During my study abroad experience with Veritas Christian Study Abroad in Sevilla Spain, I have learned a lot about long-term missions. I had never met a missionary before coming to Spain, especially not one from Europe. I also had a very inaccurate view of full-time missionaries. After meeting Lara, Jon and Sandy, and Carey and Sharon, my whole view of long term missions has been changed. In the cases of both AMAD, TEAM, and the school with Carey and Sharon, they are working through long term goals and projects.
When I would go on my week to two week long mission trips, going door to door, painting churches, running a kid’s camp, and passing out water bottles on the streets is a good ministry. I never thought to assign other tasks to mission workers. The work of the missionaries that I have met is slow, and it requires much patience. When I came to Spain, knowing that we would be doing ministry with these missionaries, I thought that I would be doing all the things I would do on my week long mission trips with my church, just for three months. What, in fact, I did was assist them with their ministry for three months. I had to be the one to work slowly, and I was the one who required patience. When our outreach in Osuna did not work out as planned, Lara and Sandy did not blink an eye. We just ended up having a normal Saturday in Osuna. That is because their ministry is not focused and did not rely on that one park outreach that we had planned. The fact that 10 college students were walking around town passing out flyers was ministry enough. All we did that weekend as far as “service” goes was walk around town and bring attention to Lara, Sandy and Eva, who the town knows is associated with a Christian ministry. So even though our attempt at a park outreach failed, we still did what we came to do, which was to assist AMAD and bring exposure to that ministry. Another valuable thing I learned is what it really looks like to be an overseas missionary and be involved in cross cultural missions.
Paige Fincher, University of Arkansas, Spring 2014