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Mobilization through short-term mission trips

By AfriGO Team

Imagine a group of young people travelling together along the coast of northern Mozambique. They are from Lesotho, Botswana and Kenya. Are they tourists? University students on assignment? No. They are young missionaries on a four-week trip.

An unreached people group, the Macua Nahara, practice folk Islam and are highly suspicious of outsiders. Education levels are low, with only 20 per cent of men and five per cent of women able to read and write. They are resistant to the gospel.

In October 2019, five inexperienced but enthusiastic missionaries came into this situation. Some had dreams of being missionaries for many years. Others, like Rosy from Lesotho, heard about the trip in church: “I was so inspired by the stories that I just wanted to go out and see how I could be of use.”

Team leader August Basson is an experienced missionary whose dream is to mobilize African missionaries. Last year, he led a team of young men to southern Tanzania, and the Harvest Team ministry was born.

The group travelled to a small village on the coast, making their home in a mud house for most of a week. They learnt some of the local language, held a youth programme, led sports, and learnt and taught songs. They helped round up the kids so the local missionary could teach God’s Word, and even used phonetics to help teach people to read and write.

South African missionary Grant Franke and his family have lived and worked among the Nahara for eight years. He taught the team phrases in the Nahara language every day and they went around the village repeating those phrases, inviting people to come to Bible teachings as well as lessons on agriculture and literacy. Grant said attendance went up by 1000 per cent and that many women came along – a rarity in that community.

The young teenage girls of the village bonded with the mostly female Harvest team. These girls live in a physically dangerous environment, and they felt safe with the team members. When saying goodbye, many of the girls were sobbing.

4.4 harvest 2Grant said: “It is unbelievably effective when Africans are missionaries to Africa. They built more trust in four weeks than I could in four years.” He says he is frequently asked when the team will return.  Sadly, there are usually few long-term effects in communities visited by short-term mission teams. They build goodwill or address social needs, but the real long-term results come in the lives of team members and their churches. Harvest Team member Lerato said: “I had considered pursuing a career as a missionary – now I’m surer I want to be in this full-time.”

Most long-term missionaries say going on short-term trips confirmed their callings. Those who do not go are more likely to become long-time supporters and prayer partners of those on the field.

Short-term trips create excitement in the local church, which rallies support and prayer for those they send. Short-term trips are an effective tool for mobilizing people to go, to give, and to pray for people groups around the world.

Team members, top photo:  August Basson of South Africa, Maureen Nyambura of Kenya, Leratho Lesoetsa of Lesotho, Thato Mokgethi of Botswana, Neo Moeti and Rosy Langane of Lesotho.

Are you interested in short-term missions?  Contact August Basson at august.basson@aimint.org to learn about the Harvest Teams.

Media specialist Hailey McNeill accompanied the Harvest Team. Watch their exciting journey on Facebook at www.facebook.com/The-Harvest-Africa-116173849768069/. It will inspire you!

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