Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Where Did The Short Term Missionaries Go?

As its been on a lot of our minds lately, I have also been wondering why this summer our number of participants didn't meet our projections. The estimated number is that we are going to be 10% below our projections. Now on one hand, that doesn't sound like much, but in real numbers we are talking about some 1,000 fewer participants than expected. That translates into 50 few homes being built this summer for some very need families. Its this revelation that hurts the most.

So what did happen this summer? We have had a lot of discussions about this lately. The answers range everything from a normal three year grow cycle that Amor goes through, to concerns about the upcoming passport requirements, and even to the effects of the immigration issues being in the news all the time. Lone Tree Director, Tim Worrel, recently commented to me that its even possible that larger churches are taking a more active role in organizing their own mission trips to facilitate projects that they have more control over.

I would like to add my own thoughts in this regard considering a recent article in USA Today. The article estimates that well over 500,000 faith based volunteers have participated in the Hurricane Katria recovery. " Most donate a week or two to the recovery", the article went on to say. Now, at the height of volunteer season, one supervisor is overseeing nearly 1,000 volunteers a week. The past two years have mostly been spent just gutting homes, stripping off materials from the walls right down to the studs.

This kind of short term mission endeavor has never been seen in the United States before. It has been a time when our "neighbors" were right in our very own yard, right here at home. Considering the staggering effects of this hurricane, it brings a great deal of appreciation to the fact that our fellow servants remember that its not whether you serve overseas or in your own US backyard.....its not one or the other....we still must do both. Thank goodness for the faithful servants who flew and drove to the hurricane devastated regions to face heat, humidity, mosquitos, lack of electricity, lack of privacy, and basically extremely unsanitary conditions. Thanks also to those who have traveled across familiar borders, to destinations far beyond the comforts they left behind.

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