Ricardo Hernández, pastor of Manuel Arévalo Presbyterian Church, served as a missionary in the rural Peruvian town of Celendín for over two years. Hernández believes that missionaries, whether they serve for a week or a lifetime, provide a strong example of what it truly means to live self-sacrificially. “Whenever someone comes to do a missionary trip, I believe that this demonstrates that person’s identification with the reality of those whom he came to serve. And this shows us what Jesus Christ is like. Jesus Christ did not just say, ‘Okay, I’m going to see from heaven how I’m going to save humanity.’ Instead, He descended and was there with the ones He wanted to save. He lived their reality, lived what hunger is, what thirst is, what injustice is.”
The long-term effects of short-term missions
There is tremendous value, then, in the mere fact of the missionaries' presence. But, as you might have guessed, their presence alone only goes so far in lifting up the local church. The actual projects a short-term team executes on the field are of incredible value. “They are of great help for the church,” says Avellaneda. “For example, the Bethesda Clinic in Wichanzao—thanks to the short-term teams, we have what we have there.” For his part, Hernández singles out the efforts of ministers who come to preach and teach, edifying the local churches in Peru. From construction, to medical ministry, to evangelism and teaching, short-term missionaries can make a significant difference during their short time on the field.