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missionary trip or vacation plan?


browngrl

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I found this website where you can search for "missionary" trips....but mostly it sounds like a vacation planner to me.

site: www.imbstudents.org Examples include trips to "surf" for God or sharing the gospel while on the beach or snorkelling etc. All the trips carry a price tag. I guess calling these trips vacations would make it un-Godly. :)

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Yep, I think this company cloaks their vacations as "mission" trips to ensure that people can feel all warm and fuzzy while they indulge a little bit. Also, that way they can brag to their Christian friends about all of the good they're doing. I guess going on a mission trip to save souls sounds better than admitting you went to the Caymans and guzzled down mudslides by the beach.

I have a friend who is doing this round-the-world mission trip and I constantly see his updates on facebook. It seems like he and his "team" are doing tons of sightseeing while they're "witnessing." I won't even get into the neo-colonialist implications of what they're doing, but I will say it seems like they're having a lot of worldly fun while they're supposedly saving all of these souls for Jesus. Not to mention, they were all funded through donations. It reminds me of when George Costanza started the Human Fund, and donated to his fake charity in his friends' names in lieu of giving Christmas gifts. Kind of brilliant, in a way.

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My cousin is always fundraising to go to different international habitat for humanity locations. My sister and I privately call it her vacation fund.

Seriously, Habitat has so many local and if she wants to travel a bit, national sites, there is no reason for her to traipse off to South America so she can sight see on her breaks.

I was a little happy that her latest fundraising drive fell short and she had to stay home. Did she donate her time locally instead? I will take no for 500, Alex.

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A relative of mine tried convincing her parents to send her on a similar 3-month "Mission" trip to Australia, NZ and Fiji, where they can learn about native cultures through "active listening" and "hearing tales," spend 5 days doing team-building exercises (obstacle course type activities), go snorkling/ kayaking/ zip -ining/ climbing some mountain from "Lord of the Rings", and earn their SCUBA certification.

Oh, and they'll live with a host family for 2 weeks "sharing meals and conversation" and work on a service project. All for the low, low price of nearly $12,000 plus up to $3600 for airfare.

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A former student of mine is a full time "missionary" in the Netherlands where she lives in a lovely house, walks her dog, hangs out, takes language classes for an hour a week, and goes to fundagelical church with a bunch of ex-pats and other missionaries. In her spare time, she travels to missions conferences in exotic locations where there seems to be more sightseeing than conferencing. All of this is made possible by somewhere in the neighborhood of $6000 a month in support donations from suckers at home.

I often think I should have spent my 20s as a pretend missionary to Western Europe.

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When I was still evangelical/ fundie lite I took 4 of these trips (agnostic now). 3 to SE Asia and 1 in the Mediterranean. The value of work I did ranged from little to a lot. In the Mediterranean there was a lot of sight seeing (cause Bible places), visiting and prayer walking, but not much actual work was done. I remember a few months later a friend blatantly told me that it looked like a tourist trip with missionary visits, and honestly, it was hard to disagree.

On the other end, one of my trips to SE Asia (a somewhat English speaking country) was working with a very development focussed, left wing evangelical group (although I'm not sure all members would identify as evangelical). They worked with minority religious communities that faced discrimination, homeless communities and sex workers. They didn't work to convert people, but in training the community to meet development/personal needs e.g. small business training, health training, early childhood education etc. They did not provide services for the community, except in emergency situations, as their goals were sustainability. As a qualified teacher, I helped work with community volunteers to set up a tutoring program for children in under resourced schools. The community had expressed a desire to start this, and after I left it was run by community members for about 18 months more, until they decided to prioritize a different need. Religious discussion did happen, but far more from a "what can we learn from each other" rather than a "we have the truth and are now imparting it to you" manner. I have a lot more respect for this organization.

The other 2 involved teaching students English. These involved a lot more "sharing", something I am rather uncomfortable about now.

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One of the last churches I was a member of raised money for one lady in her 20's to go on one of these "mission trips" to somewhere in Africa for a year. All during the fundraising it was made to seem like she would be out in the wilds of Africa saving lost souls and helping poor children. When she got back from this trip and did her speech about it, it was fairly clear from the pictures everyone had just paid for her to have a year long vacation. She was in a nice city, living in a nice house and pretty much everyone there was already Christian.

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These programs though exist even without the cloak of religion. When my cousin was in her 20's and all fired up about being a doctor (everything but applying to med school) she paid to do a summer 'medical trip' to somewhere in South America. I'm sure they did some good but none of her group had any medical training (not a phlebotomist or nurse or PA among the group) and I know they spent a lot of time at the beach and sampling drugs.

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I've done a multitude of mission trips in my life. The most useless was the summer we were doing evangelism on The Amazon River. Though, even then we were actually DOING something every single day. We showed Pilgrim's Progress and The Jesus Film every night, did street drama and went door to door.

Every other trip I did was working with indigenous groups for developmental work in other countries. I've done dental clinics in remove villages (and you haven't lived until you spend all day, every day for two weeks helping dentists to yank rotten teeth out). I've done a LOT of work with Heifer Project International from helping build barns in one of their training centers, to building a suspension bridge in the middle of the jungle, moreso to bring the technology so all of the surrounding villages could replicate it and thus they all sent representatives to help build the first one with us, to building things such as flush latrines, dry latrines and low fuel stoves. In all of those cases, it was about gathering villagers from multiple villages to do a project together, that way each village took the technology home after having learned it hand's on. Those trips I am 100% proud of and would encourage anyone to be involved in. The evangelism one, not so much.

When I was a MK, my father was training indigenous pastors with theological training to take back to their communities. He did not himself have a church, but was a resource and teacher.

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The thing is, even groups who "do good" probably don't need to go. Skilled teachers, medical professionals, engineers, ect., yes, they go and do actual good. Groups of 20 somethings that go and build houses, latrines, ect are no more qualified then the indigenous people to build. The 7 grand it takes to send an unskilled American to work for 2 weeks in Haiti would be better spent employing many local workers to build. Send one professional to instruct, one to organize and use the rest of the funds on a local labor force.

The groups would be able to help more if they sent their money instead of their bodies.

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^ This.

We used the same argument against overseas adoption. Why spend $30,000 to adopt from Ethiopia?* Why not give $30,000 to an orphanage or Save the Children and do foster care in our own community instead? (We didn't have $30,000 to give but we did start doing foster care.)

*This is what it cost our friends.

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The thing is, even groups who "do good" probably don't need to go. Skilled teachers, medical professionals, engineers, ect., yes, they go and do actual good. Groups of 20 somethings that go and build houses, latrines, ect are no more qualified then the indigenous people to build. The 7 grand it takes to send an unskilled American to work for 2 weeks in Haiti would be better spent employing many local workers to build. Send one professional to instruct, one to organize and use the rest of the funds on a local labor force.

The groups would be able to help more if they sent their money instead of their bodies.

Or if they're going to go, it needs to be reframed as "we want to learn from YOU, we're here to learn the language/customs from YOU, and partly to offset the cost of hosting us, we'll do whatever scut work you happen to have on hand that requires no skills to do. Said work does not need to be fun or educational, just whatever you might ACTUALLY need done (and local people would prefer to be doing something more interesting). If you don't have anything there and thus realize that hosting us is not worth it to you, then fine, don't host."

Obviously they can also just make it a paid thing, too - but either way, the emphasis becomes "we're tourists, and YOU are calling the shots." Where things get weird (IMHO) is when people go over there with some sort of idea that they are the generous ones, and they have some project in mind that will be a one-off and yet look good for them, so it's like painting a school or something (for the Nth time and yeah locals can easily do that if needed), worse yet maybe teaching the same simplistic English lesson that every other group tries to do, and it's about "oh look how much good WE are doing."

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^ This.

We used the same argument against overseas adoption. Why spend $30,000 to adopt from Ethiopia?* Why not give $30,000 to an orphanage or Save the Children and do foster care in our own community instead? (We didn't have $30,000 to give but we did start doing foster care.)

*This is what it cost our friends.

Some people at my old church (which was big on the whole Evangelical adoption calling thing and full of adoptive families) were in the process of adopting a little girl from Ethiopia when they started to rethink international adoption and instead use that money to help families over there keep their kids. If you're adopting just because you're trying to save a child, that money can help a lot more kids in that country if it's spent there rather than on adopting one child. I was impressed with what they've been doing and how they've been starting to change the adoption culture a bit locally.

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Oh i have found blogs about missionaries that aparently think we really need them in spain, like this ones that from all places have choosen Barcelona to go pswe.net (i tried to break the link i dont know if i did it well) but the most funny is this one from a mormon missionary girl(thought she didnt choose it, she was sended by her church and i wonder if she really enjoy it) i laughed a lot reading some of the stories on her blog( katepoulton.com) the only people they seem to convert are mentally ill people and a few inmigrants that were already converted in their countries by missionaries of some other kind, not really a succesfull mission.

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Wow, Imbstudents.org is hilarious. Among other places, it's organizing missions to Cornwall, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales. It is the sort of scam that I wish I'd thought of first!

Give me between $2,000 and $3,000 and I'll guarantee to teach you a few words of Cornish or other Celtic language. (I might need to look up the words and pronunciations first but Google is my friend.)

You need to pay your own airfare, of course. I'll buy your train or coach tickets and make reservations at a Youth Hostel for you. Or I'll find you some rental hovel. Or I might just rent you a tent in a camping ground. I make no promises as to the accommodation and self-catering is good for the soul. After the train tickets you are on your own as far as transport. Walking is good and a wonderful way to get in touch with the indigenous peoples! I can probably do all that for < $1,500 per head for a shared tent or a really crummy summer let, and the rest is profit.

You are a self-starter and dedicated to your mission! You must track down native Cornish/Irish/Manx/Gaelic/Welsh speakers where you are. You won't find them all in one place and everyone will speak English anyway. Your job is to find the bilingual ones and convert them. Your hook for preaching the Gospel is that you know a few words of their native language. That will be invaluable in tearing down barriers to relationships. By the way, the UK is cold and damp with only a few days when you can wear shorts. There is nothing to do at night either in the obscure town with the crummy accommodation. One must suffer for Faith.

Now grab your back-pack and go forth and proselytize, young Christian!

Alternatively, you could cut out the middleman and make your own plans you gormless ones. Google "students budget travel in UK" and "Youth Hostels" and take off with a friend or two. There is nothing to stop you evangelizing in the UK although I can guarantee that you will get some funny looks. :lol: :lol: :lol:

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These programs though exist even without the cloak of religion. When my cousin was in her 20's and all fired up about being a doctor (everything but applying to med school) she paid to do a summer 'medical trip' to somewhere in South America. I'm sure they did some good but none of her group had any medical training (not a phlebotomist or nurse or PA among the group) and I know they spent a lot of time at the beach and sampling drugs.

I honestly have to ask what the fucking point is of going to foreign countries to get drugs. I could walk down the end of my street and get drugs. Granted, I live in a city...but even when I lived in a small town everyone knew where to go and who to ask.

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I honestly have to ask what the fucking point is of going to foreign countries to get drugs. I could walk down the end of my street and get drugs. Granted, I live in a city...but even when I lived in a small town everyone knew where to go and who to ask.

Because it's much more exotic to get stoned in a different country? :D

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A former student of mine is a full time "missionary" in the Netherlands where she lives in a lovely house, walks her dog, hangs out, takes language classes for an hour a week, and goes to fundagelical church with a bunch of ex-pats and other missionaries. In her spare time, she travels to missions conferences in exotic locations where there seems to be more sightseeing than conferencing. All of this is made possible by somewhere in the neighborhood of $6000 a month in support donations from suckers at home.

I often think I should have spent my 20s as a pretend missionary to Western Europe.

What is the purpose of her mission?

Proselytizing the Dutch??

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A relative of mine has recently returned from his second missionary trip to Sweden. He told us after the first one of how desperately the Swedish people need missionaries because, although they claim 99% of the population is Christian, none of the truly understand Christianity or are living a proper Christian life.

We suspect he is looking for a wife. No Aussie girl will touch him and we have all heard the stories about those Scandinavian girls.

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Send him West. I know a whole community of tall, blonde, Dutch, Calvinist girls who are brought up to marry young.

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Send him West. I know a whole community of tall, blonde, Dutch, Calvinist girls who are brought up to marry young.

You will not find them in the Netherlands. Fortunately they all went to the USA.

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And Australia. It's still like a Frisian village in the fifties (although my husband and I joke they'll be getting around to 1960 in another decade it so).

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I've done a multitude of mission trips in my life. The most useless was the summer we were doing evangelism on The Amazon River. Though, even then we were actually DOING something every single day. We showed Pilgrim's Progress and The Jesus Film every night, did street drama and went door to door.

Every other trip I did was working with indigenous groups for developmental work in other countries. I've done dental clinics in remove villages (and you haven't lived until you spend all day, every day for two weeks helping dentists to yank rotten teeth out). I've done a LOT of work with Heifer Project International from helping build barns in one of their training centers, to building a suspension bridge in the middle of the jungle, moreso to bring the technology so all of the surrounding villages could replicate it and thus they all sent representatives to help build the first one with us, to building things such as flush latrines, dry latrines and low fuel stoves. In all of those cases, it was about gathering villagers from multiple villages to do a project together, that way each village took the technology home after having learned it hand's on. Those trips I am 100% proud of and would encourage anyone to be involved in. The evangelism one, not so much.

When I was a MK, my father was training indigenous pastors with theological training to take back to their communities. He did not himself have a church, but was a resource and teacher.

Are you an engineer or have a degree in animal husbandry or something similar? If not, then it would be more useful for them to train (and pay) one or more locals to do that job. It puts the money into the community, gives them real ownership, gives teachable longterm skills, etc. Like the PP said, unless you have a valuable skill and are training locals, then your airfare could be put to better use.

That's not to say I haven't been a tourist in thrd world countries. There's nothing wrong with going somewhere and spending money on stuff.

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