Humanitarian Tours as Short-Term Mission
Keywords:Short-Term Mission, Humanitarian Tours, Middle East
Between 2015 and 2019, several of my Christian friends, seminary professors, and Christian organization leaders with whom I am acquainted, in the United States and in Asia, indicated to me that they had gone on short-term mission trips or survey/vision trips to the Middle East. In that same period, when my husband and I were serving in Jordan, we encountered numerous short-term teams. For example, in 2017, a local church near a major Syrian refugee settlement informed us they received short-term mission teams virtually every week throughout the year. To date, however, short-term mission research has not yet been done on the relatively new phenomenon of short-term mission trips to the Middle East.
This paper is based on first-hand field experience in the Middle East with the goal of offering analysis, reflection, and evaluation of this particular trend in short-term mission engagement. In addition to drawing on own experience serving refugees for a few years in Jordan as well as month in Turkey, I communicated with seven fellow long-term workers serving in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. Additionally, I conducted a formal interview with the director of a Christian NGO in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The names of locations and organizations are intentionally withheld in this paper to protect my fellow workers’ ministries on the ground.