by Marcia Strauss, Champion for Short-Term Service
20 November 2008
I was getting ready to file some End of Term Reviews I’d just read, when I thought, “I wonder how many of these Associates said SIM Members were a support and help to them.” Quickly flipping through the eight reviews, I found that seven of them mentioned how missionaries had helped them navigate their cross-cultural experience. One excerpt:
Spending time alongside other missionaries and talking through cultural observations were particularly useful in beginning to understand some of the culture. Talking with missionaries who had been here a while shed new light on why local people behaved or did things the way they did, they opened up reasons for why local people did things the way they did, and they could relate it to our understanding as Westerners.
Time, a listening ear, and wise advice are all gifts to Associates. They notice, and they appreciate it! It’s all part of fulfilling our SIM Short-Term Program purpose statement: to nurture them into lifelong commitment to the Great Commission.
And do you know who else appreciates it when career missionaries give time to nurture others in Great Commission commitment? People who are passionate about raising a new generation of kingdom workers. Hear the heart of Colin McDougall, former SIM Kenya missionary currently serving on staff at Church of the Open Door in California:
Our church is the home and sending church for 35 active missionaries and two appointees, so I thought it would not be difficult to find missionary mentors for our group of missionaries in training. I was in for a shock! It took three years for us to find a family in the field who could clear two weeks during the summer to host three missionary trainees and their pastor... I wish that you would encourage field missionaries to set aside time for the training of the new generation. When Becca and I were in the field, we realized we could easily become swamped by training programs and missionary tourism, so we set aside three weeks every second summer to host trainees through InterVarsity or through our SIM/AIM field offices. Now I wish we had invested three weeks every summer. Missionaries who do this develop a truly worldwide web of discipling relationships that are productive for life and for eternity.
Nurturing people from initial interest to commitment to overseas service leaves mission pastors, Sending Office staff, and Regional Directors feeling like midwives delivering babies and then handing those precious bundles over to others for continued care. They feel great anticipation and expectancy with a little apprehension thrown in.
When those Associates return home with a deepened understanding of cross-cultural ministry, a heightened commitment to mission work, and an eagerness to share their experiences, those kingdom midwives rejoice—grateful and deeply appreciative to those who continued the nurturing process! So, if you are a long-term missionary, keep up the good work and know that you are appreciated!Comment on this post: Email email@example.com
Champion: Marcia Strauss
Marcia Strauss has seen the explosion of short-term mission firsthand, both during her 19 years in Ethiopia where she coordinated Short-Term Associates (STAs) and during her service today as International STA Coordinator. Marcia hopes to see men and women placed in mentored short-term assignments alongside ongoing ministries, where they can be nurtured for lifelong Great Commission commitment.
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