People talk about mission trips all the time, we debate about whether they are positive or negative. We hear horror stories, like volunteers practicing medicine in Africa despite not having any medical training (one particular story says a Virginia woman is responsible for over 100 African children’s deaths). We hear about our donations killing the local economy. We hear about the good done too, the water brought to remote villages. The vaccines we get to people who need them.
It’s a mixed bag, but whether or not you agree with the practice or not, I want to know why churches and other communities have shifted their focus overseas when there is a lot of pain and suffering in our backyard.
I’m not claiming that these organizations or churches aren’t also helping people in their local community, but in church the guest missionary speakers are always the ones returning from overseas. Their stories are more exciting to us. The teenagers doing missions or other volunteer work would rather go to Africa than the neighboring state. You hardly ever see a go fund me to volunteer upstate. It’s easy to understand how it’s happened, but it’s hard to process why it is still happening in such volume when we know that these trips don’t always have positive effects. When we know that all the money we’re spending on plane tickets could be spent to clothe and feed children that need it in our backyard.