Monday, October 23, 2006

Lessons From A Short-Term Mission Trip

  1. Reality is shaped by vocabulary and vocabulary shapes reality. [In Ukraine, they don’t have words for ‘vision’ or ‘strategy.’ After years of communist dictatorship, they didn’t need one. In Italy, they don’t have a word for ‘accountability.’]
  2. Relationships are more important than meetings.
  3. In an environment where you can’t plan very well, who you are will be more important than how prepared you are. Your ministry comes from your life.
  4. The people you go with and the people you come home to are the ones who need to benefit from the experience the most.
  5. Human beings are the same everywhere.
  6. God is the same everywhere.
  7. Culture sets limits on our behavior. We will assume that what is cultural is godly, but that is not necessarily so.
  8. Every culture has its own besetting sins.
  9. A long-term missionary has to make it work. A short term missionary will go home soon. This leads to different approaches to the same problem.
  10. It is easy to fall in love with an experience. This is different from the call to be a missionary.
  11. Language matters. Use well the one you know.
  12. Their lives go on after you leave. Make them easier.
  13. Hosting short-term teams is hard work for missionaries.
  14. Come home and follow the same rules: Do whatever you are asked. Leave everywhere cleaner than you found it. No complaining.
  15. Flexibility.
If you have been on a short-term trip and have lessons you'd like to add, I'd be honored to read them in the comments. Thanks.

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