Calvin College sociologist Kurt Ver Beek surveyed U.S. missionaries who built homes in Honduras after Hurricane Mitch in 1998. After coming down from a post-trip "high," the short-termers did not evince much change in their lives. Only 16% reported "significant positive impact," including in prayer, friendships and financial giving. Then Mr. Ver Beek surveyed those whose homes were rebuilt by missionaries and those whose homes were rebuilt by local nongovernmental organizations. He found that there was "little or no difference" in the spiritual response of the beneficiaries.The business case says this:
Indeed, if you were to ask an economist about short-term missions, many of which involve such manual-labor projects, he would have a simple answer: Ditch the traveling team members and send a check. A career missionary knows better what manual labor needs to be done on-site, and he can hire local laborers for much less money than what flying in unskilled Americans requires. Using local labor contributes to the local economy and avoids perpetuating a culture of dependency and powerlessness. A career missionary is also fluent in the local language and culturally aware, so he can be more effective at evangelism, discipleship and social-justice ministries.Anyone ever been on a trip like this? Do you agree?