One Conversation at a Time
My team and I have been revamping our entire short-term team sending process. Our desire is to form long-lasting relationships between donors and our World Hope global projects. We have narrowed our focus and will intentionally send three types of trips: Partnership, Vision, and Emergency Relief.
A partnership trip is geared toward churches, individuals, or groups that have an ongoing, consistent partnership with a World Hope location or project. One example of this is Cornerstone Wesleyan Church in Nova Scotia. Cornerstone is at the beginning of a four year Village Partnership with Kenenday village in Sierra Leone. A Village Partnership supports individuals in identifying their most pressing needs and trains communities to make sound decisions and take action towards change.
When discussing partnership trips, it is important to distinguish between missions and partnership. Oftentimes, when we think of a missions trip, we think of building structures, painting walls, and holding orphans. What we miss in the midst of filling every second with a project are the moments that matter. These moments may include breaking bread at the table with locals, going on a walk with someone and hearing their story, or celebrating a birthday! Partnership is one conversation at a time.
When we take time to observe and be in these moments, we are able to learn and understand the deepests needs, desires, and dreams of a community. This creates a stronger partnership which gives the opportunity to empower local people who have the skills and education to build up their communities. Cornerstone is now able to encourage and meet the people of the village with which they are partnered; this is a huge opportunity!
It is easy to justify a trip when there are immediate results (like a painted building), but you cannot put a price on relationships. By Cornerstone visiting Kenenday, they are making long-lasting friendships and showing that their intentions are to listen to the needs of their friends and provide support in the best way possible.
Our goal for serving must be for the good of others. When we approach missions with the posture that we are going to change their world in a few days, the good of others is not at hand. When we change our mindset and go to learn, support, and stand beside the people we are working with, we leave behind a cleaner footprint.