Long ago going to the mission field meant traveling for long periods of time often in very difficult conditions. For example when we read in Acts 27 we can read an account of Paul traveling by ship. Thankfully nowadays travel is much easier, comfortable and less expensive.
In missions we often hear terms like “short term” and “long term” but even those terms are a bit irrelevant nowadays. What is important is that we understand our gifting and the opportunities of the place we wish to serve.
Within Autumn Rain International often people will come for two to three weeks to carry Bibles. Usually people have to fit their travel dates into their work holiday time. For those with more flexible schedules to come for longer periods of time is very beneficial. The longer that a person is available the more they will learn and be able to be a support to the newer arrivals showing them the “ropes” and helping the set up things and do behind the scenes work such as making a trip to the warehouse to arrange a truck of Bibles to come to the packing house, packing and shipping Bibles etc. or maybe the very un-glamourous jobs of washing sheets, making beds and cleaning the toilets (somebody has to do it), which brings us to conditions.
When volunteers come to us we strive to have our accommodation clean and tidy. When traveling we will advise you of what to expect and inform people if we think that conditions may not be suitable for a particular person. At the end of the day whether at home or abroad we face expected and unexpected risks. Each person needs to take responsibility for themselves in the decisions that they make and precautions and insurances that they take.
When visiting our ministry partners in Asia we always keep their interests and security paramount. We are only visitors there and we do not want to do or say anything that will put them into a difficult situation.
Rather than to be concerned about long term and short term overseas trips, we wish for everyone to have a long term vision and a heart to serve Jesus. Whether we are in a faraway country or in our home town let us all look to Jesus to see how he can lead us. It might mean helping or praying for someone in need that we see during the week, or maybe doing a bank transfer to an overseas work or an email of encouragement to someone serving overseas.