We typically think of short-term missions as something that happens when people from North America cross cultures by traveling to an unfamiliar setting here or abroad. Recently, missionaries Mike and Megan Ribbens, who normally live in Abuja, Nigeria, crossed cultures by visiting their partner churches in North America. Part of their visit with those churches was helping the members learn more about the dynamics of relating and communicating across cultures. They discovered that many of their supporters, from rural as well as urban settings, are dealing with cross-cultural communication issues at home too.
This points again to the value of focused learning from STM experiences. The goal isn't just "seeing the ministry" and certainly isn't just the construction project completed. It enables us to minister more effectively in our increasingly diverse setting here. Intercultural communication opens us to more of God's world and His Church, which is incredibly varied today. It opens us to more of who God is.