We have had it said to us, "Why take work teams on overseas missions? People could just send a contribution to the project instead of spending all of that money on air fare." A statement such as this misses several key elements of what a short term mission trip is all about.
Money extended to help with the construction of a project, to feed hungry children or provide medical services is a great blessing to the recipients. But those on the receiving end of charitable giving often need a hand up rather than just a hand out. One work team member put it this way, "I cannot send a hand extended in friendship or a hug to reinforce that friendship." The life time friendships that are formed as team members interact with the people of the culture are a key element of a short term mission trip. Those involved discover the unity that can be found within the body of Christ that spans oceans and continents.
Another key element of a short term mission trip is the change that is wrought in people's hearts which cannot happen on one's home shore. The introduction to poverty in a third world country has a profound effect on first time travelers. People return home with a different perspective on their own lives and a resolve to be a part of helping those who are living in the dire circumstances that they witnessed first hand. In addition to creating in people a sense of global responsibility, there is often a change that happens on a very personal, spiritual level. Being lifted out of one's environment and comfort zone and dropped into the middle of a different country and unfamiliar culture creates a vulnerability that allows God to do amazing things. We see people soften and open up, feeling safe to share from the depths of their hearts as they experience the intimacy of a team traveling, living and working together. Tears flow more easily, expressions of affection come more readily, prayers are offered more genuinely. Being removed for a short time from American culture and all that consumes them in their busy lives to the slower pace of another culture provides time for reflection, time for spiritual renewal, time for relationships.
People join a work team in response to a call on their hearts to serve and bring a blessing to others. But, more often than not, they find that, in the end, they are the ones who have been blessed.
Work team photos from construction phase of the Rehoboth Children's Home 2001
Work team photos from playground build 2006
Work team photos of Security Wall Repairs, March of 2010
January 15 - February 4, 2011. An Advance Work Team Lays A Firm Foundation For Others To Build Upon!
January 12th through the 26th, 2012, The Winter Thaw Team traveled to the Philippines and broke ground on the 3 BR. Missionary Cottage project.
Bonnie's Heart Baby Home Construction begins in March of 2012. Natalie Burgard breaks ground with the first shovel full on an infant and toddler home for 24 children in memory of her mom, Bonnie Burgard. Home compteted and placed into service March of 2016.