In the field of missions, there is a much needed push to support the effort of relationships over projects. This idea stems from the bigger break away from the “Savior Complex” often found in short-term missions. The Savior Complex speaks to the idea that an outside group must come into a new place to fix the problems that the community has developed. In breaking this down, groups and individuals engaging in the Savior Complex also take on the role of deciding what the individuals in the communities they step into need.
Belmont on Mission challenges this phenomenon by partnering with host organizations that are well established in the communities in which we serve, and who know the needs of their own community. Through partnering with well established, effective host organizations, the mission seamlessly shifts from projects to people.
Casas por Cristo is our Host Organization for the Acuna, Mexico and Chinandega, Nicaragua spring break International Trips. For the past few years, students have been traveling to Acuna to build a house with Casas por Cristo. The organization has been in Acuna for over 25 years, and the people working for Casas por Cristo have developed longstanding relationships with the people living in the community. As a result of these longstanding relationships, Casas por Cristo was able to develop a building floor plan that matched the needs of the community, work with local faith leaders to connect with individuals who could be served, and cultivate long lasting change in the community by meeting the need of stable housing. In spending time with those who are served, Casas por Cristo could learn from them what they need, and use that knowledge to shape the ways in which they serve.
This spring, Belmont on Mission will send another group to Acuna, MX. Additionally, a new trip to Nicaragua will allow more students to participate in the people over projects model for mission trips! Check out this video to learn about Casas por Cristo’s introduction into Chinandega!