Is there an important distinction between religious missionaries and the people who seek to improve the lives of the less fortunate? Although many would assume that they come hand in hand, missions have been a topic of controversy for many years.
While the basis of the church is to spread peace, hope, and moral well-being of mankind, the end result is often much different. According to recent research, behind good intentions and a morally correct veil that creates a beacon of hope for the less fortunate, a more corrupt and unintentional broken system is revealed.
In countries like Mexico, lavish churches are built no more than 10 miles away from local villages where a percentage of the citizens’ income is taken. As the churches remain in luxury, many locals are forced to live in houses that are below the average standards of living, all just hoping that they will make it to the end of the day.
Teams are sent by their ministries thinking their service is of high value and purpose to these poverty-stricken areas, but the project being undertaken often displays results that show otherwise. Things such as painting the same building over and over again, funding fake orphanages in order to receive money from western states, and houses being built that are never put to use have become common themes in many areas.
Much of the money is often spent in areas where it could have been put to better use and is wasted. According to the Gospel Coalition, the money used for one mission trip to Central America to paint buildings in an impoverished town could have been enough to hire two local painters, two full-time teachers, and new uniforms for each student, stimulating the local economy in the process.
Missions provide a good moral basis for aid, foreign assistance and poverty awareness. Some of the aid from these missions are received properly and can be very effective. However, similar to foreign aid in general, it must be done in a way in which corruption and mismanagement can be avoided. This is obviously very difficult, but it is important that one strives for transparency and proper monitoring. If nothing is improved and the status quo remains the same, the existing poverty trap will continue to hold down the individuals in each country and prevent them from showing the world the potential that lives inside each one of them.