I recently led a short-term group to work with our long-term team in South Asia. During our time there we taught art and dance classes for children in the main city as well as surrounding villages. The team has successfully run a dance school and art gallery for over a year. It’s rare for children in this area to have access to dance and art, so the team has provided unique resource to the community that has turned out to be very popular. Right now there are children from all over the city on waiting lists for their classes.
As a short-term team, our goal for the trip was supporting this long-term work. We helped spread the word about the gallery and dance school. The free classes we offered built excitement and provided opportunities for new members of the community to get to know the South Asia team. While we were there, new relationships were started and new students joined their programs.
It wasn’t our place to show up in that particular area, throw around the name of Jesus, and leave. There are very few Christians where we were, and we could cause problems for the long-term missionaries if we spoke carelessly about Christianity to people they did not know well. We talked to people about God and our faith in general terms when the moment was right, but those moments did not occur all the time. We were able to talk about our faith more in depth with local believers.
The South Asia team has a tried and true method of outreach. Before anything else, they seek to establish relationships with the local people. Only after trust and friendship have been established, do they introduce discussions about God. Over their years of faithful service, they have loved their community well and disciples have been made.
So through our efforts during our two week trip, the team has new families interested in their programs, new students, and new relationships with parents and their friends. We also made new friends, taught classes to children, prayed for the nations there, and supported the work of the long-term team.