Why Short-Term Missions Need to be Round Trip

No mission worth taking is really "short-term."

A few years ago I was in a church service where a team of energetic college students and young adults was reporting back on their short-term international mission trip. Like most such groups, they had plenty of daunting cross-cultural experiences to report. "The food was so spicy," one wide-eyed young woman said, drawing laughter from the congregation. "It was terribly hot and humid—we had such a hard time getting to sleep," another team member said. Amid much hilarity, the team leader described their consternation when they arrived at a remote village only to discover that the Christians from the surrounding area were expecting them to lead a worship service, preach, and teach—on the spot.

They had been stretched, they said, way beyond their "comfort zones." They had also returned full of praise for God and love for one another and the new brothers and sisters they had met. "We received so much more than we gave," one team member said.

All wonderful, true sentiments that I had ...

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