Is there value in working through volunteering in the majority world? The straight and simple answer is yes, emphatically YES. The fact that one can go and make physical effort to make better the life of others is very much a positive function of mission. This though is true, I think, of any mission. Next door or on the other side of the world. Physical activity is an important ingredient for us it is also a measure of discernible compassion, our physical activity is, most likely, also a visible sign to a larger group of people, even though they may not be the ones directly impacted. So yes the fact that we are willing to do this is a large part of effective mission.
There is though another facet of missions which I think must be, by intention, lifted up as equally important or possibly even more so. That facet of mission is the interpersonal interactions that take place among those who, while initially strangers, in many ways become the definition which identifies the ultimate success of any effort. To see the physical effort of mission as the reason to do such seems to reduce the real limit of success to the affect on the community of the product of that effort. There will always be personal interaction but it will have minimal affect on those directly involved unless it is an intentional effort which must, in my opinion, be approached from a belief that herein, personal interaction, lies the real potential for long term success of missions.
I will admit at this point that my personal opinion tends to run on a line of thought that places much of missions in a category more similar to aid as opposed to discipleship, through the Word; enhancing potential of the receiving entity or lifting up an entrepreneur spirit among individuals. The potential impact of the two young women in the background of this picture who are spending time with young students may not be measurable but it can not be less important than the physical efforts of mission.
Rebuilding a school is very important, sharing hope and love in a very close and personal manner is equally as important or maybe even more.