A blog post is a phenomenal way to share your short-term missionary experience. You can share it with friends and families on your social media channels or post it on your youth group or church website. The nice thing about a blog post is that it doesn't have a shelf life. Others can find and be encouraged by your story years from now.
Before the trip
With a little bit of planning, you can set yourself up with some outstanding content for your post. Here are a few things you can do to ensure you have a lot of material to draw from later.
Everyone in your group will probably take a lot of pictures. It's a good idea to set up a photo storage solution (like Flickr or Google Photos) ahead of time so that you can all pool your photos. This allows you to choose the best pictures from the whole trip, not just your camera.
Be thoughtful about the pictures you take. Capture your experience and communicate what happened on your trip, but be sensitive about it. Don't just think of these as photo-ops for your Facebook page.
Make a real connection with the people you're serving around and capture their joy and struggles. You're likely working with a local ministry; try to show the work that they're doing and how you're serving them. Try not to make yourself or your group the center or heroes of every photo.
Don't count on your memory to record everything that happened. Bring a journal to write down events, exchanges, and insights throughout the day. Tell team members that you're going to be documenting quotes and stories. They'll be excited about sharing quotes and incidents with you. The more you document during the trip, the more information you'll be able to pull from to craft a strong post-trip narrative.
Writing your blog
A mission trip is overwhelming. A lot is going on, and it's difficult to get a good sense of what's truly significant while it's happening. This is why you need to set some time aside afterward to prayerfully reflect on the trip. Go through the pictures and your notes and think about the meaningful moments. You can also interview others on the trip and find out what their biggest takeaways were.
From there, craft a narrative that engages your readers. Don't merely give them a list of events. Tell a story that allows them to learn from your experience. Think about what you want your readers to think, feel, and do after they’ve read your post.
What's it like to live in this part of the world? What challenges do people experience every day? What hope does Jesus bring into their lives? What do ministries sacrifice to serve these groups? What did you learn that will have a lasting impact on your life? What can readers do to serve this ministry?
By answering questions like these, you inform and instruct your readers.
Sharing your blog posts
Once you have a blog post written, run it by a couple of other people who were on the trip. They might have insights or suggestions that will strengthen your story. Once it's ready to go, it's time to share it.
Obviously, you want to share your post on your social-media platforms. Also talk to someone about sharing your story on the church or youth-group Facebook page, too. You can also email the link to someone at the mission. They'll be blessed by your story and might end up sharing it themselves.
Your church or youth-group website is also a place that can host a link to the post. And when they're planning the next mission trip, your post can be a way to communicate the long-term impact of short-term missions.
Treasuring your experience
In the end, one of the most meaningful things about a short-term mission trip is how it influences the way you think about your place in God's kingdom and its effect on the world. Crafting a blog post encourages you to reflect on your experience so that it can have a longer, more significant impact on you—and allows you to share those insights with others. This way your trip can touch people who weren't able to attend and increase its impact.
If you participated on a mission trip with Jesus Film Project®, we would love to see it! Tag us in your post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram by using the social media handle, @JesusFilm, with your status and image!