Short-Term Trips, Long-Term Implications

by Kari Randall March 23, 2014

Squealing and kicking up sand as they go, they scamper into the surf and start splashing and alternately cling like barnacles to their new friends. It’s pure, unmitigated joy. When the Colombia short-term team takes the children of Hogar la Providencia to the beach in Taganga, you can see the utter delight on the kids’ faces. For some of them, enjoying life as a child is rare because up until their stay in the Hogar they’ve acted as adults: trying to find food, enduring life on the street, and caring for younger siblings. Wouldn’t you love to be an ambassador of hope to them?

A man sits stiffly as he waits to see the medical team, trying to appear strong. In truth, his chest is hurting so badly he can barely breathe and perspiration is beading on his forehead. The doctor gently guides him to an exam table and listens to his symptoms. Hypertension. Dehydration. Too much work and not enough pay to support a family. After receiving a starter set of medication and instructions for his conditions, he speaks with the pastor in the waiting room. They pray for his heart and his circumstances. Wouldn’t you like to be a healing hand?

The Colombia team will serve from August 7–18 in Santa Marta and Barranquilla. Tenth supports the efforts of Hogar la Providencia, a children’s home, and the La Puerta Church, pastored by Jaime Leal, in Santa Marta. Half of the team conducts a clinic for the children and neighborhood, while the other half of the team leads Vacation Bible School activities. In 2013, the team taught dental hygiene at a new community outreach led by Pastor Edison Florez. The second part of the trip focuses on the work in Barranquilla, where the team repeats their Vacation Bible School and clinic programs for folks at the community center Huerto Los Olivos. The team also worships with the congregation at Pastor Rafael Leal’s church, La Roca.

The second short-term trip from October 24–November 3 will be a limited-member team to Greece. The purpose of the trip is to encourage our global partners Phil and Joy, and to get a vision for the many ministry opportunities there. Some activities include visiting and encouraging church plants, learning about efforts to reach university students, and assisting with refugee outreach. Take a look at the website,, for more information.

“I think [short-term trips] are helpful in developing future workers. I doubt you will get fresh blood and energy if you don’t give people a vision for what God is and can do. I’m already recruiting for short-term trips in the future,” says global partner Matt S., who is headed to South Asia. “For those who don’t come as career workers, you give them a vision for prayer, for cross-cultural life, and for the global reach of God’s kingdom. It also helps connect people with the field and grow in their own faith…It can help put feet on the ground from the sending church and connect the sending church with the field. Lastly, pastoral trips, where the focus is just to encourage and pray with workers on the field, can be very helpful.”

In addition to the benefit of cultivating relationships (Paul sent Timothy to encourage the Thessalonians, after all), short-term global outreach is helpful for accountability—both nationals’ and our own. It’s not a call to exert our authority over national believers, but we are called to be good stewards. It’s an opportunity to see the work accomplished by Global Outreach funds, including the Easter Sacrificial Offering.

Do you feel called to one of these trips? Seek the Lord’s guidance and fill out an application on the Tenth website. Members of both teams are required to attend the short-term trip training led by Global Outreach Commission’s short-term trips committee on Saturday, May 3, as well as country-specific meetings assigned by the team leader.

You don’t have to leave the country to be a part of the team. Some of the most effective personnel are the prayer warriors and those who support the teams with their finances. If you can’t go, you can have just as much of a spiritual impact by serving in this way.

So whether you go or stay, consider where God would direct you to serve on a short-term trip!


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