Short-term Trips Matter

Short-term Trips Matter

Short-term Trips Matter

Jesus trained many disciples! And twice during his ministry in Galilee, he sent them out, two by two. At first, Jesus gathered twelve men and taught them. They watched him preach, teach, heal the lepers, cast out demons, and raise the dead. Then, it was their turn to go out and do the same thing! Twelve men going out two-by-two formed six teams. (Luke 9:1-6) Imagine having two strangers come to your village and, before the end of the day, find your lame servant has been healed. For the people living in that home, and for us today, short-term trips matter!

Within a year or perhaps a little more, the number of people learning from Jesus grew substantially. No longer were they simply The Twelve. Again, Jesus sent his followers to the villages. There were 72 others this time, which means another 35 teams going from village to village. (Luke 10:1-20) This indicates the number of disciples grew dramatically. 

I love the incredibly dynamic conversation between Jesus and these 72 disciples after they came bouncing back. “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name!” Jesus corrected their enthusiasm. Full of joy through the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” (Luke 10:17-22) 

Short-Term trips. In the New Testament, we find a distinct progression in missionary work. In the Gospels, we have Jesus sending out his disciples twice. Coming to the Book of Acts, we see the apostles gradually going further. The missionary work we now consider standard in organizations such as LAM is primarily based on the life of Saint Paul. He made four well-known journeys. 

Men and women make many journeys, sent from their home churches for two or three weeks. Sometimes, a person takes a whole year to learn Spanish, Latin American culture, and life in local churches. I’m all in favor of this kind of participation. Short-term trips matter. 

This month in the LAM Newsletter, we focus on short-term ministries in five countries. Rommel Raudales takes us to his prison ministry in Nicaragua. Allan Holt describes the creative work by a group of men completed at a camp in the Dominican Republic. Lillian Solt helps us appreciate how valuable short-term teams are for impoverished families in Costa Rica. Joao Quadra, a Brazilian missionary, is planning several trips to Indigenous groups in the Amazon this year. Jullie Noble, who lives in Oruro, Bolivia, describes a difficult day for her and a new short termer as they try to get around a city blocked by bus drivers on strike for higher incomes. 

   By David Phillips