Below is a letter from a Pastor in Africa who is reflecting on his perspective of short term missionaries. Pastor David is the founder of Father’s Divine Love Ministries in Jinga, Uganda. His perspective is invaluable and underscores the value that short term mission trips bring in not only sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the whole world, but in active obedience to the Word of God when we as disciples are commanded to “go ye” and “visit the fatherless and widows in their distress”. We hope that this will be an encouragement to each one who reads!
I’m reminded of a disciple who thought pouring precious oil on the Lord was a waste since they could have sold the oil and given the money to the poor; and what did Christ think about that?
Even if you raised a billion dollars and gave it to the faithful pastors in Africa and elsewhere, there would still be greater need than before. Even Jesus, the most accomplished, the only incarnate missionary to ever grace the earth's surface still left need after his 33 years here. Therefore, no amount of money sent to us can equal what the Lord accomplishes in the heart of the missionary himself within those 2 weeks called "short term mission trips." They are only short term to your earthly eyes because you are governed by time, but to the Lord, before whom time bows, 2 weeks are plenty for him to change the life of that missionary. We all must remember that in most cases, the missionary is more changed and impacted than the African to whom they come to reach out.
I have been hosting short term missionaries for 9 years now and I have had the amazing privilege of seeing their lives changed over the years as we continue to relate and partner in missions. When a missionary comes over, and I recommend short term because we don't really have a need for long term American missionaries in the first place, they get a first time on ground experience, capture the vision of the work being done, and assess the methodology and the integrity of the vision. They then return to America stronger advocates who have had a real life experience with the work they advocate for. They also return home more grateful and with a different view of life especially pertaining the consumerism that is a cancer to many parts of the world. I have visited America 7 times over the last years visiting for an average of 2 months each time; but have not impacted American lives the way their trips here have.
An African visiting America doesn't guarantee bringing Africa to America. One way Africa disciples America is by providing a great mission field and rich missionary experiences. Let short term missionaries come, see the work, receive the vision, form partnerships, go home and become active advocates to raise the much needed resources. Such a trip might cost roughly $4,000 dollars; the life change however is priceless and the result could be a lifelong partnership that goes on to touch millions.
Give me a thousand short term missionaries, God will touch their lives here and they will be better disciples when they get back to America.
-Pastor David L. Zijjan
If you would like to visit Uganda and Pastor David we have a trip to Uganda scheduled for this coming December 27 through January 8. You can read more about the trip and sign up here.