In our minds, "short-term" means somewhere between 3 and 18 months, with some flexibility in special cases. And yes, though our focus as a mission is on long-term ministry, we very much welcome people who have this kind of time to offer, and are looking to lend a hand in moving the work forward. For some, it can also be a time of discovering whether long-term service is what God wants for them.
If you are interested in pursuing this route, then our goal is to find a happy match between you and one of our existing teams. "Happy", in this case, means that it is a win-win situation for both you and the team. You benefit by joining a group of missionaries that will take you under their wing, look after you, and do what they can to make the whole experience a positive one. That takes effort on their part. The pay-off for them is that, while overseas, you will actually be doing something worthwhile for the work.
Getting the right arrangement involves finding out what your skills, interests, and preferences are, and, from our end, poking around and making some enquiries.
It's great if you have some sort of training that can be used. Most applicants, however, either don't have specialized training, or, if they do, it's not applicable in any of our field situations. But you may be surprised at how useful you can be just by being you, overseas. Are you a native English speaker? In many situations that, of itself, can make you useful, as there are millions around the world who are learning English, but who never get a chance to practice with a native speaker. Can you do office work? How are you with computers? How do you feel about taking care of kids? Sometimes it might take a bit of flexibility on both sides, but we can almost always find a fit somewhere.
It really helps to go into this process with an attitude of "what can I do to help the team accomplish its goals better?" After all, this whole missions thing is about bringing glory to God by helping lost souls find Jesus. Having fun seeing new places and meeting new people is fine, but the real satisfaction, the kind one can still savour years later, comes from having made some real contribution to bringing new life to others. It is very much a team effort, and anything you can do that moves the effort along is worthwhile.
It's pretty standard overseas that there is so much work that missionaries find themselves spread too thin. And so we wind up with a situation that our most effective workers, people who have invested years into fluency in language and culture, find themselves cutting back on face-to-face time with people who need the gospel, who need discipling, or mentoring. Instead, they are doing things like administrative work, or supervising kids' home schooling. That's not to say these are unimportant tasks; they are absolutely essential. But if there were someone else who could step in and do them, that would free up that worker to focus more on ministry.
Looked at in isolation, most short-term placements are far from glamorous. However, what may seem like a grungy joe-job is almost certainly helping the team to do something in ministry that it would not be doing otherwise. And that is a contribution to the spread of the gospel that one can look back on with deep satisfaction.
Curious about what possibilities there are for you? Interested in getting your feet wet and making a contribution? Whether you are firmly committed to going, or just as firmly on the fence, we encourage you to visit our Contact page and start a dialogue with us. No pressure. No pressed commitments. Just help for you to find out where you need to be.