Short Term – it’s being the same that’s different

AIM’s vision is to see Christ-centred churches among all African people, with a priority for the unreached. So how do short term mission trips fit with this vision? We asked PJ Holmertz, the current Eastern Region Short Term Coordinator and soon to be International Short Term Programme Director for his views.

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It’s being the same that means we’re different

The fact that short term shares the same vision as all other AIM programmes, and sits alongside them, is what makes AIM distinctive. You see, within AIM, a short term trip is never an end unto itself. Short termers on the field aren’t involved in something that finishes when they leave, instead they are part of a chain of mission. When their service begins it is because of what has come before. When they leave, their ministry continues. They become an integral part of how AIM is reaching the unreached and building Christ-centred churches among all African peoples. The two, short term and long term mission, cannot be separated. And because of this integral link, I believe that short term mission with AIM offers individuals a strong introduction to mission as well as being a real benefit to the field.

Short termers on the field aren’t involved in something that finishes when they leave, instead they are part of a chain of mission.

The only limit we have on our short term programme is our imagination. There are so many places and ways in which short term missionaries can support those already ministering in Africa. There are so many long term missionaries and ministries that would massively benefit from having short termers working with them. Part of my role at the moment is to get alongside long term missionaries to help them reprogramme their own mindsets. To make them aware that there are people who are willing and able to help them for a time. This applies to myself as well. Recently we were down a member of administration staff in our office and we were struggling. Thankfully a short term mission worker got involved and was a tremendous help. Maybe they didn’t have the most exciting mission experience, but they played a big part in making sure others got to the mission field, to reach the unreached.

Are you called to such a time as this?

And what about you? It just may be that you have the skill and ability that’s needed on the field at this time. There are so many new and exciting ways for short termers to get involved in mission, we have people serving through maintaining vehicles, through discipleship in Bible colleges, and through using their medical skills and abilities. We have seen short termers make a big impact when they come out to the field as educational support for families. A busy family can end up getting caught up in the day to day. When a short termer arrives, dedicated to working with their children, parents are released into language learning, relationship building; into ministry.

short-term-PJ

Meet PJ Holmertz

For PJ & his wife Emily, following God is an adventure. Growing up in suburban Iowa, USA, both of them were involved with mission from an early age; going on short term mission trips to Mexico whilst still in High School. Perhaps it’s not surprising now that they’re continuing to follow God’s call into mission, using their varied experiences as they head up AIM’s Short Term programme. They live and work in Nairobi, Kenya, with their children Sarah & Aiden.

I need Africa more than Africa needs me

We only really ask one thing of you; come with a learner attitude. You will be impacted as much as you are there to make an impact. There’s a lot to learn from Africa and many opportunities to dive into language and culture. You won’t be coming to Africa to solve problems, you’ll be joining with the African people to learn, so that together, you move forward. A short term mission can radically alter your life and the lives of people you interact with on the field. To reach the unreached and build Christ-centred churches in Africa, we need people of every age, with a variety of skills and experiences to form that chain of ministry. Please consider whether God is calling you to come and work in Africa, and ultimately to learn more of him.

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