Earlier this year I was presented with the opportunity to partner with RP Missions on a trip to Melbourne, Australia. When this option presented itself I agreed without hesitation. Two years ago I was given the opportunity to partner with RP Missions and my childhood best friend. I hopped on the opportunity fairly quickly then, too. During the trip I fell in love with the culture and community of the Australian RP Churches. It was (and is) encouraging to see members of a western culture who care so much about community and the commitment of the church to serve one another.

Sacrificial love is hard to find in the modern world, but this church does it so well. These past experiences combined with a belief that missions are relational and continual drove me to accept the position of team leader for this years mission.

Short term missions are just that, short term. But I don’t believe that the encouragement of the saints is something that ever stops. When relationships are built and grown over a four or five week trip there is part of them that never ceases to be. I have a desire to continue building these relationships, even over gaps of geography and time.

Community should be at the heart of missions and, I believe, the heart of the church. This trip has been as, if not more, encouraging than the first. There were two young RPs with me neither of whom had been on a mission trip, nor out of the country. We also had never met each other outside of some email correspondence. It never ceases to amaze me how Christ can bring so many people from all different walks of life into holy community.

Over four weeks Anna Gallo, Maggie Lauderdale, and myself got to experience life with each other and the RPCA congregations. Partnering in the daily ministry of the local church, cooking meals, setting up and tearing down for the Geelong Bible Conference, babysitting, planning and helping with activities for the School Holiday Program, sharing the work of God in our lives and hearing about His influence in the lives of those around us. All of these things bring honor to the Lord when done in love.

The goal of our trip was to enter into the life of the church, to uplift and encourage those within. With this perspective and a motive of love, the Lord has done a beautiful work in our lives. We have grown in our faith, been encouraged through community, and challenged by the new environment.

– Jacqueline Horner

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