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What are gringos good for?

One of our missionaries who works along the Amazon in Peru said something when she visited our office that stuck with me.   Our teams regularly minister in her village. They don’t speak the local language. They don’t really understand the culture. They need to be housed and fed. They ofte…
By Seth Barnes
Amazon canoeOne of our missionaries who works along the Amazon in Peru said something when she visited our office that stuck with me.
 
Our teams regularly minister in her village. They don’t speak the local language. They don’t really understand the culture. They need to be housed and fed. They often have bad attitudes and get sick.
 
So one day Crystal asked God a good question: “Lord, what are gringos good for?”
 
Gringos can do a few obvious things that may help a missionary: attract a crowd and play with kids and evangelize.
 
Many missionaries aren’t as gracious as Crystal. They’ve come to the conclusion that gringos are more trouble than they’re worth.
 
It’s a question we who do short-term missions need to ask and answer. I estimate that 75% of the time teams come without adequate preparation, are not accountable to a local missionary and have little understanding of how to advance the kingdom. Too many of them are narcissistic – addicted to comfort. They struggle to unplug enough to hear God. They need what the trip can do to them, but don’t want to pay the price.
 
Missionaries have to stop doing their missions work to take care of teams on their short-term mission work. The dirty secret is that they have mixed feelings about the gringos – they like some of them and need the financial support, but visiting teams leave them exhausted.
 
How do you answer the question?

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