Dilettante Missionaries... Click the title for an interesting (and challenging) take on short term missions. I don't think he's sayign that all short term missionaries are useless, but a lot of folks do treat it as a mini-vacation.
¶ 11:55 AM
That's a nice little article, and it makes me think extensively about my friends who are travelling around the world not just as missionaries, but as engineers, and doctors as well with no interest in spreading the Gospel as it were.
The lot of them (and they are long-term) make me so proud to be a human, and I wish almost daily that I could be out there joining them. In fact, were it not for my sizeable debt, I would. Damn college.
There are cases when even short-term stays are important through, especially when considering things like the hurricanes here in the US or the tsunami last Christmastime. Were it not for short-term volunteers, the long-term volunteer effort would have never gotten off the ground, and I'm sure the majority of those who went certainly didn't feel it was any kind of vacation, subsisting on rice cooked in sea water, or spending 10 hours a day tearing up rotting homes.
Short term disaster relief folks are helpful no doubt, but longer term volunteers backed by "folks at home" are probably more economically effective. And sometimes just sending money is what's needed.
I went on a quick bounce trip to Biloxi after Katrina to deliver supplies and in addition to see what things were like "on the ground" so that our churchcould make decisions as to where we could best help. I think that was worth it.
I think it would have been better if we had stayed longer. One of the points that the Pyro made was that the whole short term mission thing tends to be rather expensive. Since we drove down and our expenses were pretty minimal the ROI was good and would have only gotten better with time. Cheap labor isn't an option like in third world countries and we would be volunteer labor only requiring bed and board. In my case it would have only been expensive because I would have lost pay from my day job so I would have had to come back sooner rather than later. Short term domestic missions are great.