Missio Dei: A Journal of Missional Theology and Praxis 2, no. 1 (February 2011)

done_all Peer Reviewed Article

Practical Suggestions for Short-Term Missions among the Poor

Craig Ford with Jeri Ford

In this article, we contend that giving money and goods can be a helpful tool in sharing the good news on a majority world mission field. Yet, giving can also be detrimental. Acts of generosity ought to be guided by the wisdom of a community so that gifts to the poor can have a positive and lasting impact. We introduce first-time short-term missionaries to the complexity of poverty and highlight appropriate and inappropriate responses to poverty on a short-term mission trip.

In the movie Avatar, when Jake Sully rolls his wheelchair out of the plane, viewers are struck by the complete otherness of the alien planet. There is an onslaught of novelty. In that moment, without a single spoken word, it is clear that this is a completely different world where what was once known is now unknown.

During a short-term mission trip to a majority world mission field, you may experience a similar onslaught of novelty. You will likely awaken to a new environment where every one of your senses is attacked by the uniqueness of your setting. The air may loom large with a smell that might be best described as putrid. It may, however, smell fresh, pure, and clean. The familiar rumble of cars may be replaced by the boisterous honking of horns or the constant croaking of frogs. The faces you see, though friendly, may be scuffed and dirty. As you look into people’s eyes, you might see both hope and desperation. Quite simply, it is a whole new world.

In many ways, visiting from place to place, working, building, interviewing patients, teaching VBS, doing operations, and knocking on doors will feel like the easy part. But during quiet moments of the day you may struggle with your emotions. Unexplainably, something is mentally occupying you. When you and your thoughts are left alone, that is when you ask questions to which the answers always elude you:

How could people be living like this in this day and age?

What is my responsibility with my own wealth?

What can I do to help?

What should I do with the feeling of guilt I experience?

When speaking of the issue of poverty, Seth Godin claims our response is an issue of “proximity and attention.”1 He claims we often give attention to the poor only when we are so close we cannot avoid them. In a majority world country, the poor have our complete and undivided attention. Though poverty has existed for centuries, in this close proximity we now experience the reality of the poverty of the majority world. Poverty now transitions from a soft subtle knock in the background to a loud boisterous pounding. It can no longer be avoided. For the glory of God, you commit yourself, your energy, your resources, your knowledge, and your finances to addressing the issue of poverty. Lord willing, God will open many doors that will allow you to touch and positively impact people with the love of Christ.

We offer a word of caution. In order to bless people by your generosity, you must have boundaries in place to guide your giving. Ironically, a good heart and a loving action do not always lead to a positive result. At times, giving can cause more damage than good. We pray God will lead you through this article so the Holy Spirit can offer you the wisdom to know when giving helps and when it hurts.

Not All Giving Helps

When I (Craig) went on my first short-term mission trip to a majority world country, I decided to give most of my clothes to a friend I had made on the field. I felt honored that God had allowed me to help my new friend in this way. However, I now look back on that experience and wonder if I did the right thing. Why would I now doubt that action done out of a glad and sincere heart? Living in Papua New Guinea, I have seen Christians bicker over MP3 players, Bibles, clothing, and more. At times, gifts given with best intentions flare up jealous rivalries and bitter accusations. Only after having these experiences as a full time missionary do I wonder what the response was when I left all of those clothes to one friend I made during our mission trip. I wonder if I left a path of jealousy, bitterness, and quarreling or a path of appreciation and thanksgiving. I’ll never know because I wasn’t around to see the aftermath.

There once was an intern who left her study Bible with a local evangelist. The church was thankful that he had access to the extra resources offered by a study Bible. That Bible has traveled up and down the coast being used to teach and preach. The Bible is now a lot older and the pages much dirtier, but that generous gift continues to be a blessing.

How can we possibly begin to know if our gifts will be a blessing or a hindrance to people? We would like to suggest an approach where you sit quietly, pray deeply, listen intently, and rely on God’s Spirit to give you wisdom. This requires working closely with local church leaders and/or missionaries while frequently asking them, “Would this help?”

If you follow this approach, at the end of your mission trip when the jet roars to a place you call home, you will sense that something is starting—not finishing. Instead of ending something, you will realize that you are just starting a new chapter in life. This is because when you work with the poor, you never get to experience the luxury of feeling like your job is done. Missionaries who have served in a majority world country for decades know there is much yet to be done. Perhaps this is because our mission is not to solve anything but to live a Christlike life in the midst of the poor. We do this over a week, a decade, or a lifetime, and we never quite finish. If you leave the mission field having represented the love of God, changed as an individual, and with a greater compassion for the poor, then, in our opinion, you have succeeded. Regard the mission trip as the beginning of a journey that might never be completed.

Majority World Poverty 101

The tap in your tub is turned on, but the plug is not in place. Water flows excessively down the open drain. What do you do? Do you turn the water on higher, or do you put a plug in the tub? Most, so it seems, would put a plug in the tub or turn off the water.

In many poor countries, poverty exists because of broken systems. The structure, government, family system, and cultural rules of interaction need change before any amount of money can help. Pouring money into a broken system makes as much sense as turning the water on high when the plug is out.

There are three things every short-term missionary should know about poverty:

  1. Poverty is complex. The issue of poverty cannot be solved by one short-term mission trip.
  2. Poverty is a system. A system is anything in which there are interdependent parts. If you change one part of the system, the entire system will adapt. Poverty is a system because solving a problem (on the individual or micro level) does not solve the problem of poverty. When the system is healthy, there is hope for sustainable change.
  3. Poverty is a symptom. Poverty vividly shows deep-seated cultural and personal issues.

How Can Giving Be Dangerous?

Since poverty is complex, we believe that it cannot be solved by simple actions. The paradox of poverty is that one can give and unintentionally do more harm than help. Thus, good intentions do not always produce good results. As a result, before we introduce the blessings of giving, we first introduce a couple of the potential hazards associated with giving money or goods as a short-term missionary.

Giving can create dependency, and it can promote a false definition of needs.

In 1996, two men came to preach in the Highlands region of Papua New Guinea. On the flight from the States they were each allowed two pieces of baggage. One bag consisted of personal possessions, and the other was a portable baptistery. At the end of their short-term mission trip, these men left both baptisteries with local Christians. The intention was that the local Christians could use the baptisteries to continue the good work. For decades, missionaries have been baptizing individuals in the plentiful rivers of PNG. However, following this visit, people started to ask the missionaries to write letters to churches overseas so that the overseas churches would send money to help them buy their own baptisteries.

By giving in an inappropriate way (and by giving inappropriate items), these men promoted two unhealthy concepts. First, their actions insinuated that the local Christians did not have at their disposal what was necessary to preach the gospel. Second, their actions allowed people to conclude that churches overseas should supply the funds to purchase the baptisteries. To be fair, it is likely that neither missionary intended either of the above ramifications, but the actions of the local Christians highlighted that more harm was done than good.

We might do the same if we provide a vehicle or even a bike to a local evangelist to help him do mission work. Other evangelists might assume that a bike or car is also necessary for them to do their work. If we buy a sound system so everyone can hear the preaching, other churches might feel the need to write overseas churches to get their own sound system. In our opinion, it is not healthy to put any ministry on pause while the local church waits for overseas resources.

Giving may distort the gospel truth.

It is impossible to comment on all cultural practices, but here in Papua New Guinea there is a long history with something called “cargo cult.” The cargo cult belief supposes that the “whites” have a secret that leads to prosperity (cargo). Thus, when missionaries arrive carrying a good news message, some people are attracted to the message for cargo, not for truth. When we give in this context, we may be reinforcing the local belief that the gospel is a money movement rather than a religious one.

Notice that connecting the gospel with money might be the furthest thing from the missionaries’ intentions. However, we must try not to look at situations through our own eyes, understandings, or perspectives. We must seek to ask, “How will the local citizens interpret this action?” Our concern is not for what we intend to communicate, but rather for what will be interpreted.

How Can Giving Be a Blessing?

Just because there are inherent dangers associated with giving does not mean we should not give as short-term missionaries. On the contrary, we must continually be seeking ways to bless others. Undoubtedly, amazing things can happen when people give. Craig Ellison suggests the following three reasons why we should address the felt needs of the poor (city-dwellers in the context of his book): “To do so (1) provides a point of redemptive connection with those who are spiritually lost, (2) adds credibility to our communication of the gospel, and (3) is commanded by God and demonstrated by Christ.”2

Addressing felt needs provides a point of redemptive connection to those who are spiritually lost.

God can use the wealth of a short-term missionary to open doors. Many people who visit majority world countries find that people often come to them, seek them, and approach them. This is God’s way of opening a door of connection. By serving individuals through a mobile medical unit or construction project, you are effectively putting flesh into the message you bear. Perhaps there are some who simply come to see what you are doing, but in the end, they hear what you are saying.

Addressing felt needs adds credibility to our communication of the gospel.

We are reminded in Jam 2:16 that wishing the best upon people without actively participating in blessing others is of little value. Our faith is one that is exemplified in action. What we do communicates as much as what we say. People may dismiss the good news message if our actions constantly undermine the message we seek to teach.

Addressing felt needs is commanded by God and demonstrated by Christ.

God has a heart for the poor, the despised, and the rejected. Christlikeness is shown in our compassionate actions towards the poor. We are a vessel of God’s interaction with the needy.

Thus, we make it our goal to be sure that our giving enforces one of these three positive aspects of giving while avoiding the dangers associated with giving. Ultimately, the wisdom to know the difference might never be fully attained. In the remainder of this article, we will introduce what we believe are appropriate and inappropriate ways to respond to poverty in light of these potential blessings and dangers.

During a short-term mission trip, what are appropriate and inappropriate ways to respond to poverty?

Don’t make independent giving decisions without local consultation, when possible.

The short-term missionary (along with the long-term missionary) should avoid actions that develop or encourage an attitude of dependence. In many majority world countries, one can reinforce an unhealthy mindset by giving money to people. In essence, what you are teaching is that depending on outside gifts is the only or best way to get something. It is this dependence that is crippling many majority world cultures. The challenge is to find the right way to assist people without creating an absolute dependence on outside resources.

To be clear, there will be occasions where immediate benevolence is needed. The Good Samaritan did not say he needed to go ask someone if he should help. The need and the response were clear. There may be situations involving medical needs or hunger that need to be dealt with immediately. In those cases, make wise and compassionate choices guided by the Spirit. However, when possible, it would be wise for the short-term missionary to ask local citizens or local church workers to help them assess the legitimacy of the request. In this way, you can seek the wisdom of the community. This is something that we still practice after nearly five years on the mission field. Whenever possible, we seek out a local resource to help us make wise decisions.

We must learn to harness our sense of injustice so we can appropriately filter information. In the process of helping people, we must humbly remind ourselves that “poverty is a culture, not a lack of money.”3 Some problems should first be understood before they are fixed. A local resource person will be invaluable when it comes to determining the best course of action.

In some cases, the problems are not as much an issue of a lack of money as a lack of leadership. John Perkins suggests:

Refilling the leadership vacuum of our urban areas will require committed, quality, unselfish leadership at the grassroots level: individuals who see the problem clearly, nurture a vision for solving it, and willingly make personal sacrifices.4

The same is true of majority world poverty. Leadership may be needed more than money. If the local leadership has taken a certain stance or approach to working with the poor during your short-term mission trip, it is advisable to work within the existing strategy of the local church. By supporting the existing leadership, you help them make the necessary long-term changes.

When we minister to the poor, our compassion must be married to wisdom. When we deal with the poor, we must always remember that doing something is not the same as helping. In other words, “no” can be as much a word of compassion as “yes.” Only God can give us the wisdom to know when “no” is a word of compassion and when “yes” is a word of compassion. Many immediate solutions are merely putting a Band-Aid on a festering infection, but with the involvement of the community, you might be able to address some of the deep-seated issues through your benevolence.

Looking back on my (Craig’s) earlier experiences as a short-term missionary, I wish now that I would have asked the local Christians to help determine the legitimacy of my actions. Quite simply, I think I was ill-equipped—emotionally and spiritually—to make those decisions. Of course, short-term missionaries who return multiple times to a country will be much more prepared to make wise benevolence decisions. Nevertheless, a full-time missionary or local church leader may be able to give you some wise suggestions on how to help minister to people. After years of living in PNG, I rarely reply to people’s benevolence requests without first seeking the advice of a cultural insider.

Do listen to the stories and verify the facts.

Many majority world countries share deep oral traditions. In hearing their stories, you come to learn who they are as people. Since poverty is about more than money, it is not until you listen to their stories that you can see underlying issues causing the problems. Take time during your mission trip to expose yourself to the root issues and contributing factors of poverty. Then act according to God’s timing. Henri Nouwen suggests that when we look into people’s eyes, “we can catch a glimpse of at least a shadow of their world.”5 There is no better way to get to know people than through stories.

Beyond using stories to give you a general understanding of the complexity of poverty, you will also listen to individual requests. When someone shares their personal needs, you might consider some of the following suggestions to help determine the legitimacy of the request:

  • If the facts are verifiable, postpone the request until you can gather the information. Is the brother really sick? Check at the hospital. Did the person really just lose his job? Check with the former employer. Does this person have a reputation of telling false stories? Ask a local Christian.
  • Is the person making the request willing to sacrifice something to achieve the desired means? Will he or she do work in exchange for the gift? Is the person willing to cover a portion of the cost?
  • Is the requested item actually a guise? If a person asks for money for an item (food), give the item instead of the cash equivalent.
  • Has the request already been denied? Work through the existing structure at the church to see if a request has already been addressed by the local church.

Don’t elevate the importance of money.

Jacob Loewen tells the following story referring to a time when he was teaching a group of people from South America:

“Every tribe and culture uses one or more of these . . . the most important center or hub of their way of life.  It is like the axle of a wheel, which forms the center around which the whole wheel turns.  You say that you have known the missionaries for about twenty years.  Can you suggest one of the items in this list which you would consider to be the axle of the missionaries’ way of life?”  “Money!” the group of teachers from a South American Indian tribe exclaimed unanimously and unhesitatingly.6

This statement is startling. Western Christians must refuse the temptation to think of money as the solution to every human ill we encounter. Instead, we ought to present ourselves in such a way as to reaffirm God as the solution to every human ill. Since the Western world has money, manages money, and spends money, those to whom we minister might think it is money that has filled the Western world with goodness. Short-term missionaries need to help correct that misunderstanding. Joy comes from Christ, not money.

No missionary ever intends to insinuate that money is a source of their hope. Yet, it clearly seems as though the missionaries referenced above gave the impression that money was central to their living. Their actions subtly communicated something they did not intend to communicate.

While the majority world poor may not possess what the Western world possesses, there are things the majority world possesses that Westerners have lost. Many Westerners have gained money but in the pursuit of money have also lost, for example, a sense of community and fellowship. Short-term missionaries who sit with the poor will find their own lives lack certain things that the majority world has.

Do immerse yourself in the Word.

Some Bible verses will be truly difficult to hear until you have first witnessed poverty. By reading the Bible as a short-term missionary among the poor, you learn to think about the poor as God does. Allow God to help you feel the insensitivity, injustice, and complexity of poverty. Journey through the Bible and God will slowly transform your thinking and give you some much-needed wisdom.

Do join pre-existing good works.

God is always working (John 5:17). Joseph was sent ahead of his family to prepare the way for them during a time of famine (Gen 45:7). There are many faithful stewards who are already doing good works to minister to the poor. There are individuals who are focusing on addressing the systemic issues that cause poverty. Through their experiences, they are making a difference in the lives of the poor. Rather than being the sole administrator of your resources, entrust them to people who have shown the Spirit of God by their stewardship.

Examples of this might include certain stateside organizations like Healing Hands International.7 It might include overseas ministries of local churches. You may be able to give to a church benevolence committee and ask them to administer the funds. Giving can also be done through local organizations like hospitals, AIDS clinics, or youth programs.

Don’t place a financial reward or incentive too close to the gospel.

Perhaps a person with more wisdom could define “too close.” We, however, cannot, because with the appearance of the gospel comes a promise of holistic improvement. It was Jesus himself who announced:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4:18–19)8

Jesus fulfills the desires of his Father.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer 29:11)

So with the gospel comes life. A life in abundance (John 10:10) follows the proclamation of the gospel. Yet, that source of abundance is God. Short-term missionaries participate in social fulfillment of the good news of the kingdom, but they are not the source. As such, short-term missionaries can be viewed as a vessel of holistic gospel truth or as an ATM hiding behind a Bible. The balance is a difficult one to keep, yet necessary.

Do things with people, not for people.

On occasion, it is possible to come across a missionary who has an unfortunate case of Supermanitis. This is not a symptom of short-term missionaries only but of all missionaries, ministers, and humans. The symptoms are seen in a person’s language, conduct, and actions. They think they will somehow save the poor. Likely, you will not find a person with a full-blown case of Supermanitis, but to be human means all of us struggle with it in varying degrees.

Jonathan Bonk claims, “Affluence leads to social disparity and presents illusions of superiority.”9 If Bonk is correct, there is a temptation to think that because a person has more she is better. When the affluent enter a majority world country, they often receive special attention. They are treated better at health clinics. They will have grievances heard more quickly. All this undue attention may lead to an inflated self-view.

However, we should always seek to serve local Christians. To serve them means we do not take shortcuts because we are “superior.” Seek to take as much as you plan to give. The goal of short-term missions is not just to transform but to be transformed. Avoid situations where one person is superior and the other is inferior. Consult the local leadership when planning projects related to your trip. Humbly listen to all ideas and suggestions. Consider the following words: “STM [short-term mission] trips can play a positive role in the lives of all those involved, but a different paradigm is needed. Rather than going as ‘doers,’ some powerful dynamics can be unleashed if STM teams go as ‘learners’ from the poor or as ‘co-learners’ with the poor.”10

Don’t be overcome by analysis paralysis.

At times, the complexity of the poverty issue may paralyze us. When we feel paralyzed, we must remember that the goal of all giving is to help improve the lives of people, to advance the kingdom, and to witness to the love of Christ. If our giving does that, we should move forward with boldness and confidence. The suggestions we have offered in this article are intended to heighten our awareness of the issues associated with poverty but not to default to a state of analysis paralysis where we do nothing to serve the poor. As such, we need to embrace appropriate ways to give, such as those suggested.

Do remind yourself of the potential of helping.

Dealing with a physical or benevolence need should never be seen as a distraction to your ministry. Ministry is not an event to accomplish but a series of relationships to build. As such, we should willingly take time out of our schedules to listen to those who come to us in their need. Your response to that need may just open the door to a closed heart.

Helping is an important part of the ministry of any missionary—short-term or long-term. Thus, we must recognize every request as a door that God opens to a willing heart. This may not simply be a request for an exchange of something spiritual, but a bond between two people. This incarnate action of love may in fact be the light on the hill that someone needs to see before their ears will be open to hear.

Conclusion: The Frustration of Intimacy

Yesterday, the problem of poverty seemed so simple. Today, the ministry with the poor makes us feel exuberant, then frustrated, then disappointed, and then elated. Undoubtedly, our emotions run from one end of the spectrum to the other—sometimes faster than a tense elastic band that has just been released.

This journey with the poor is not simple. Each day that passes, there may be more questions and fewer answers. Each day the problem seems even more complex than it was the day before. However, rather than trying to solve the problem of poverty, our burden is to bring the salvation of Jesus Christ into the midst of the poor. It is an extremely challenging and rewarding endeavor.

This, so it seems, typifies Jesus’ ministry of presence. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). Jesus’ life with us was motivated by compassion. Jesus said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Matt 23:37). It is clear that Jesus tasted the fruit of the frustration of intimacy when he said, “O unbelieving and perverse generation, . . . how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?” (Matt 17:17). Living in the midst of any type of brokenness is burdensome.

Therefore, we propose that you approach your short-term mission trip as a student participant. A student of a culture. A student of yourself. A student of God’s goodness. A student of poverty. A participant in God’s ministry. A participant as an ambassador of Jesus Christ. A participant in God’s redemptive work. In this way, on the mission field you will do many tremendous and wonderful things.

Perhaps the words of Henri Nouwen summarize what we ineffectively seek to say. He writes, “the deeper he [the Christian leader] is willing to enter into the painful condition which he and others know, the more likely it is that he can be a leader, leading his people out of the desert into the promised land.”11 The deeper we go, the more effective we become. But in the depths, we might find our own psyche battered.

The call of this article is for you to give yourself fully to your short-term mission trip. Experience and expose yourself to an entirely new world. Re-experience the words of the gospel. Revive your passion for the Word of God. And, in the midst of everything, exercise caution when giving. To exercise caution does not require that you do nothing. In fact, it requires the opposite. You verify facts, seek out local input, and creatively challenge yourself to find healthy ways to help people.

During your short-term mission trip, you will serve. You will touch the lives of people. You will minister. But, when that 50,000-pound chunk of metal miraculously lifts into the sky to take you back home, you’ll likely leave with an unresolved tension, not whispering the words “mission accomplished.” In my (Craig’s) own life, short-term mission trips were an introduction to the world of poverty, and these trips served as a catalyst for my desire to seek out ways to be part of a long-term solution to the tragedy of poverty. May God grant you the opportunity to start a new chapter in your life—a phase in life where your lack of proximity to the poor no longer dictates your lack of concern and passion for issues related to the poor. In that way, you can become a catalyst for positive change, an advocate for right action, and a disciple whom God can use in service to his kingdom. You can do that both in your home culture and on any foreign field where God leads you in the future.

In the end, may we each be able to share the humble words of Ron Sider, “We have worked furiously, prayed frantically, failed frequently, despaired sometimes, and, thank God, on occasion succeeded.”12

Craig and Jeri Ford moved to Alotau, Papua New Guinea in 2006. They have three young children. Craig is a graduate of Harding University (MDiv), and Jeri is a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University (MEd). They co-authored The Short Term Missions Handbook, a practical guide for short-term missionaries. Craig is also a semi-professional blogger who deals with the topic of Christian finances at www.moneyhelpforchristians.com. As a special offer to Missio Dei readers, we are happy to offer our book at 25% off. Use the coupon code missiodei at checkout. Visit www.moneyhelpforchristians.com/short-term-missions-handbook/ to learn more about the handbook. By using this link, you also help Missio Dei as the journal will receive 50% of all sales through this link. Contact us directly (mhforc@gmail.com) to purchase discounted multiple copies. Just let us know you were referred by Missio Dei.

Bibliography

Bonk, Jonathan J. Missions and Money: Affluence as a Western Missionary Problem. New York: Orbis, 1991.

Chalmers Center Staff. “Doing Short-Terms Missions without Doing Long-Term Harm.” Mandate  2008, no. 1. http://www.chalmers.org/mandate/april_2008/stm.php.

Ellison, Craig W. “Addressing Felt Needs of Urban Dwellers.” In Planting and Growing Urban Churches: From Dream to Reality, ed. Harvie M. Conn, 94–110. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997.

Ford, Craig, and Jeri Ford. Short Term Missions Handbook. Self-published electronic document. http://www.moneyhelpforchristians.com/short-term-missions-handbook.

Godin, Seth. “Fear of Philanthropy (Avert Your Eyes).” Seth Godin Blog. http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/03/fear-of-philanthropy.html.

Healing Hands International. Home Page. http://www.hhi.org.

Loewen, Jacob A. Culture and Human Values: Christian Intervention in Anthropological Perspective. South Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 1975.

Nouwen, Henri J. M. The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society. New York: Image Books, 1972.

Perkins, John M. “The Character of a Developer: Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Leader?” In Restoring At-Risk Communities: Doing It Together and Doing It Right, ed. John M. Perkins, 61–72. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995.

Sider, Ronald J. Just Generosity: A New Vision for Overcoming Poverty in America. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007.

1 Seth Godin, “Fear of Philanthropy (Avert Your Eyes),” Seth Godin Blog, http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/03/fear-of-philanthropy.html.

2 Craig W. Ellison, “Addressing Felt Needs of Urban Dwellers,” in Planting and Growing Urban Churches: From Dream to Reality, ed. Harvie M. Conn (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997), 94.

3 Craig Ford and Jeri Ford, Short Term Missions Handbook (self-published electronic document), 22, http://www.moneyhelpforchristians.com/short-term-missions-handbook.

4 John M. Perkins, “The Character of a Developer: Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Leader?” in Restoring At-Risk Communities: Doing It Together and Doing It Right, ed. John M. Perkins (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995), 62.

5 Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society (New York: Image Books, 1972), 26.

6 Jacob A. Loewen, Culture and Human Values: Christian Intervention in Anthropological Perspective (South Pasedena, CA: William Carey Library, 1975): xi.

8 Scripture quotations are taken from the New International Version.

9 Jonathan J. Bonk, Missions and Money: Affluence as a Western Missionary Problem (New York: Orbis, 1991), 46.

10 Chalmers Center Staff, “Doing Short-Terms Missions without Doing Long-Term Harm,” Mandate  2008, no. 1, http://www.chalmers.org/mandate/april_2008/stm.php.

11 Nouwen, 63.

12 Ronald J. Sider, Just Generosity: A New Vision for Overcoming Poverty in America, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007), 16.