Thursday, June 26, 2014

Loving those short-termers

It was with great trepidation that I entered into this summer. 6 short-term teams in less than 3 weeks? What crazy person scheduled that?? (ok, it was partly my own fault, but don't tell anyone I admitted it).

And believe me, it was exhausting. I swear it has been 2 weeks since I've seen my house for anything other than flopping into bed with dirty feet and sweaty hair and waking up to fight the roommates for the shower. Its been an adventure.

I know that plenty of missionaries have things to say about short-term teams (and not all of them are positive). So as a "long-term" missionary working with "short-term" missionaries, I have had my fair share of opinions. But as these 2.5 weeks end, I have come to a conclusion. Are you ready for it?

When done the right way, and with the right attitudes, short-term missions are fantastic. I'll even go ahead and say it. . . I love short-term mission teams. That's right. Gasp, throw out an "I told you so" or an "Are you kidding me!?" and get the shock out of your system. Got it? Ok good, let's move on.

These past 2.5 weeks have been incredible because each team has had different gifts and talents that could fulfill a different need that we hadn't even planned into our well-thought out schedules. Teams show up and
They end up playing basketball with guys from the community every single night.
They end up organizing, painting, and restructuring our back offices and storage spaces.
They clean the Kennel more than it has ever been cleaned before.
They build picnic tables, fix speaker systems and bug problems, build outdoor games and become the team with the life-saving handy-man.
They love kids, teenagers, and community members.
They embrace learning. And they provide laughter. And they embrace adventure.

And time with them, though exhausting, has been completely life-giving. They have done what I believe all short-term teams should do. They have supported us, helped our ministry in lasting ways, built relationships, and really changed life for the better for those of us who stay long-term. They have encouraged us, enriched our lives, and become advocates for this place and this ministry.

So I sit here in my newly organized and painted office (with fantastic new wall shelves that I adore) and I really am about to fall asleep. My eyes are heavy in the heat of summer, but my heart is heavy with gratitude for each team and person that has chosen to spend a week of their lives with us. For we should never doubt what God can do with a week.

Because let's be honest, so many of our missionaries (including me) once went on a week-long trip that changed their lives. And at least for me, nothing has been the same since. 

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