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Swearingin, Mary. A Look at Short-Term Missions. (thesis) Johnson City, Tenn.:
Emmanuel School of Religion, 1996.
Summary: Author uses her own journal from an STM in Mexico and surveys sent to other STM participants to find a response to commonly voiced praises of and concerns about STMs. Concludes that STMs are here to stay, that they can help long-term missionaries, that the primary role of STM participants is to be learners, that planning should start at least 6 months before trip, that realistic goals should be developed for trip, that participants should not go with the attitude that they are on vacation, and that cost of trip should be kept down (recommends bringing own food as one way to do this).
Methodology: Sent 60 surveys to people who had participated in STMs through Christian Missionary Fellowship, InterVarsity, or East Tennessee State University Christian Student Fellowship (26 were returned). Also sent surveys to 18 missionaries who had hosted interns, youth groups, mission teams, etc.
- Most common reason for going on trip was exploring a career in missions; others included learning language, learning about overseas work of church and missionaries, finding out if they could deal with a foreign culture and being away from family, etc.
- Most common thing learned was that the people in the host country were people just like the short-term workers.
- General consensus was the STMs were definitely worth the time and money invested, because encourage long-term missionaries, bring supplies that would be expensive to buy in host country, provide gestures of goodwill to nationals.
- Recommended that groups set clear goals, that there be some sort of cultural orientation ahead of time and a debriefing after the trip, that STM participants be accountable to someone else, and that STM participants have a flexible attitude.