AFM typically send outs more than 25 student and short-term missionaries (SM/STMs) a year. While each missionary raises part of their expenses, AFM is responsible for a subsidy that totals $210,000. Is it worth it?
Student and short-term missionaries perform vital functions that directly touch the souls of the unreached and expand our career missionaries’ capacity to minister. Whether working as nurses/health educators, teachers or in maintenance, the enthusiasm and energy SM/STMs bring injects vitality into projects. Many of our SM/STMs are actively leading people into saving relationships with Jesus Christ.
Yes, the price is worth it for the value they bring to AFM projects. But there is a much deeper reason for having student missionaries. You cannot experience life in a third-world culture without being radically changed yourself. Seeing the needs of destitute people and those cowering in fear at the power of demonic spirits shifts your worldview and teaches you how truly blessed you are. Self-centeredness gives way to compassion, and independence melts into God’s sustaining arms.
One student missionary described it this way: “My decision [to stay and serve a second year] was ultimately made because that was what I felt God was calling me to do. It wasn’t an easy decision to make. I don’t want to spend another year away from home and family, and I don’t want my entire class to graduate before I get back to college. But I know God’s plans are always better than my own. I have no idea what next year or even next week has in store. But I do know God has a plan. Although here on earth I may never fully understand the part He is calling me to play, I still choose to trust His guidance.”
Faith. Self-denial. Humbleness. These are a few of the lessons our SM/STMs learn in cross-cultural ministry. I am so proud of them all! Their lives continue to impact thousands, both in the mission field and here at home.
Is it worth it to have student missionaries? Yes! A thousand times yes!
Your gift to the student missionary fund is an investment not only in the lives of the unreached, but also in the lives of our future church leaders. Dare to be generous in this investment!