What I learned from missionaries in the Dominican Republic : loosen the agenda, hold onto the vision; cherchando is an important part of transformational development
Author(s)Yu, Sandra (Sandra M.)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
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Missionaries go into the field with the desire to transform lives - not just spiritually and not just materially, but entirely, or in current lingo, holistically. Such an ambitious goal, combined with the burden of the long and varied legacy that follows the word "missionary," can create a lot of pressure to perform. As development experts can attest, the West feels a heavy responsibility to "do something" for the Rest. This paper is about Students International (SI), a Christian missionary organization that seeks to transform both the communities in which they work and the students who come to serve alongside their missionaries in occupational ministries. The focus on service opportunities based on occupations (education, art, construction, health, dental care, etc.) has value. However, as I began to write about SI as an organization, its goals, how it functions and how student participants evaluate their experiences, it seemed that, at least for the agricultural site, some of the most interesting insights, meaningful connections and transformative experiences happen outside of the planned activities, and are realized afterwards through reflection (follow-up surveys help). SI's goal of transforming lives may be best met through loosening that feeling of needing to "do something," and just hanging out more, or cherchando'.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2007.Includes bibliographical references (p. 71-72).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.