Short-term mission teams needed, but not now

By January 11, 2005

Indonesia (MNN) — With thousand dead, millions homeless and thousand of homes and businesses destroyed, Christians are anxiously waiting to go on short-term mission trips to help the victims of the tsunami disaster. But, because of the wide-spread nature of the disaster, short-term trips aren’t being encouraged just yet.

Wycliffe Associates is the support organization for Wycliffe Bible Translators by organizing short term mission trips, coordinating volunteers and other activities. Agency President Bruce Smith says none of their workers were injured or killed in the tsunami, but they are helping the victims in Indonesia. “We’re closely working with local groups including local churches as part of the response. And, basically at this point we got about $200,000 in an emergency fund at Wycliffe Associates that we’ll empty.” The money will be used to provide food, shelter, medicines, water and other needs.

Mission Network News has been inundated with people wanting information on short term mission trips planned for the region. But, Smith says Indonesia isn’t ready for that yet. “What they don’t need right now is a flood of people who are ill equipped and unorganized just arriving into an arena that already has too few resources for the people that are in distress,” says Smith.

But, Smith says they are gearing up for a response. “What we’re gearing up for is working with our local partners there to determine exactly what kind of competencies are needed, what kind of time frame we’re talking about. And, so this is not an arena into which just everyone can just pack a suitcase and go.”

The few groups that are going are being asked to take their own tents, food and preventative medicines to prevent their own illness.

However, this disaster will need a long term response, says Smith. “This isn’t something that’s going to be solved with a $100 donation today or with praying for it this Sunday at your church service. This is something that’s going to be a chronic issue in this arena for the coming years. And, most of the organizations, including our own, are looking at this in the long term perspective rather than the short term.”

Smith says they WILL be organizing short term mission trips in the weeks ahead. Check our web site regularly, we’ll post them as soon as they become available.

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