved one or an illness. In this case, the redemptive strategy would be how you react and move forward from this point. On the flip side, what about the things that are in your control you need rescuing from – addictions, relationships, complacency? Are these things not deserving of redemption? You don’t get a clean slate just because it’s a new year. What you get is the opportunity to get better.

Personally, while2017 was not the easiest year in my lifetime, I have a lot to be grateful for – and even more to look forward to in 2018. Admittedly, however, I have more room to get better myself. For 2018, I have my first book being published – 12 Jars: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life. I will be embarking on, for lack of a better term, a “side hustle” of speaking. I will be working to impact others. This blog will be rebranded. I will have a devotional published. And these are just some of the many things in store for the new year. With all of this and more, I will also be working to find redemption in the things I am either not satisfied with or feel like I failed myself in my efforts.

One thing I know for sure: Despite all else in our lives, we are redeemed by the blood of of Jesus. So all is not lost, and all can be found. Redemption is the act of saving or being saved. Though we’ve already been saved, we manage to make a right mess of our lives. Enough of the resolutions where we say we are going to do something. Let’s move forward and be redemptive for the things we need to let go. Redemption leads to freedom. Freedom awaits you this year. Less talk, more do.

As I type this, another idea comes to mind: Maybe for some of us, instead of redemption, a better idea would be New Year’s Repentance… (but maybe that will have to wait for the 2019 New Year’s blog).

Happy New Year everyone!

The 2 sides of missions

Acclimating back to normal life after a mission trip is never the same when the Holy Spirit has been active in changing lives.

Nicaragua 1

As I washed out the dirt in my clothes and shoes from a mission trip to Nicaragua, I saw it as washing the dirt out of my life. I’m sure this is how others felt too. This is but one metaphor that symbolizes a week of intense experiences, discussions, relationships, devotions, and serious dedication to not only who we are through Christ, but who we want to be.

Since before its conception, this trip was blessed by God. It was his plan all along, when a former Southwestern Advantage student dealer and current missionary, Claire Whitcomb, had come back in my life. Months later, she contacted me about bringing a group to Masatepe, Nicaragua. This was met with enthusiasm because it had long been a desire of my personal ministry to take a group of young people on a mission. What was even better was this group included Madison, my 16-year-old daughter. I can’t think of any other better time invested in a child.

From the beginning, this trip was not to be one of “voluntourism” or something to be checked off a “Christian bucket list.” The way I see it, if the effects of your short-term help is never really felt long-term, then you have been no help at all. I appreciate the team in Nicaragua with International Teams (iTeams) mission organization. They interviewed me to make sure myself and the group I would bring down was the “right fit” with in their four-part missions strategy of ENTER > EVALUATE > ENGAGE > EXTEND.

Nicaragua 2Through this process, they are building teams both on the ground and who come to serve that are part of a long-term solution and not just a short-term feel-good experience. This community has been served well by this organization which has branched into multiple arms of blessings: a farm that is a product of many churches and pastors coming together that provides eggs (protein) for poverty-stricken children, and has orchards and pigs – this farm will also house a rehabilitation center for alcohol recovery which is the biggest problem in Masatepe; a coffee shop and company that provides jobs and makes coffee-related and leather products; and many other community projects and partnerships including a stellar internship program.

As I write this, I can hear my daughter reliving the past week’s events as she tells my wife about the people she met, those who invested in her, and what she learned. Over the course of a week, we had devotionals and worship, in-home visits with the elderly, dinner with locals, events we attended with Young Life, a Baptist school, and an Nicaragua 4organization that ministers to the children who live by the dump. We attended an inauguration for the farm in which the mayor spoke. We also helped prepare the farm for the vision the community and iTeams has for it. There were many more things that kept us busy and our spirits alive! Oh, and one of the college students was baptized in Lake Nicaragua.

Some of the best confidence builders in Christ came from the topics covered in our nightly devotionals which I can only describe as a discussion of real life problems with Biblical solutions. They were serious topics for a group of people seeking to live out their purpose and follow the Lord. It was refreshing being fed by these young people as much as I was trying to feed them.

I strongly believe in what a mission trip can accomplish on both sides. I’m familiar with When Helping Hurts and others opinions/facts on short-term missions, however, I can only buy-in with what I personally know and have experienced.

  • It must go both ways. The outcome is determined by what is accomplished and the reason it needed to be accomplished.
    • For the people going, is their perspective expanded and have they grown in their relationship with Christ? It’s not about creating memories, it’s about building a foundation of faith, becoming who you are called to be in the Lord’s Kingdom through an experience that would likely not happen without a change in venue and latitude.
    • For the locals, there needs to be a long-term vision or reason for what work or relationship building is being done. Is it to set up long-term help? Will it meet the needs after you leave? Will there be a  legacy to your trip beyond painting walls or getting pics for social media posts?
  • It is imperative to partner with an organization that “gets it” and has an existing system in place. In my experience, there are lots of mission organizations that have intentions to do great things, but may actually be doing more harm. There is good in almost every one of the orgs, but a lack of vision and execution is often the result of intentions without research.
  • Where’s the change? A successful short-term trip will have change in you, the team members you are with, the organization you may go through, and the people who you are there to reach or help. All of these must see growth for success to be measurable.

I know what we accomplished and what change was brought about in Nicaragua. That Nicaragua 3can wait for a future post, but what was told to me before we left will forever leave an impression on my heart:

“I was in a dry period, you all filled my soul.” – Jordy Vallecillo Tinoco.

This is not only change, but progress. I’ll leave you with this: the light of God shines down on those who venture into darkness for His sake.

Trey Campbell, tcampbell@southwestern.com
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