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Short-term mission has long-term benefits

The African sun had just set. No streetlights lit up the dark and winding road. The mission car screeched to a halt as it hit something hard. A bull rolled over the hood, breaking the windshield. Its horns pierced 8-year-old Esther Von Kompen's forehead, who was asleep in the front seat. Esther's brain tissue gushed out as she was rushed to the closest hospital. The short-term mission doctor on call came to the rescue.

A woman's right leg was badly damaged in a car accident. The native witch doctor couldn't help, so she was brought to the mission hospital. Just before her leg-amputation surgery, a doctor's wife prayed with her and told her about Christ.

These are but a few of the unique cases our family experienced in three short-term medical mission trips to Africa. My husband, John, and I are members of Faith Lutheran Church in Rochelle, Ill. Originally from India, John has been in private surgical practice for 23 years.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America provides many avenues of short- and long-term mission service. Medical professionals, teachers, translators, house mothers, construction workers and people with various skills are needed for overseas mission work. Call (773) 380-2650 for information.

Touched by missionaries ourselves, my family was thrilled when, in 1988, God called us to short-term mission. Our sons, Larry and Ernie, joined us on that trip to Swaziland, Africa. God used every member of our family in unique ways. We discovered that mission is a two-way street. We helped accident victims like Esther and the amputee. But others ministered to us and strengthened our faith too.

Once I got caught in a military coup as I left a country. John, who had stayed behind, was concerned for my safety. An African operating room nurse witnessed to my husband with a Bible verse that sustained him until he heard I was safe: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).

Short-term mission opportunities are a great way to share the good news. And the benefits are long-term.


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