These thoughts have been rolling around in my mind for well over a month. They started when I received an email from someone who reads this blog wanting to know my thoughts.
Is short-term mission really worth it?
Do short-term teams and individuals really make a difference in the ministry?
Isn't better to just send the money?
She was confused. She has been on short-term mission experiences before and believes that God is calling her and her family to do it again. She had some correspondence from someone else here in Rwanda giving some negative feedback on short-term... What were my thoughts she asked?
WELL... time to get up on my little soapbox again :-)
There is so much to say about this, but in brief - maybe... :-)
- If short-term teams and individuals are prepared, orientated and hosted well... they are amazing opportunities.
- Hosts need to believe that short-term teams or individuals will and can impact the ongoing ministry in the location. If hosts feel like short-term is just something they should be doing and not something they are passionate about, of course they are going to feel like short-term takes too much time away from 'real' ministry and that they cost money AND they should NOT be hosting short-termers!
- How else does a long-term missionary have a chance to recruit other long-term workers? Best they come and see and give God the space to allow their passion to grow for a certain country or people group.
- Spend the money to come! Sure you could send us your $4000 and get a tax receipt but then what? That would most likely be it. If you come, I know we have gained an ambassador for the ministry here. We've gained prayer partners, financial partners because someone has come to minister alongside of us. We've gained lifelong friends.. not just us, but fellow Rwandans as well. This would not have happened if you had not come.
We are just coming out of summer where we hosted four interns and two short-term teams, over three months. All a bit wild and crazy for sure - we didn't sleep enough, spent more money than we had to live a bit more conveniently so we could function in sanity, we forgot to pick Prince from school more than once, we didn't have much family time... but oh, the benefits!
Our kids still pray for interns and individuals on teams that were here last year, they talk all the time about the new friends they made this summer, again we've had SO many email from this years 'batch' of short-termers of how their lives were changed because of their time with us... and how it continues to challenge them in their day to day life (gosh we're privileged that God entrusts us with his children!), but most of all... they loved on Rwandans, they gave more than what they thought they had and they learned from their brothers and sisters here.
SO... if anyone out there is thinking that all this short-term stuff just isn't worth it... just give me a few minutes of your time.
I'll tell you what has been my experience for over 15 years .... lives changed! lives transformed! lives being lived with a greater sense of the world that God has created.
What more could you want!?