Servants in Faith and Technology article on "Reasons to Serve"
The following article is from the Southern Institute For Appropriate Technology, Servants in Faith and Technology, Lineville, Alabama. The story relates to how our work, whether it be at a church camp, children’s home, local church, or on a disaster rebuild project, impacts those that we encounter. I know that many of you have had the opportunity to work around youth at camps, homeowners on community outreach and disaster rebuilding projects, and church members on local projects. How many of you have asked yourself, “are we really doing any good?” “Why don’t we just give ____________?” With the cost of fuel today, how many of us are asking, “Why not just send some money, the cost of travel is too high now.” Read about Pastor Rafael and Angel Roman.
From the Desk of Tom Corson, SIFAT Executive Director
In early May, we had a work team at SIFAT from Texas. One of our visitors questioned the effectiveness of short-term missions versus just sending money. She felt that taking teams cost so much, while sending money is more cost effective.
Recently, we were talking with our graduates Anita and Pastor Rafael in Ecuador about the upcoming teams that will be serving with them to build an afterschool facility, allowing more than 100 children to come learn about Jesus and receive tutoring in their schoolwork. Pastor Rafael and Anita shared how impacted they were to understand the sacrifices some of the team members made to come help every year. They mentioned the fundraisers that were done to provide the needed resources and the prayers that were lifted up for their projects and people. They said it is not as easy as we thought everything was for you in the USA. You are just like us – working hard to make sure our ministry is successful, giving so much to come for only one week to serve in our ministry. Your being here means so much to us!
Yesterday, I picked up Angel Roman, one of our Bolivia graduates. He is 34 and serving with us in Alabama this summer. We were talking about his childhood and how he had survived as an orphan thanks to SIFAT. One of the things that impacted him the most as a child was a team from Columbus, Ga. At 11 years old, he had been abandoned, felt unloved and was contemplating suicide. As is customary there, we had a welcome ceremony. He remembers being dirty with holes in his shirt, wearing his only shoes, flip flops that he found in the garbage that were pinned together with a plastic bag. He felt unworthy of attention. A team member went out of her way to hug Angel and used broken Spanish to tell him that she loved him – and God loved him! Angel ran behind the hog pen and cried, because no one had ever told him they loved him. At that moment, he felt God’s presence and knew He was real. Today, Angel is one of our leaders in Bolivia, helping us make a difference for the Kingdom.
We see the impact short-term missions has in the lives of the people we are going to serve, but sometimes we do not see the difference it makes on our people serving. The common saying I always hear from team members is we have gone to serve, but we are the ones receiving the blessings! As our teams begin to travel again this summer, our attention is on Jesus’ marching orders in Matthew 28:18, “Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.”