Band-Aids for the Poor

Brad M. Griffin | Aug 25, 2010

This week a member of our original Short-Term Missions think tank, Cari Jenkins, pointed out to us an entry on the Invisible Children blog: Discuss: putting Band-Aids on the developing worldliterally, or, Does being a foreigner make you qualified to help in the developing world?

The author tells stories that feel all-too-close-to-home for many of us, about short-term teams attempting to do things they arent equipped to do, often with great intentions but misplaced effort and money. Quoting the post directly:

Since coming to Gulu, Ive had the chance to meet hundreds of foreign visitors, many of whom saw their time in Uganda as a chance to do something, to achieve something. Ive met short-term missionaries who paid $4,000 US each to spend 10 days in an internally displaced peoples camp. Every morning they evangelized to camp residents; every afternoon they cleaned wounds and put Band-Aids on people. When I asked if any trained medical staff were among the groupmostly teenagersthe group leader, a first-time visitor to Uganda, shook her head.

Im still all for short-term missions. But as we navigate the waters of respectfully coming alongside locals in our preparation and action, lets keep in mind that Band-Aids really arent always the best answer to systemic problems

Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Senior Director of Content for the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, blogger, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is the coauthor of Faith in an Anxious World, Growing Young, several Sticky Faith books, Every Parent’s Guide to Navigating Our Digital World, and the series Can I Ask That?: 8 Hard Questions about God and Faith. Brad and his family live in Southern California.


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