Research by Robert Priest, Brian Fikkert, Dambisa Moyo, and Bob Lupton (among others) on short-term trips has shown three things:
- They don’t change participants’ lives.
- They don’t cause more people to commit to long-term missions.
- They often harm both local economies and orphans.
But here’s the problem: research rarely trumps the anecdotes that participants recount after their cross-cultural experiences. With an outsider’s view of complex cultural dynamics, we’re left evaluating short-term cross-cultural experiences based on felt needs and personal testimonies. It’s like a pastor evaluating his sermon based on how he felt about it.
- Have you had any near death experiences?
- What are your most prized food items?
- What about weird cultural experiences?
- Have you met any famous people?
- Are you reading any good books?
A missionary’s supporters and church community should start by asking how the cultural acclimation journey is going for the person. In what areas are they struggling? Are there ways technology is hurting their ministry? Is it best to travel home for this event, or is it okay to miss it? In what ways are they experiencing culture shock? Is it getting easier or harder? Are there areas of sin that have gone unchecked? How can we help in prayer and accountability?
- I fear we go through the motions without really experiencing God’s presence.
- I fear we get way too hung up on things that don’t matter nearly as much as we think.
- I fear we think too lightly about persecution.
- I fear we think we’re the most important church people in the world.
- I fear we think too little about Bible study and scripture memorization.
- I fear we have little idea what power there is in prayer.
- I fear we tolerate sin far too much.
- I fear we’re not providing enough practical training for young ministers and missionaries.
- I fear we sometimes get in the way of missionaries on our short-term trips
- I fear we don’t pray enough for missionaries.
Merriam-Webster notes in a blog post that people have been using they as a singular pronoun since the 1300s, and quoted an 1881 letter in which Emily Dickinson refers to a person of unknown gender with the pronouns they, theirs, and even themself. The post also mentions that using you as a singular pronoun wasn’t always considered grammatically correct, either: it was born out of necessity, gained popularity in casual conversation, and eventually became formally accepted as a singular pronoun.
Scooby Doo suggests to the youth of America an alternative path for resistance against a greedy grown-up world, one achieved by outsmarting the enemy, rather than either fighting it or protesting it.
They learned he is not homeless. Standridge said the man lives in a home in south Abilene. He is also not wheelchair-bound, according to Standridge. Someone drops him off every weekend to seek charity. Standridge said the man earns about $1,000 a weekend.
Police said the half-baked bandit bottled it when customers threw “squash and a loaf of bread” at him.