I chose GoCorps because God told me I needed to give 2 years. I assumed this was an arbitrary number chosen for my sake. It's not an incredibly long time, although it is not an overwhelmingly short time either. In my mind, two years was exactly long enough for me to get a decent taste, and from there I would decide if I wanted to go further and make a real difference. When I hit a rough spot in support raising my coach said "Don't give up, your team is waiting for you! They need you!" I was skeptical. It was not that I thought that God would not use me, I just assumed that two years just wasn't enough time to truly affect change in a life (other than mine).
Just in cast you have every had these same thoughts, or wondered if two years is actually a significant amount of time, I wanted to share what I know now.
Every week my team comes together for our team meeting. We begin with at least an hour of prayer, and every week this includes specific prayer for new mid-term workers, especially people who can come for around 2ish years. We pray for more long term workers too, but we do not only pray for long term workers. This is because mid-term workers keep our team running. I do not have a wide berth of experience to speak from, but I have travelled to a handful of other teams and learned that they also pray for the exact same thing: mid-term workers.
I can't answer for everyone. But here is why we pray for people (like me) to come for 2 years:
We keep the project running. I help in our language center, and even though I have only been here a short time I see a massive difference when a new mid-termer joins and when a new mid-termer leaves. We have the knowledge of the project to speak into it with relative wisdom, the experience to know what needs to be done, and we have the time to keep these things running. Our long-term team members have families, work as leaders in the community and our company, they are starting other projects, and meeting with old and new contacts. If the mid-termers weren't here either the long-termers would need to step back from their current projects to run the center or (more likely) the language center would need to close.
We can make deep connections. Short term workers have the ability to have amazing conversations with our students. Every time they come we wait in eager expectation to see what God does through them. But, by nature, short termers are gone very fast. As a mid-term worker you have the ability to stick around and take these conversations even deeper, and build genuine, long-lasting friendships. At the same time, we are always aware that our time here is limited. There is a definite return date. This knowledge leaves you with two options: disconnect or cherish. As Goers, we choose to cherish. If a person chooses to intentionally cherish each relationship and each interaction, God does amazing things.
We have time. Mid-term workers tend to fall into two categories: singles and couples without children. As a result, we have more time in the day to pour in to relationships, team work, or spiritual formation. Of course, there are long-term couples that fall into these categories also, and there is nothing wrong with having a family. But combined with the two points above, having extra time is essential to a team and to a ministry.
We have supernatural assistance. I am sure you know this. Nobody gets on the field without supernatural interference. Nobody becomes fully-funded without God pulling the strings. And a mid-termer's absolute strength is in their relationship with God. Of course, this point stands for the short-, mid-, and long-termer alike, but it cannot be discounted. The Holy Spirit fills us with power and has blessed us with spiritual gifts. There are things that we each, individually, bring to a team that I cannot chronicle. As a mid-termer you learn to develop many of these gifts, and use them in the context of your team and people group. This is invaluable, and more powerful than I can convey.
There are so many more reasons why our team prays for people to come for two years. I haven't even mentioned language and cultural learning, the ability to travel, or your general personal growth. But I listed these because I have heard them expressed by multiple, prayerful team leaders. These kinds of commitments are needed all over the world.
I am shocked at how fast two years can pass, but two years can make a resounding difference. Not just for you, not just for the people group, but also for the team of missionaries. If you are considering going for two years, know that you are absolutely in demand. You are worth the investment of time and energy, by your team and by your partners. It is completely worth it.