Yesterday I had an opportunity which was not really unique for me. I had the opportunity to meet a small group of short-term missionaries.
"Where are you from?"
"Oh, I live right around the corner, but I'm from Michigan."
This sort of conversation starter is not unusual for me, but it made me pause a moment and wonder why I never ask them where they are from. Is it that I think I'm so much more interesting? No, not really. I mean, I got my start in short-term missions too. The team gave me a ride to Antigua afterwards and I thought about it all the way back. It's not because I don't care or am so egotistical; it's that I'll likely meet hundreds of thousands of them during my time here. I won't remember all their names, all their stories. And, to be completely blunt, most of their stories follow these lines: "My church was offering a mission trip, and I thought it would be interesting." Good for you? I mean, I am grateful for those who do come down on short-term mission trips. Many of them can do things for the people that I just can't do. I'm no doctor or surgeon. I'm not a dentist. I can use a hammer, but the idea of actually building a house is somewhat daunting. I'm not a fire fighter, police officer, emergency medical personnel. There is so much that I can not do for these people that I really do value short-term mission volunteers. But there are so few whom I actually talk to, get to know. The ones I do get to know tend to come back. I think I get to know them because they do come back, not the other way around.
But what if it was the other way around? What if they were coming back because they actually knew someone down here who knew them too?