Yeah, me too. Big-time. And I’ve been on a couple…
Do you REALLY wanna get me started? 😉
Sure, start. Please.
When I became a Christian as an undergraduate, at the Christian Union every May or June there would be the Missions Fair- full of short-term summer overseas mission opportunities, and a strong emphasis on the “ends of the earth” part of the end of Matthew’s Gospel, i.e. you’re a Christian, you’re a student, you do an overseas short-term mission in the summer vacation. So, I felt gulit-tripped in going on a Love Europe team to Sweden.
On that, you quickly get used to the seminars beforehand being bilingual- although one of the translators was left open-mouthed at trying to translate a comment that as evangelicals, we can often be so lifeless and uncommitted that we should be called “evan-jellyfish”, into Swedish.
But what I found important about something cross-cultural (a place so foreign that young people actually speak English clearly and accurately, so that “wha’ever” is pronounced “whatever” etc.) is that it should mean that one looks at one’s own culture and background from a different perspective.
You start to question how much of what you believe is Christian and how much is simply culture. This is reinforced by intentionally ensuring that several nationalities are represented in one team.
What would be wrong would be a team from one country rushing in and saying “we’ve got it correct in our country, and these are the changes you need to make to be like us.”
Our local deanery (a collection of about 20 churches) has built up links with a group of churches in Uganda. We do send out groups most years, but the point is that these are not hit-and-run trips, but part of a long-term fellowship.
That seems a far better approach than a lot of short-term trips that we Yanks seem to like to take. I really like that idea of a long-term relationship/fellowship.
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