by Bob Gerow
"Who knew that a "short-term" mission trip would leave such "long-term" results!" —Jon
"I never thought so much could change in my life in only ten days." —Kara
A significant part of AMG's ministry is Mission Adventures—planning and hosting short-term mission trips abroad. Fotis Romeos, AMG's Eastern Europe director, views a mission trip as one way of introducing young and old alike to a vision of what God is doing in and for a lost world.
Jason Schultz has for several years been missions trips coordinator at the AMG home office. He reports, "My role as a team leader has been a privilege. That privilege is many-sided. It has given me first hand opportunity to see the life-changing difference an AMG childcare center brings to a community. It is also a joy to see God change the lives of team members. Stepping outside their familiar places and seeing how others live and how God touches them is life-altering."
Though each team's experience is unique, there is one common highlight—home visitation. Teams are often divided into small groups to visit the homes in which AMG-sponsored children live. A team member's first experience is customarily at a childcare center, where the children are clean and all are wearing their school uniforms. It is often a different story when team members visit the homes. There they witness families struggling to survive in small and often improvised structures. The rooms are small. In many of the homes, an entire family will live in one room. Where there are two rooms, the family sleeps in one, and eats, rests, and finds safety from the rain in the other. This kind of struggle is often hard to grasp for both team members and team leaders.
Mike LaBerge, M.D., helped lead a short-term medical mission early in 2005. "Our mission was to provide quality medical and dental care, with an evangelical emphasis. We were free to pray with our patients and encouraged to reach out with the love of Christ. Our group included our pastor, seven physicians, two dentists, pharmacy and nursing staff, and our interpreters. Each team member had a special role in the work that needed to be done. We were particularly blessed to see God working in the hearts of the people in Guatemala. Two of our physicians had the privilege of seeing three patients come to faith in Jesus Christ. One patient said she would pray for our group for the next year and hoped we'd come back! For me, it was a wonderful experience to be in a place where God is very much at work in the lives of His people."
AMG short-term ministry trip objectives and destinations are as varied as AMG's ministry initiatives around the world. Many are scheduled by AMG staff to meet particular ministry needs, and individuals are invited to participate. Churches or other groups with a specific interest or destination can also contact AMG about ministry and service opportunities. As in 2004, AMG is planning several short-term ministry trips during the February, 2006, Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy.
If you or your church would like more information about planning a short-term mission trip or if you would like to participate as part of a short-term mission team with AMG, please contact Pete Lefakis at 800-251-7206 or e-mail him at email@example.com.