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Value Of Short Term Mission Trips

November 29, 2005

Some question the value of “short term” mission projects. I would be the first to admit the limitations of being in an area for only a matter of a few weeks. I would also say that it is not the ideal way to do missions. Having done both, I would always rather encourage long term as opposed to short term. But at the same time I would encourage short term missions.

Back in 1970 I traveled to Ghana West Africa for a period of six weeks. At that time the government of Ghana was very pro American and respected our reputation as a “Christian Nation”. Charles Scott had received an invitation for ministers to come to Ghana and teach Bible in the Secondary School system in Ghana. We would be allowed to teach daily classes in Bible to the entire student body. What a golden opportunity!

Some questioned the value of these trips based upon the age of the students, mostly teenagers, and that the teaching would be for such a short time period. While there may have been some validity to their concerns, there were not enough missionaries to meet the need, so short term campaigns were launched.

In 1970 I was assigned to teach in a secondary school in the city of Winneba, near Tema Ghana. I was their for a week, and taught classes daily. There were two students that showed a lot of interested, ask lots of questions and also made themselves available for personal study time with me. At the end of the week these two students obeyed the Gospel and began the church in Winneba.

Now flash forward thirty-six years. What happened to the two students? Well one worshipped for a period time in Accra, Ghana and then made his way to the USA and has not been heard of since. Not sounding too good for short term missions.

I received a letter from the other student a few weeks back. Let me bring you up to date. George Amusai began teaching others in Winneba and a church was established with the help of the Tema congregation, a brand new year old church itself. George went to medical school and became a doctor. He is now 54 years of age, married with three children. They are all Christians. George is a practicing physician and an Elder for the church in Tema. He tells me that the church in Winneba is now large and has established a number of other congregations in the area.

I am told that the churches of Christ are the fastest growing group in Ghana. There are many other factors that contribute to this, not the least of which is a preacher training school in Kumasi. But the work in Ghana was jump started by a series of yearly short term mission efforts just like the one I have described.

(Picture one from left to right. Grady Partin, Godfrey, George and myself) (Picture two: John Boa, our translator for street preaching, prepares to baptize George.)

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