I'm preparing to go on another short-term mission trip. By the time you read this, I’ll be on my way home from Malaysia with at team of twenty-six students and faculty serving with our Christian brothers and sisters there. While we’re there, we’ll teach three, two-day music and worship workshops in which our students will offer eleven different sessions from guitar to song leading to basic worship philosophy. We will also offer music that we’ve learned in the last several months – both songs from our country and others but, most importantly, music from the Malaysian culture that our students have transcribed from oral sources and arranged for our pick-up choir. As you can imagine, we’ll also enjoy this beautiful country, its natural beauty, and its delectable cuisine.
Each year as I prepare to take students to other countries for music and missions engagement, the question comes up about whether all of this is worthwhile. Is the financial and human capital that we invest worth what is accomplished? Could the money be invested toward training by local leaders or by enhancing existing in-country structures?