I have read and talked about short term mission trips with lots of people and it seems the view towards short term missions is becoming more and more negative.
Some quotes I have heard
'Its a waste of money, why not just send the money instead'
'Its an excuse for people to go on holiday but get someone else to pay for it'
'It ruins a lot of work that long term missionaries have worked hard to achieve'
And yes sometimes these statements are true but do we then stop short term mission trips altogether? Maybe what we need to do is look at the way we are doing mission trips.
I think short term missions are really important for a number of different reasons :
- Encouragement for long term missionaries.......many missionaries are burnt out, tired, discouraged and homesick (you probably won't get this from their prayer letters). For a team to come alongside them, help them in their work and encourage them is great.
- Encouragement for national Christians.......how amazing to know people from miles and miles away came to your country, to help your people, to pray for your people, people that they don't know and have never met before.
- For the change in people's lives when they return home, that person may decide to support a project or a missionary long term, maybe they will be better with their money and time and give more. They will be motivated and better equipped to pray more, to share with their family & friends who in turn may do the same thing.
- God often uses short term missions to call people into long term missions.
- Money doesn't solve all the problems or do all the work........sometimes it takes people and sometimes its takes people who are only there for two weeks.