And also a comment from my FB page, which seems worth sharing here as he has some good points: "I prepare and lead a lot of short term teams. We always go under the authority of a long term missionary and submit to their leadership. We will continue to financial support them and help them as needed through in extra needs during this time. As far as the ministry to those we take it could be a missed opportunity for some but those that truly have a calling and heart for it will go later. If it was a Joshua journey to seek the Lord for long term service they may be delayed but they will still go. My opinion anyway."

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I wanted to share a comment from a message, with permission, a good though. Some are good, some are deep problematic. One of the main problems being: "The what is it in for me culture, so prevalent in the church today (not just the US) has affected so many facets of how we live our lives as followers of Christ - the Short Term Trip culture is NO different...We have to recalibrate."

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May 30, 2020Liked by Do Good Better

Here are my initial thoughts after reading the articles you linked:

- Cancelled Mission Trips Expected to Have Long Term Fallout: I love the innovative ideas of virtual prayer walks through Google Maps, and of sharing the gospel with students at international universities through social media. Especially worrying is the potential long-term financial impact for missions, especially in light of the statistic mentioned in this article that overall financial giving to Christian causes is substantially higher among mission trip participants.

- Should You Cancel Your Short-Term Mission Trips This Summer?: I love the quote: "Organizations that will survive and thrive are those that make great decisions today and innovative decisions towards the future." I think this is a really wise reminder for not only missions organizations but also individuals to keep a long-term perspective in balance with the short-term when considering the pros and cons of travel, both for ourselves and the people we have been hoping to serve or visit through that potential travel.  I also really liked the point made about how love of neighbor should be one of the factors considered when weighing potential travel - knowing that people can be carriers of the virus while being asymptomatic, wanting to make sure that travel won’t result in spreading of the virus. Also, I love the shepherding process this author describes of helping the participants of the cancelled trips to mourn the loss, trust God, and look forward, including creating a vision for future trips and engaging in reflection.  Finally, what a wise and powerful reminder that: "God is in control. He will accomplish bringing His glory to the nations without our short-term trips. This is an opportunity for us to trust Him to accomplish that which can only be done through the power of His Spirit.".

- Witnessing in Place: Such great wisdom and reassurance in this quote: “Our greatest work is still ours every day—the work of prayer,” said SIM international director Joshua Bogunjoko in a letter to workers. “Prayer knows no boundary, no quarantine, no confinement.”

- Subversive Mobilization: After the Trip Is Canceled: I agree with your thought that the ideas given for spending unused mission funds are pretty weak (though I am not coming up with any really great alternatives off the top of my head!). From those the author offered, my favorite is dividing the finds among the long-term workers you support.

- Coronavirus FAQs: How Risky Is It To Fly? Is There Any Way To Reduce The Risks?: In this article I was especially happy to learn how effective cabin air filters are.

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As someone who has had to work through a lot of grief and loss (mostly of the occasional moments of adrenaline and glamour) of NOT living overseas as I always thought I would be at this point in my life, it CAN be the best (and most humbling) thing for us to learn to live and love the exact same people from those nations we would go to short term, HERE.

It is not necessarily instinctively harder per se, on the daily life aspect, and yet it is incredibly more challenging to stick with it, to commit, to love and entirely immerse yourself into another culture within our own. It somehow has the mirage of being exciting and 'rewarding' to love refugees, and yet, just like a short term trip that turns into a life overseas, the shine wears off fast. But, this is where my heart has been cracked open and exposed to its very core, in the very question of, "Do I actually love these people enough that I can be the cross cultural oddball in my own country so that they may know the love of Christ in some way, or rather do I have this urge, or addiction to the adrenaline and excitement and challenge of living overseas?"

Its a constant wrestle in my soul, of if I can actually actually love those who are desperate for jobs, and whose husbands back home might divorce them if they dont find one tomorrow, those who can't learn English and are balancing homeschooling kids now, and those who have come here for the American dream to die on the shores of a nation they think represents Jesus. Going is so so necessary, and yet as more and more from the nations that have never heard come here, I am so challenged of my bitter attitudes towards the often very low pedestal in comparison to being overseas that I am placed on. And yet, it has been the most healing and humbling thing for my soul.

IF those short termers that were planning to go, could rather seek out the unreached here, especially during this intense time of isolation where our culture is a little TOO good at isolating, I think we would open up a whole new wave of people really and truly pouring themselves into the marginalized here. Not just saying, "Oh I can't move overseas because there are problems here" and not doing anything, but really and truly having their hearts shattered for a people that live next door and yet have such such different lives that we just can't quite imagine pushing into. Because in all honesty, it takes a bit of pushing for the walls to come down and the door to open :)

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Could this be a good thing? Could this finally force the western church to think differently about money, their role abroad, the strength of local churches, and to be creative in engaging in their own neighborhoods? I dare say the answer is yes, but that is not explored in this essay.

I think we dont rethink things unless we are forced to. As stressful as this time is, that seems to be a positive to me. Time to rethink.

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This seems like another one of those issues where we are tempted to polarize and put it into extreme categories across the board. I think part of the answer depends on the type/motivation/action/purpose/good v. harm, etc of the missions trip as to whether it would be a good thing it's cancelled or not. If the trip is an ultimately selfish, ethnocentric-savior (b/c any person can have a "savior" mentality), doing-more-harm-than-good sort of trip, I rejoice it's cancelled. I hope those communities who are not having teams flock in can find a way to pull together and rely on one another in a fresh way now that mission groups aren't in their space. I hope their economies can march on without missions-tourism. (possible downside of cancelling trips?? Less money spent at the destinations??) BUT, if the trip is a mutually desired, mutually beneficial one, then there's a great loss in its cancellation. For example, our church has reciprocal, sweet, longstanding relationships with other local churches around the globe - we work to train each other, to give input together, to meet one another's needs. We go there, and they come here. It's a loss to both sides that these can't happen now. I doubt that is unique to our church.

I wonder if there is any redeeming factor in the realization that we are all connected around the globe. For better or worse, we do need each other. I wish we had perfect "need relationships" with other countries/villages/nationalities/organizations... and I only WISH that because it's far from the reality of things. But is there anything good or beautiful that comes from feeling the loss of missing out on seeing people and having experiences in other countries? On the Church feeling a loss because we cannot connect with our global partners?

My limited perspective makes me nervous to post this... I'm certain I am missing SO much. But hey, hence this being a discussion place. :)

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