Book review: 'Before You Go' by Jack Hempfling
Reviewed by Ceri Longville
Jack Hempfling, the author of “Before you go”, has served on many short term ministry teams around the world. His book comprises of 40 short devotional readings which have been especially written for people preparing to go on short term mission. Hempfling states there is a need to prepare the mind, body and heart, believing with passion that the heart should be the most important focus. He states “The most powerful tool you have is your testimony, your personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” Yet, warning that the state of our heart can be so easily neglected amongst the busy practical preparations for short term mission.
Each devotional reading is based on a specific topic which includes relationships with your fellow team members and leaders, spiritual opposition, self-confidence and coping strategies for culture shock. They begin with helpful and relevant Bible verses to reflect on. Hempfling uses these in his application to the topic in hand, giving practical insights and advice based upon his own real-life experiences.
The book often comes over to be addressing the over-enthusiastic young person who may be tempted to feel they are going out to save the world in two months. There is much straight talking and warning about the stark realities the reader is likely face. As a result I think it’s fair to say that people who are going on a short term mission trip in order to see if this is where God is leading them long term (and those whom having done their homework now have many apprehensions) are a little less catered for. Nevertheless there is plenty of wisdom and Biblical reflection for anyone preparing to go on short term mission and amongst the warnings there is some affirmation too.
It is a small book that you can carry around with you and pull out to use in those “windows of opportunity” to take time out to be with God, which Hempfling assures will be provided even amongst the busy preparations.
Ceri Longville lives in Cardiff and works for OSCAR. Her main responsibilities involve cultivating OSCAR's online community, OSCARactive. She has a Computing degree, a masters in Mission Studies, and likes seafood and chocolate (but not together!)..