“ …I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God” – Philippians 4:18b
Short-Term Ministry plays a vital role in the life of our missionary partners. Beyond funds and care packages, our visits provide them with personal support, encouragement, and fellowship. They receive a time of care and love from their co-laborers in the work of the gospel around the world. Short-Term Ministry can range from a week in Mexico helping our sister church put on a children’s outreach to going to visit and encourage a missionary who is in the field as we work alongside them for a few days. We feel this kind of ministry accomplishes several important components necessary to maintain our relationship with our missionary partners.
While a box via UPS or Fed-Ex can accomplish the goal of equipping our partners, there is a very tangible value in personally bringing needed supplies – some of which can’t be purchased in the country where they minister. As we prepare to visit our missionary partners, we are able to find out how we can best bring further supplies to assist them in ministry, as well as encourage them with items that remind them of home, such as local candies or spices.
Missions work is long-term and the laborers are few. Our desire is to buttress the ministries of the churches where our missionaries and church planters serve. We can do this by helping them with their outreach programs to their community. We seek not to bring our ways of doing ministry, but to supply willing workers for short-term ministry projects our missionary partners design, such as conversational English outreaches or training conferences.
Ministry can be very isolating, so when we can, we want to not just connect electronically or with letters, but with personal “in the flesh” encouragement. This communicates love for our dear co-workers in the cause of Christ, and we find we can minister and care for them physically while we are with them. There is something special about a warm embrace that a letter or email cannot replicate.
An added benefit from these trips is that through our preparations to send a team and their reporting to the body after they return, we keep the needs of our missionaries and the flame of global missions alive in the local church. We pray this will result in more missionaries sent out to declare Christ’s glory to the nations.