Summer is almost over. The thought of short-term mission will soon be put away as Americans turn to back to school sales, football, turkey and Christmas shopping.
And yet, the ministry goes on!
As people across America turn to other pursuits, those they have served the last few months will still be on the front lines of their mission, doing what they believe God has called them to.
For me and AIL Ministry, that means raising the funds necessary to help our partners in Mexico reach their ministry dreams. Day camps, overnight camps in both Ensenada and Oaxaca, outreach in Guadalajara, a solar well in Oaxaca, fish farms, personal greenhouses... the list goes on.
For our partners, that means back to the day to day grind of ministry. The kind of things that don’t lend themselves well to big pictures. Smaller Sunday services because there are no gringos. Bible studies for 5 or 6 people. Little outside help for the worship teams and few visitors to break up the monotony of ministry.
In short, it is back to life.
I’ve always said that one of the weaknesses of short-term mission is that they are, by definition, short. But they do not have to be. We could make a decision to intentionally live differently and continue to impact those with whom we served for that one or two week stretch sometime over the last few months.
Think about it.
What if, as a result of your time in Mexico, China, India or where ever else you served, you made a concrete commitment to pray regularly for that country and her people? How about instead of a huge Thanksgiving meal, complete with turkey and all the trimmings, you and your family decided to eschew the gluttony of that weekend here in the US and made a few meals like what you had while on mission? Maybe that means a meal of just rice, or tortillas and beans, while thanking God for giving you that mission experience.
One person I know set up an account so he could help a pastor he knows get some books he needed. That pastor mentioned to me the other day how much that meant to him. I think it cost less than $20.00.
Even baby steps like these can help keep your mind focused outside of your bubble and more inclined to the people you connected with over the summer.
As short-term people, while our travels and ministries over there end, or are put on hold, our connection with people does not, and should not, have to come to an end... even if we never return.
We can, and should, continue to stay connected, and it has never been easier.
Yes, short-term missions are short, but they do not have to be. All you have to do is make a decision to stay connected to the people just a few weeks ago said changed your life.
Will you do it?