Sounds good, right? There are a number of mission agencies in the world who advertise like this. One in particular will give you a free book telling you why Westerners should not be missionaries because it takes more than $30,000 to move them there and that same money could support hundreds of native missionaries who don't have to go through language training or worry about culture shock.
Many times I've been asked the same question: "Why should we come visit you when we could just send the money from the plane ticket to hire locals to do the same work?" And in many cases, I do think sending some money would be a better thing to do. In other cases, I don't think very much money ever comes in from people who've almost decided to go.
But arguments for supporting native missionaries, sponsoring children and donating to missionary charity efforts tend to rely on making sure you know that we over here (on the mission field) are better off if you give us your money versus you spending that money on something else, whether that be a trip to the field or a swimming pool in your back yard. So the only thing you consider is whether you should give your money to "missions" or spend it on yourself. You can see where this is leading. You feel guilty spending money on yourself so you give it to missions.
What is usually left out of consideration (and many agencies don't want you to go there) is whether or not the missions program you are giving to is a good thing. Most just assume, "It's missions so it's all good." "They're helping the poor--what could be wrong with that?" "We have so much compared to them. What is just a little for us really goes a long way over there."
But just continually supporting native missionaries or sponsoring a child can create dependency. More on this later.
What about you? Do you have experience in giving out of guilt while assuming the recipient has a worthy program?
Tomorrow I will share with you about what happens when some missionaries come to town with big plans...