Mission trips are fun. I am a little annoyed by people who consider them an opportunity to get kingdom points (the Christian version of karma) or simply to say that they did. It’s easy to forget that the people we visit on mission trips are actually people, not just third world photo ops. I get annoyed when people go on mission trips just to take pictures. I think it devalues the way of life of the people you are visiting because it says, “hey look, the way you do things, and the food you eat, it’s so weird that I have to take pictures for all of my American friends to look at on Facebook.”
I still think they are awesome though. I would like to see more mission groups leave go to places with the goal of teaching the locals a skill that is useful to them, or taking gifts that allow them to create opportunities for themselves. We should be empowering them to rise up, not keeping them dependent on our hand-me downs.