Monday, July 07, 2008

An Interesting Analysis of Missions

http://www.getreligion.org/?p=3683

An interesting analysis of the trend in Missions for short term lay missions over long term missionaries that go into countries and stay there, ministering to those who are there teaching the gospel and learning from those who are there. The trend is all over Christianity, not just in the LCMS.

Also missing...pastors who can provide long term Word and Sacrament ministry to those who are being born in Christ, who can raise up these Christians in pure doctrine, and help to train future leaders in the churches he plants and sustains.

Don't get me wrong. I am all for short term missions such as what Friends of Mercy hosts (and I also encourage you to contribute to them if you want to be assured that what you donate WILL actually make it to fund missions in the near future. They separate from the LCMS, and doctrinally solid as well).

My husband has been on a few short term missions, and it is still near and dear to our hearts. But short term missions work best when the people who are coming over to help with projects, etc. are there to encourage the missionaries who are there serving long term. They encourage them by their presence; they remind them that there are people back home who are praying for them and thinking about them, when it is such a temptation to feel alone; they give them contact with the familiar; and they help with work that desperately needs done. There is so much that can be done, both in the sharing of the gospel and in the social work aspect as well. God bless those who do contribute funds and time to go help those who are needy. God also grant that we have a better atmosphere for sending long-term missionaries out into the field to share Christ with the world as well.

4 comments:

Thursday's Child said...

Amen! I don't konw what would happen without long-term missionaries. You must check out http://jungle-hut.blogspot.com. They were missionaries in Venezuela for years until they were kicked out by Chavez's government. She posts many stories about their life there and their work. You'll love it!

Anna said...

I've been on two short term mission trips. I can honestly say that because I didn't speak the language, I could not really share the Gospel with the people there through words. We could only show it through our actions and get them interested in coming back to the host church there where they could hear the Gospel. How effective was it? We don't know.

It is my sincere hope that someone with a heart for long-term missions gets in the political structure of the LCMS and turns things around...

elephantschild said...

YES, yes, yes!

It is the long-term missionaries who build relationships, who advise the local churches, who are there long enough TO TRANSLATE THE BIBLE. Wycliffe estimates about 200 MILLION people do not have the Word in a language they can read!

BUT in order for families to be overseas long term (more than 2 yrs) they need help & support & encouragement. Short-termers are absolutely critical to that, AND they can hand-carry equipment, medications, and computers that are impossible or too costly to ship. They can provide nursing and medical care, teach the children of missionaries for a time so that husbands and wives can reconnect, any number of other things.

Missionary work is so VERY much more than teaching VBS to little African children!

elephantschild said...

Ok, after reading up a bit, I think that I'm thinking of "short term" missionaries as those who come for a month or two at a time. That's what I'm familiar with - I grew up as a long-term missionary kid.

I'm NOT thinking of those masses of teen-aged or college-aged kids spending thousands of dollars to travel and "do good" to some poor, barefoot Third World munchkins. I think that's an entirely different issue.