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Do short-term missions do more harm than good? Christian missionaries and scholars have been debating this question in recent years. As we read varying opinions in this debate it is important ask those who host missions teams to describe their experiences.

A few weeks ago I wrote about an event in which several international students at Calvin Seminary described their experiences of hosting short-term mission teams. I am delighted to have one of the presenters, Eduardo Silva, write a guest post and describe his views on this subject.

A guest post by Eduardo Silva 

Three kinds of guests

  1. Bad guests
  2. Good guests
  3. Guests that leave a mark

Things bad guests do:

  • They do not try to communicate.
  • They think the food is disgusting.
  • They do not do what is asked.
  • They know nothing about the culture.
  • They think their culture is better than others.
  • They give “alms” to the poor natives.
  • They think they are on vacation.

Things that good guests do:

  • They try to communicate.
  • They do not complain about food.
  • They do everything that is asked.
  • They know a little about the culture of the country.
  • They believe that there is no better culture.
  • They give small gifts to the hosts as a thank you.
  • They do not consider themselves better than others.
  • They know they are there to serve and not on a vacation.

Things remarkable guests do:

  • They learn some basic words before arriving in the country.
  • They are sincerely grateful and compliment the food.
  • They do more than is asked. They are proactive.
  • They know a little bit about culture but they ask a lot about the country and people.
  • They understand the differences and emphasize qualities of the other culture.
  • They exchange small souvenirs with the new friends.
  • They Consider others better than themselves (Philippians 2).
  • They serve others and they have fun as well. In other words they build relationships.

*Eduardo Silva is a ThM student at Calvin Seminary.