In anticipation of a new rash of these letters, we repost one of our favorites originally published in 2010.
Each spring Lorie and I receive about thirty requests to help people we know with their missions trip or service project by making a contribution. We give to one or two each year, usually because we believe in a young person’s potential and want to assist their formative experiences.
But each spring we also marvel at the inefficiency of these projects, the cultural mis-assumptions they perpetuate, how much they seem like mere tourism, and whether there is any real religious or humanitarian benefit. Not that we are opposed to people traveling and gaining experience. We would, however, support a better way should one emerge.
To help matters along, here is a template people might use in asking for my financial support. Please feel free to check the appropriate boxes to help me understand what you are doing and how Lorie and I might help. Rather than send it to me via e-mail, you might spring for a postage stamp to help prop up the U.S. postal service.
-mark l vincent