Here is a link to a recent USA Today article. I guess in my anti-news bias I clearly hear the digs against missions, instead of a clear message of what good kingdom work is being done.
However, I will agree that all short-term missions require good managment and training. As someone who has gone to the same area repeatedly, I would hate to find you are servicing the same needs over and over again and ignoring others. Or as stated in the article, you are “saving” the same kids many times. So we as stewards need to know the area we are going to, to the best of our ability. We also need to find good organizations which are truly following God and seeking His will and finding all the needs, not just the easy or the greatest reward for us.
2 thoughts on “Short-term Missions”
I’ve also heard negative reports of short-term missions. Some extensive research has been done on folks who’ve gone on mission trips, and in several categories, including giving and serving, not much has changed after a short while.
In my own case, short-term trips have been life-changing experiences. I’m not sure what the difference is between the folks in the survey and me.
Regarding “saving” the kids all over again, don’t we do this every year in our own VBS? 🙂
We used to do a “bus ministry” in New Mexico among the indigent Mexican population. We’d pick kids up each week, often the only English speakers in the home. One week they weren’t there because they were at a Confirmation ceremony for one of the kids we’d been taking to church.
Apparently, they also went to Mass, and sometimes to another church, depending on who was giving away what, and who’d come pick them up.
While I didn’t begrudge the opportunity to work with them, looking back on it, it wasn’t the most effective way.
When we sent out letters asking for $ for a recent trip, a letter to my cousin must have literally crossed in the mail with her letter asking us for $ for her trip. This seems like a situation where some oversight would help.
It does seem to me that the chance for misunderstanding and difficulty in measuring results grows when you leave the States. That, of course, does not diminish the need. It just requires more foresight in how to best address it.