As we at Edify are preparing to take teams to the field this summer we have been reflecting on what has made our past trips successful. I believe that short-term mission trips can be effective and I want you to have the best possible experience.  I hope these tips encourage you and have an impact on the quality of your future experiences.

1) It is all about relationship. Transformation often has a profound way of working through relationship. Give yourself a goal of building one or two authentic relationships with those you will be serving. Find out what they love to do, how many brothers and sisters they have, who they enjoy spending time with, etc.

2) Go with the right posture.  You are coming alongside local leaders whose culture is probably very different from yours. Go with an open mind and a humble heart to learn about their way of life. Consider reading a book that talks about cross-cultural communication principles. If their first language is different than yours, learn some common words and phrases.

3) Redefine poverty before you go. You may be traveling to some place where there is physical poverty. However, “poverty” is much more dynamic in its scope. I have offered some resources below that may help in this process

4) Ask people before you take a picture with them. This might seem simple but it often does not cross people’s mind to ask if it is ok to snap a shot with them.

5) And lastly, have fun and relax. You are going to be warmly received by the partnering organization. You are going to build cross-cultural friendships. You are going to have a better definition of poverty, and your life is going to be transformed. What is not to be excited about?

Steve Soars
Director of Edification and Philanthropy 

Helping Without Hurting in Short-Term Missions

Defining Poverty :
1) When Helping Hurts-The Chalmers Center
2) Poverty Cure