Do Short Termers Really Contribute?

January 01, 2006 | President's Slice
By Joe Hale

No matter what you think of the Mormon Church, I believe they have a fabulous plan when it comes to short-term service overseas. Can you imagine how much could be accomplished if somehow we could mobilize the Church so that our young people would all be encouraged to give at least two years in overseas service! What a difference it would make in them, not to mention the vast amount of work they could accomplish.

NICS has been blessed greatly by those who commit to serve for two years—an amount of time commonly referred to as a “short-term” commitment. I cannot say how grateful I am for these folks. Of course, any agency desiring to produce long-term results needs long-term people, but the fact is, many of these short-termers do, in fact, become long-term staff for various reasons.

Moving into a world of the unknown and full of uncertainties, it is indeed difficult for anyone to make a career decision on the front end—especially if there hasn’t even been a survey trip beforehand. A two-year commitment is long enough to experience and work through culture shock, field adjustments, ups-and-downs, successes and failures, etc., after which one can make a more informed decision regarding a longer stay. Our experience has been just that—our long-term, vocational people come mostly from those who are initially short-term people.

For those who complete their short-term commitment and return to their home country, they can feel that they have succeeded, contributed and learned much, becoming people much more “world” minded than those who have never had the cross-cultural living experience. These people will be enriched throughout their lives because of their experience.

So, when people ask me why we encourage overseas placement for so many short-termers in NICS, my reply is simple: “Because they are a major force for the cause for which we exist!” They’re some of my heroes!


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