Tent-maker missionary Dave Bucher (Saipan) recently wrote to Marissa Phelps, a Work & Witness trip participant.
"At one point I questioned the value of the short-term, work and witness mission trip. Two hundred people spending $500 each is $100,000. That's enough money to support two or more career missionary families on a mission field. However, I have now come to the conclusion that the short-term trip can be a component of good mission strategy.
"Work and Witness will never replace the full time, career missionary that is trained in the language and culture and missiology. But the short-termers' work is a great shot in the arm for a mission field. It can create visibility for the Kingdom that a handful of highly-trained people could not create in two entire life times.
"Beyond the impact on the field, a short term mission trip has a contagious spirit that is carried back to the local church and district, or as in the case of the SNU 'Commission Unto Mexico' trip, an entire region. There is enthusiasm that will result in more than another $100,000 being willingly offered up to the cause of world evangelism. It will result in more than two individuals answering a call to full-time Christian work. Only God knows how it will all fit together."
"I remember the excitement of being selected, the thrill of boarding a plane in Miami and landing on a different country’s soil for the first time.
"I was one of 50 college students chosen for Nazarene Student Mission Corps (now Youth in Mission) in the summer of 1976. Our mission was to help start the Church of the Nazarene in the Dominican Republic. And with God’s help we were able to start 10 new churches in just 10 weeks!
"I could tell you about the dysentery, the endless flies, sporadic electricity, cramped sleeping quarters, or no privacy. But I’d rather tell you what I learned.
"I learned about missionary life by observing Jerry and Toni Porter and also Louis and Ellen Bustle. I saw their frustrations with everyday living in making ends meet financially and yet I shared in their joy of serving God on the field.
"I learned how to start a new church, including passing out tracts, holding tent meetings with loud music and preaching. I shared in the excitement as I watched 'Iglesia Del Nazareno' signs posted on storefronts serving as sanctuaries. I took part in the actual construction of a church building, marveling that it was funded through Alabaster offerings.
"Personally, I learned how to meet new people, to communicate even when I didn’t know the language very well, to give of myself when I was tired, and to try new things.
"In that summer I learned some of what it takes to be a missionary."