Short Term mission work among unreached peoples
EXPLORE: SHORT-TERM MINISTRY WITH LONG-TERM IMPACT
Unique Vision: we only work among unreached peoples, i.e. those people groups without a viable, local church movement that reflects their own culture.
Unique Approach: we mobilize by sending missionary survey teams to do relationship-based research among unreached peoples, then publish the information in prayer guides, slide and video presentations, and cultural profiles designed to involve the Church around the world in world evangelization.
Unique Goals: our ministry focuses on mobilization, that is, awakening God's people and equipping them to fulfill the Great Commission.
EXPLORE '96 is a nine-week project: 10 days of intensive training in missiology, ethnography, teamwork and mobilization; 40 days overseas; 15 days of debrief and resource production.
Consider investing your summer by serving God with us as part of EXPLORE '96. For a brochure, contact: Internet: email@example.com Caleb Project, Attn: EXPLORE '96, 10 West Dry Creek Circle Littleton, CO 80110 USA Ph:1-303-730-4170 (Fax: 4177)
UNREACHED-focused SHORT TERMS
From Wade.Harlan@WCIU.EDU I believe that one of the key reasons that 90% of U.S. missionaries are going to the reached parts of the world is related to the small number of short-term trips among the unreached. The place people first taste the joys of cross-cultural ministry often is the country or people group that they go back to long-term. It is imperative that we create and promote more short-terms among the unreached.
I was amazed recently at how many Perspectives students armed with a keen understanding of the priority of the unreached still end up going on short-terms to reached places. Again, I think this is attributable to the lack of short term opportunities among the unreached. Short-term trips in the reached part of the world are so common because:
1) Many reached places (like Central and South America) are geographically closer and therefore the airfare is cheaper.
Its much less hassle to get visas to reached countries.
3) There is religious freedom and plenty of churches and missionaries in reached places and this makes it much easier to plan and carry out traditional short-term activities like VBS and evangelism. Anyone who has attempted it knows it is definitely more difficult to organize a short-term trip in the unreached part of the world - BUT, THE DIVIDENDS ARE WORTH IT AND IT IS ESSENTIAL IF WE ARE TO SEE MORE LABORERS GO TO THE UNREACED.
There are other potential remedies to the whole short-term reached/ unreached dilemma.
1) There are plenty of unreached peoples located in geographically close countries such as Indian tribes in Canada, the US, Central and Latin America. Many of these geographically close countries are easy to get visa+s for. Also, the potential opportunities for ministry among International s tudents and immigrants in urban U.S. are endless.
2) We must +redeem+ short-term trips to the reached that our churches or others sponsor by taking the time to educate participants of the state of the world and the needs of the unreached. I recently had the opportunity to join a group of students from a Christian college on a spring break outreach near Tijuana, Mexico. I was asked along to do some teaching on cultural differences, but also had opportunities to speak on unreached peoples. Though the trip was in a very reached area, students still were able to catch a vision for missions and the unreached.
Finally with regard to short-terms I'd like to stimulate your thinking with regard to a unique short-term trip that I coordinated last summer. I took a handful of students to an unreached Nahuatl Indian village in central Mexico for 4 weeks. We worked directly with a missionary couple that had been working among unreached Indians in Mexico for 12 years. Each morning we had two hours of class led by myself or the veteran missionary. We used the +World Mission+ workbooks edited by Jonathan Lewis as our texts. These manuals are basically a condensed version of the Perspectives course. In a four week trip the material can be divided so that students only needed to read about 20 pages a day (60-80 minutes of reading time). After class in the morning we went out in the village to practice learning the language using the LAMP method. We also spent a few afternoons doing service projects. In the evenings students would spend time with the national families they were living with and also complete their reading and workbook assignments for the next day. The students were deeply impacted by this trip. They not only were given an excellent overall exposure to key mission concepts through the readings and classes, but got to hear, see and personally experience how these concepts are fleshed out in real life situations. So often in America we gravitate to the educational model of taking a class to learn about some concept and then at some later date we try to apply it. Especially in the missions arena we need to return the Jesus model of integrating the teaching and the doing. We also have discovered the need to continually take time during a short-term trip to discuss basic Christian discipleship issues. Rather than seeing the short-term as an opportunity for the participants to merely give and serve, I believe that the focus should first and foremost be to give them vision for pioneer missions and equip them with the foundational spiritual vitality, and practical skills and knowledge necessary for them to be effective.
In summary, as mission mobilizers I believe it is imperative that we
1)create more short-term opportunities among the unreached
2) influence leaders of short-term opportunites among the reached to educate/expose students to the needs of the unreached part of the world
3) insure that short-term trips among the unreached don't just provide an interesting experience or exposure, but inspire informed vision and equip the participants for long-term involvement among the unreached.