Consider a Family Mission Trip
Summer is upon us, and many families are open to new adventures and challenges. If you’ve never considered the possibility of a short-term mission trip, now would be a good time to examine the options.
It may be too late to make it happen this summer, but you could begin planning for next year. You may already be acquainted with groups that specialize in planning such trips, possibly through your own church or denomination, or through a religious organization that you support.
If you’re not aware of any specific opportunities, start researching on your own.
You may want to start with a country—or a continent—that has drawn your attention. You’ll want to investigate the cost of travel, the openness to outsiders, and to religious ministry in general. See if the needs of that area match the knowledge and skills you could provide.
Next, look at the culture and language. Is your family fluent in the language of that country? If not, would interpreters be available? Or could you provide a service that wouldn’t require much knowledge of the language? Wherever you plan to go, spend some time becoming familiar with a least a few basic phrases. Greeting strangers in their own language goes a long way towards opening doors.
What kind of activity would you be comfortable taking part in? The needs are endless: Vacation Bible school, film ministry, preaching, musical groups, construction, maintenance and repair, or just encouraging hard-working missionaries in the field. One or more of these is bound to be a match for your family.
Preparation for a trip is critical in order for all parties to be blessed, safe, and healthy. Start with a visit to the State Department website at Travel.State.Gov. You can find out which places are safe to visit and what is required to travel there. Sign up for “Staying Connected,” to receive alerts regarding safety issues.
Make sure you know well ahead of your trip what paperwork is required: passports, visas, and the like. Generally, if only one parent is accompanying a minor child, a notarized permission is essential.
Deciding how to travel is another major consideration. Planes, trains, automobiles, or even boats all create their own challenges. Be sure to consult TSA’s most recent requirements if flying.
Several organizations that sponsor trips can be found by a simple online search. A particularly useful one is ShortTermMissions.com. In addition to numerous articles to help smooth the process, they have a search function that allows you to choose the region, type, and length of trip that interests you. The publishing company at Group.com also connects people with missions opportunities.
Being involved myself working with groups in Mexico, I observed firsthand the impact these trips have on the people who participate, as well as the recipients of the various ministries. I was able to take my own young daughters to allow them to experience what so many others already had. The impact stays with them to this day.
Jeanette is a semi-retired college English and Spanish instructor and a published author and indie authorpreneur. She has helped over a dozen beginning writers take their project from idea to finished book. Now she is developing online courses and expanding her website and blog to take new authors from aspiring to avid. Declaring herself as “Chaplin by birth; chaplain at heart,” she also writes inspirational articles and blog posts, especially about the lives of Bible women.