Dude, this issue bothers me so, so much.
A little background: I have a degree in Ministry with an Emphasis on Missions. So, naturally, I’m a professional firefighter! :)
So, I believe STRONGLY in long-term missions trips, where a family or a group is sent for years to spread the Word. However, I have a strong and growing distaste for STM. Every year our Church makes a big deal about their STM and last Summer 20 people went to Peru to the tune of about $3000/each. So quick math says that’s $60,000!! I keep thinking about how much good $60,000 would do in the hands of a local Church or long-term missionary. Instead, those 20 members spent a week doing VBS and some tourism, and then leave the locals to carry on for the next 357 days until the Americans come back next Summer.
This is just one example of many at my one Church of many, many that do the same thing. You did the math above 1–2 millions STMers to the tune of $2 Billion! Yikes!