Using short-term missions to develop long-term partnerships between American churches and on-field national ministries.
Becoming involved in short-term mission work was in the back of our minds way back in 2002. International Christian Academy, the missionary children’s boarding school where we served since 1990, had moved to a semester schedule that provided a three-month summer break. Having hosted a short-term team in Cote d’Ivoire, we saw firsthand the great benefits short-term missions brings, not only to the on-field missionary and national personnel, but also to the sending church.
Considering ministry options during the three-month summer break, we discussed short-term mission opportunities with WorldVenture’s Africa Director. We considered the possibility of helping take care of the logistics for short-term missionaries coming to Cote d’Ivoire. Little did we know the Lord was about to accelerate that plan and turn it into a full-time ministry, encompassing WorldVenture’s West Africa fields of Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, and Senegal.
When civil war broke out in Cote d’Ivoire in 2002, ICA was temporarily closed. We remained in the United States until the school reopened in August 2004. But in November of that year, as bombs fell on the city of Bouak, we knew our ministry at ICA was coming to an end. Evacuating in a convoy through the rebel-held territory in Northern Cote d’Ivoire, we spent several days in Mali, debriefing with others who also evacuated out of the country. After discussion with mission personnel, we decided to move to Senegal and assume a position that had just weeks before been requested by the Senegal field.
Since 2005, we have helped host and facilitate dozens of groups from the United States seeking firsthand missions involvement in West Africa. Partnering with WorldVenture missionaries in Senegal, Mali, Guinea, and Cote d’Ivoire and with national church associations in each country, we have helped connect American churches and individuals directly with ministries on the field, providing a life-changing experience for many.