“Mission Trips” and sanctified holidays

The photo above shows the countryside near where we were first offered rat to eat :)

The issue of “mission trips”, and the appropriateness of this arrogant terminology, has been raised again in the circles I frequent on Facebook. I’ve aired my thoughts on this before, first pointing to Vinodth Ramachandra’s fine post Who Says “No” to “Mission Trips”? And then a few days later venturing some of my own thoughts in Further thoughts on “Missions Trips”.

The topic is germane for me at present as we are planning a (hopefully “sanctified”) holiday later this year when Barbara is on sabbatical.

  1. I refuse to call our trip a “mission trip”,1 real mission implies incarnation and we do not speak the language(s) of any of the places we might visit. (Though we have visited each and have friendships to renew.)
  2. I hope that, after our visit, the people who receive us will feel we have given to them something of value, more than just the teaching that will (since we are both teachers) provide the excuse for our visits.2
  3. I intend to have a holiday (this is after all not a “mission trip” but a sanctified holiday) but expect that in each country we spend longer on visiting and teaching than we do as tourists, and that while we are touristing we continue to learn about the places and the people so that we can more meaningfully support their missions in prayer and interest on our return.
  4. I hope and pray that on our return we can share something of the experience and learning with others who do not have the blessing of being able to make such visits.

PS: In the post in 2010 I said that although I expected that visitors on such sanctified holidays would eat with their hosts I did not expect such visitors to eat snake or rat, I doubt we will this time be offered either, but can report that snake soup is nourishing and rat is tasty of rather boney!

  1. Hence the reference to a sanctified holiday. []
  2. This was my greatest disappointment in our two visits so far to CTS, that we did not have much chance to begin to get to know the staff. One of the greatest joys, was that some of the students were courageous enough to break down the barriers and invite us to begin to get to know them! []