Thank you for your heart for orphaned and vulnerable children.
Over the last few years, countless individuals and organizations have joined the conversation and sparked a global movement toward reevaluating and redefining how we serve orphaned and vulnerable children through short-term missions. Around the world, governments and nonprofits alike are committing themselves to better serving the children in their care. We’re inviting you to join us.
Because you’re reading this catalyst, we know you have a heart for children and want to see your short-term mission teams have a deeper impact for the gospel. We believe the shared research and information contained herein will help you accomplish that goal.
Short-term mission teams have become a significant player on the scene of global missions, and over the last few years we’ve learned more and more about the impact these teams have on vulnerable children around the world. Research now shows that some common practices are having a measurable negative effect on the very children they are designed to serve. This can be hard to hear, and harder still to know what to do with such information.
But there’s hope! As we know more, we can do better. Together, we’re working toward a new model of short-term missions that strengthens families, empowers caregivers, and helps children thrive.
It can be easy to feel frustrated or discouraged when we learn how our best intentions may have caused harm. As you read through this information and make decisions about your involvement in short-term missions, please give yourself permission to wrestle through these complex emotions. Change will take time, prayer, wisdom, and a large measure of grace.
This is a large task, and there are no easy answers to many of the questions we’ll face. Together we are working to create pathways to potential solutions by sparking creativity within each organization’s unique situation and providing a team of credible, hands-on mentors to walk alongside you. Like many aspects of ministry, the process will likely be messy and complicated, yet full of unexpected beauty and marked by long-term, relational commitment – all of it designed to bring glory to God.
Many facts and resources are presented. Keep in mind that every word and idea is centered on two key goals: what is best for children, and what keeps the gospel as the center of it all. Thank you for sharing these goals and joining us as we seek the Father’s heart for orphaned and vulnerable children around the globe!
SOE is grateful to those organizations who participated in the development process and support of the efforts to develop and produce this guide. Some of the organizations are indicated below:
- Faith to Action
- All God’s Children
- Open Arms International
- Child Development International
- Forward Edge
- World Orphans
- Adventures in Mission