Relief efforts are different from development efforts. Relief helps people after a crisis; development helps a community in chronic poverty. Relief, if improperly continued, creates dependency. Development, when it properly draws out the assets of the community, creates transformation.
When short term missions efforts work in partnership with long term development strategies, like Converge internships, the community really benefits, and the student interns learn how to really make a difference.
Relief brings goods from elsewhere to distribution to the destitute; development draws out the best of otherwise desperate people who participate in a shared investment in the long term needs of their own community. The short term enthusiasm of relief work is great. Better is the long term transformation that development brings. When enthusiasm spreads from relief to development, communities with chronic poverty are transformed.
“If I wrote any more on this relief offering for the poor Christians, I’d be repeating myself. I know you’re on board and ready to go. I’ve been bragging about you all through Macedonia province, telling them, “Achaia province has been ready to go on this since last year.” Your enthusiasm by now has spread to most of them.”
2 Corinthians 9:1-2 MSG