When our daughter was in the eighth grade, she joined a short-term mission team from her youth group. Working with a ministry dedicated to this type of ministry, the teens built a house for a Mexican family who until then had been living in a cardboard hut.
It was a great experience for her, and a great blessing for the newly-housed family.
Construction projects are very popular among short-term mission teams. You don’t need to learn another language, you can use skills you already have, the project can fit into a short time frame, and you are providing tangible results for appreciative locals. With all the hugs and smiles, you certainly return home feeling as if you have accomplished something worthwhile. Our friends and family have roofed churches, built medical dispensaries, constructed playgrounds, and painted sanctuaries.
But is it always appropriate to travel to another country to build something? Is that the best way to bless the people and encourage the church there? Or is it sometimes just a way to check off “good deed” on our spiritual to-do lists?