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Short-Term Mission: Long-Term Impact

One of Multiply’s Short-Term Mission Apprentices, Becky Spahr, from Kansas, recently did an interview with long-term missionary in Thailand, Rebecca Hiebert. The topic was the effectiveness of short-term teams. 

Becky: Why do you enjoy hosting short-term teams?

Rebecca: Our team at Hope Center in Chachoengsao has had the privilege of working with some fabulous teams that came prepared to serve. Many of these teams were very intentional about sharing the Gospel and they were eager to try new things. They focused on building relationships in the community, not just with each other. When these kinds of teams come to serve with us, they inspire us.

Becky: What kind of impact do short-term teams have on your ministry?

Rebecca: These teams create excitement. Knowing we have extra people coming to serve alongside us gives us extra energy as we plan community outreaches. Whenever a group of foreigners is around, more local people come to see what is going on. This provides us with opportunities to share the Gospel with new people. It also enables us to do some things that we couldn’t do alone. Sometimes we are able to put on English camps at local schools or in government offices. As we meet the felt needs of the community, we gain favor and influence among the people.

Becky: What does it mean for Thai believers to have teams come?

Rebecca: Local believers always enjoy serving together with visiting teams. Relationships grow deeper and become mutually encouraging as they practice partnership. Rather than always having the Thai team be on the receiving end, they are able to give back by helping to host, building relationships, and genuinely caring for the team and praying for them. When teams come back, they are adopted in as part of the family. We have had an incredible relationship with some churches in North America that send a short-term team each year. Returning teams provide a sense of continuity and accountability.

Becky: What advice would you give to future short-term mission participants?

Rebecca: The most important preparation is spiritual – to spend time with Jesus. People growing in their relationship with God are the best short-term mission participants. Walk in obedience to him and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Your relationship with Jesus affects your relationships with others. The way you interact with one another is important, and how you serve one another has the potential to make a big impact. Come in a spirit of unity as a team, because that points people to Jesus more than anything. Prepare yourselves to pay attention to what God is saying and walk in obedience. Do your best to serve in love, forgive quickly, build relationships, and courageously share your faith. And pray lots — because prayer changes things.

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