The most important step of any mission trip is the response.
If we are not careful, we can too-easily focus on what is happening to the missionaries and forget what is happening in the minds and hearts of those to whom the missionaries have been sent.
Rest assured God’s focus is upon those who are hearing His Word. The whole reason for a mission trip in the first place is God’s love for the whole world, and His intent for the whole world to hear the message of His grace.
The Book of Acts places a particular emphasis on how the people who hear the message respond to God’s Word. As we have mentioned, the Holy Spirit must be responsible for each stage of every mission: the journey, the message, and the response.
The Holy Spirit in the first case identifies those who are to be sent, and where they are to go. He then equips them with Spiritual gifts necessary to reach the people to whom they are being sent.
It is easy to see why Paul and Barnabas have been chosen for this trip to the region of Cyprus and Galatia. Paul, from Tarsus in southern Turkey, is a Jew’s Jew, and a master of the law and the prophets of Judaism. Barnabas is a Hellenist who can relate to the cultures of both Jew and Greek. Paul is a warrior for Christ, who knows grace better than any man who ever lived, and Barnabas is encouragement personified. Both men are completely devoted to Jesus. There could not have been a better team to send on this first-of-all missionary journeys for Christ.
Their trip was not an easy one, and it was never intended to be. The difficulty of the trip would inform the message. The message, though simple to understand, was not an easy one to deliver. The difficulty of the trip, (what they experienced along the way,) only strengthened their resolve to say exactly what God’s Word would have them say, despite the mix of deeply-entrenched religious tradition and ridiculous Gentile idol worship they would be speaking against. The Holy Spirit imposed His conviction along those lines, bringing Spiritual power to the Word of God being spoken.
But now comes the most important part: How will they respond?