I have a question regarding missions. I have never felt a
"calling" to become an overseas missionary full time, but over
the past few months I've felt that perhaps it would be a good
idea to do some cross-cultural missions. I am in my second year
of university, and doing this missions trip would make me
behind a year in my program. I'm just struggling with the issue
of staying in school, where there are tons of mission
opportunities with classmates, or leaving to go on an overseas
mission. I think that both are in favor with God; I just don't know
if going away for a year is such as good idea because it will
jeopardize my relationships that I have with some non-Christian
friends at university.
Maybe I'm an optimist, but I can't imagine how your choosing to go on a missions outreach would in any way jeopardize friendships with non-Christians, at least in the sense that they wouldn't want to associate with you as a result. I tend to think that exactly the opposite would happen — that it would speak volumes to them about your heart and authentic faith. The fact that you would pause school to go halfway around the world to share God's love with total strangers should be a real testimony to them. It will probably open a door for a great conversation about your faith and the message of the gospel.
You say you've "felt perhaps it would be a good idea...." If by that you mean that you've had a strong impression that God is calling you to a missions outreach, and He has placed that desire in your heart, then by all means, you should pursue it. It is certainly God's heart to use you to reach people with the gospel message. If this is an opportunity that for some reason might not come around again, and the financing is not an issue (you don't mention it being an issue so I assume that's not a problem) then I think you should go. My guess is, once you get out there, you'll wonder why you ever questioned it. I've never known any person to go on a missions outreach and later regret it. Usually the only regret is that they didn't go sooner.