Short-term missions: effective impact in Mexico

short-term missions

(Photo courtesy MOSES)

Mexico (MNN) — Sometimes a small team can do an amazing amount of work. For example, MOSES, Inc. just brought a short-term missions team of 20 down to Ensenada, Mexico.

They built two homes for impoverished families in only a week.

“Our little 16 x 20 three-room home is like a castle for them, in many cases,” says Judy VanderArk with the MOSES team. “One was extremely challenging because it had to be built up high on stilts. It’s important for us to keep our kids safe.”

The trip to Mexico is one of three annual short-term missions trips MOSES gathers teams for. They also travel on Weekend Trips throughout the year.

While part of the MOSES team worked on construction projects, another group split off to help with Vacation Bible Schools at seven different churches.

“We help with the games and the crafts, and they do the puppet shows; they lead the songs with the motions,” VanderArk explains. “We figure it’s best that they [the national ministry leaders] do the primary share of the presentation because they can do the follow-up after we’re gone.”

While completing construction projects and helping under-resourced churches were the main assignments for this team, demonstrating Christ’s love to those who might not believe was their primary purpose.

“On the last day, we gather up all of our team, even those that were at the VBS sites, and…we’ll circle and join hands, and we pray and sing,” VanderArk says.

“One of the people that worked on the project, usually a teen, will present the key to the new owner and a Bible that’s signed by all the members of the team. It’s a very emotional time, usually.”

MOSES is a peer-led ministry, which means teens are responsible for the physical and spiritual impact on trips, while adults come along as chaperones. Most of MOSES “regulars” have grown past the age where they can lead trips. But this Mexico trip was perhaps the first for a new generation of student leaders.

“I’m optimistic about next year because I think four or five of these young people would make really excellent peer leaders next year,” shares VanderArk.

Contact VanderArk to see how you, or a student leader you know, can join the next MOSES trip.