"We will never forget you!" These words reverberate in the hearts of sisters and brothers in Christ around the world from Brazil and Bolivia, to Thailand, D.R. Congo, and Bulgaria, then back to Phoenix, Westfield, Cincinnati, San Juan and Portland.
Each short-term mission (STM) team goes out with a desire to bless and encourage, certainly not to harm or offend. However, the sad truth is that teams that arrive in their host country with little or no cross-cultural ministry preparation may inadvertently create dependency, and they can even destroy relationships that will take years to restore. How can your STM team become a channel of blessing instead of confusion and animosity?
Well-prepared STM teams can be living bridges of understanding, compassion and love between different parts of the Body of Christ. God wants to use STM experiences to teach team members as well as their hosts about God's grace, provision, protection and faithfulness. How can you learn to walk with God and one another on the journey with your hosts, your home church and with each team member?
STM teams have the potential to make a real difference, whether in a remote rural community in Rwanda, a neighborhood in Bulgaria or a women's shelter in Mexico. At the same time, the lessons the team learns from their host country sisters and brothers will help them to reach out in creative, powerful ways back at home, bringing fresh meaning to Phil. 1:3: "I thank my God every time I remember you."