The Very American 'Mission Project'
This year 2 million Americans will go on a “short term mission trip." That's when church groups go to poor places and do two things: Give money and build stuff. Missionaries spend about $2k per person to travel. The entire industry spends over $3 billion every year on travel alone. Most trips are between 3 and 30 days. One group built three churches in less than three days.
And you thought Trump was a builder?!
Another group, Operation Mobilisation, promises this on a ten day mission trip to Egypt:
The love and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ will be dispersed through aid and relief actions to Nuba Sudanese Refuges in Cairo. Their quality of life will be improved and dignity restored. Hope, transformation and healing will be found in the Lord Jesus while connecting with the local church.
Really? The restoration of dignity in ten days? Don't most dignity restoration projects take at least two-weeks?
I don't buy it. Leaving monuments after a three day visit looks like misdirected penance born of first world guilt -- or worse, hubris the size of a Cadillac.
But it’s not all bad either -- kind of.
I remember the glowing face of a little lady with whom I flew back from Guatemala not long ago. She couldn’t believe how “alive” she felt.
“It was incredible,” she told me.
She was overflowing. I felt good for her in the same way I feel good for my daughters when they come back from a really great movie. “Papa, it was incredible,” they tell me.
“Was it worth it?” I asked the lady.
“It was worth every penny to me.”
Help us make the suffering poor more than a movie in the minds of Americans. Help us send American entrepreneurs to build long term relationships and sustainable projects in the world’s poorest neighborhoods. #stopaidstartpeople