When speaking to a group of short-term mission leaders about my concerns regarding the short-term mission trend, I commented that the short-term mission movement was “arguably the first time in Christian mission history where the mission is being is being done for the benefit of the missionary.”I don't remember ever making the connection with Peter and Cornelius before. But it is worth pondering. Did you notice that statement "is arguably more life-changing for Peter"? Though I appreciate his insight and intent (and article in general), I wonder if Mr. Borthwick isn't wrong again in his conclusion at this point. It seemed profoundly life-changing for both -- Peter's world-view and ministry philosophy shattered; Cornelius's life (and household) transformed for now and eternity.
After my observation, I re-read the encounter of Peter with Cornelius in Acts 10. For the first time I realized that my comment was wrong. Peter's “short-term mission” to Cornelius is arguably more life-changing for Peter than it was for Cornelius. (Will Willimon calls this Peter’s “second conversion.”)
It reminds of my youngest son's experience on the Hungarian Speak Out '07 project. The experience was profound in his life--stepping out in faith and seeing God use him. And yet, by the grace of God, he was also used profoundly in the lives of some Hungarian youth--so much so that I heard unsolicited stories of his impact again last month.
Who benefits most in short-term missions? My genuine hope and prayer is that the answer is "both...and", not "either...or". That is the end we should seek.