Share Magazine – 2012


Short-term Mission long-term Commitment


Jumping in With Both Feet

by Steve Pool


is a story of a regular guy, just one of the “72 others:’

A regular guy with a regular job and a regular family who goes to a regular church in a regular little town. But, I seem to have an irregular desire to travel long distances and work in sweaty places for people I have never met eat food that I can’t identify in a country where I can’t speak a lick of the native language-and do this over and over again,

–as much as I possibly can.

This is the story of how I started in short-term missions and ended up with our restaurant, Soda Steve’s, which is our long-term commitment to missions and outreach.
The “72 others:'” What’s that you say:’

That’s what I said when Jeremy Basset, the leader of my first mission to Vietnam told us in the mission orientation. He told us that as missioners we were the “72 others” mentioned in Luke 10. Wow!” The Luke” talks about me in the bible:’ This is better than I thought it was gonna be!

In 2002, I embarked on my first mission; I wanted to take my son Zach on a 12-day mission to Costa Rica. Sounds good, right:’ Twelve days is not so long; I would call that short-term, wouldn’t you:’ Only 12 days to be hot and sweaty all day and all night, shower with cold water, sleep with the flying critters on a foam mattress on a concrete floor in an open air school house. And build a whole building.

Little did I know that my first exposure to short-term missions would change my life and the life of my family to one of long-term mission commitments in countries that I could only have dreamed of traveling to at the time. Remember, I just wanted to take each of my kids on one mission so that they could see that everyone does not live in the land of air conditioners and video games. Just one per kid, I have three kids you do the math, three missions! As this goes to print, I am currently the team leader on my third mission to Vietnam which is my seventh mission overall. I have had the opportunity to team with, or lead, over 55 people on seven missions to four different countries in the last 10 years and I’m just getting started!

He gave the “72 others” the same overall instructions as he gave the 12; “Make disciples of Jesus Christ by sharing God’s love:’Jesus then goes on to detail the reception that we missioners will have, the conditions we can expect and even how we are to pack and behave. I think that being one of the “72 others” is sort of like being one of the 12 disciples without the title and business cards. No business cards, bummer, but our work is no less important. I spin this wordy tale because it is one of It was during one of our many meals at Soda Brendas, some of my team members suggested that our Verandah snack bar at Fin and Feather Resort be re-named Soda Steve’s. This idea simmered for a couple of years and in 2006 we did indeed change the name to Soda Steve’s.

With the new name (and opportunity to tell the story of how it came about) and new mindset, we soon outgrew our small location. In June 2008, we moved into our new building with decor centered around all of my mission destinations. Here you will find bamboo walls, thatched roofs, corrugated tin, palm trees and coffeeTo you,

I say, go do it and stop waiting for son1eone to ask you to go on a mission or expecting someone else to lead a mission.

When I’m in Soda Steve’s, I am


“The “72 others”
It did not take me long to learn that in Oklahoma we are fortunate to have Jeremy Basset as our VIM
director along with a host of fantastic people who work with him to assist in organizing all of the Oklahoma VIM missions going to and coming from all parts of the world. Most states just have a really small VIM office with one person who is both the director AND the staff with VIM being only one of their four jobs. In Oklahoma, we actually have dedicated staff; we are one of the biggest VIM offices in the nation.

The first time I missioned with Jeremy he told us something that has never left me. Well, actually he told me several things that have never left me, some of which, I wish wouldleave me, but I digress.Jeremy told us, about the”72 others:’ In Luke 9, Jesus sends out the 12 disciples. In Luke 10,Jesus talks about sending out the “72 others:’
The “72 others” are the regular people who go out on short-term missions, sometimes into many of the same conditions as the disciples. the things that has made short term missions so important to me. This is the definition of missions. So here’s the deal, when you really think about it, outreach and mission are the very essence of what we do as Christians.
Soda Steve’s

During my second mission to Costa Rica, we stayed in a small town on the East coast called Marina. At that time the Costa Rican District Superintendent’s wife owned a small cafe or “Soda” as they call them in Costa Rica. It is customary to name the Soda after the proprietor, so every day, three meals a day, we took all of our meals at “Soda Brendas:’ Beans and rice in the morning and rice and beans at night, however, lunch was my favorite meal, because we got a choice: beans OR rice! This leads me into one of Rev. Basset’s favorite mission prayers “Lord, I’ll get it down, you keep it down;’ or the old standby where you lead me I will follow; what you feed me I will swallow; definitely an oldie, but a goody.

When I am in Soda Steve’s I am usually thinking about a mission, planning a mission, or telling mission stories, and answering questions about missions from our guests. What happened to that whole cooking thing? What do I mean by short-term mission and long term commitment:’ In the Methodist Church today, I would say that 90% of the missions that are taken are of one month or less and most being around the 7 – 12 day time frame. Seven to twelve days would be the actual time spent on the mission, however, this does not count the time getting ready, preparing, arranging for time off, raising funds, making travel arrangements, and lodging arrangements etc. And when you get home, the time spreading the word about the mission, plans for the next one, and the after mission advocacy.

Now, does that mean that have to mission an only spread Gods love 11,000 miles in Vietnam? No. Long-term commitment does not necessarily long distance It usually does in my case, but really, missions are simply outreach. Remember the spreading God’s love part? You can do across the street, across the state or across the globe.
When we talk about missions, many of us think you must stop your normal life, take two weeks off and travel to a far off land and build something. I look at missions not so much as short-term or long-term but, full-time. To me mission outreach and I strive to do that every day no matter where I am because, again that is what we as Christians. One of the most relevant passages in the Bible me is the “Fruits of Spirit;’ Gal. 5.22. I believe that if you live with the fruits of the spirit every day, no matter where you are, you are on mission.

Missions Come in Many Forms

Missions take so many different forms. One of my local outreaches is Little League Sports or my outreach that I have through my restaurant, Soda Steve’s at Fin and Feather Resort. I have pictures of all of our missions, artifacts of missions, Christian and mission references all throughout the restaurant and our websites for Soda Steve’s.
I even got together with Henderson Coffee, and crafted a coffee blend for Soda Steve’s called “Soda Steve’s Mission Blend” We use this blend in both Soda Steve’s and we sell it retail as well. Each bag we sell retail, we deposit all the profit into the mission fund and not only that- here comes the outreach part- but everyone who reads the back label will hear my story about missions. Hopefully, they become curious and check out our websites about missions.

Visit our website at .OKVIM
even people who know nothing of VIM or Soda Steve’s will still be exposed to our mission vision. All these are examples of a long-term Commitment.

Jump in With Both Feet
To you, I say, go do it and stop waiting for someone to ask you to go on a mission, or expecting someone else to lead a mission. Stop waiting until you have enough time or enough money, because we will never have enough of any of these things. The people whom we serve in mission have even less!
So, call the Volunteers In Mission office, Jeremy Basset or me. Jump in with both feet and make it your short-term commitment to take at least one mission and then don’t look back. Your life and the lives of many others will be so much better for it.
And, in-case you were wondering, yes, I still have a warm, dry, comfortable bed at home in Gore. But, I can’t wait to get back to Vietnam. Go figure?
Steve Pool. owner of Soda Steve’s at the Fin and Feather Resort near Lake Tenkiller in Eastern Okl ahoma. has been on mission to Vietnam three times and participated in over seven missions total. Missions are a life-time commitment for Steve.

Visit Steve’s mission website using the web address shown below.