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Mission Trips

embarking on group missions

5 Reasons Every Teen Should Experience A Mission Trip

By | Group Mission Trip, Mission Trips, Short-term Mission Trips | No Comments

What if there was an experience that could open your eyes, soften your heart, and turn you into an empowered servant of God?

For thousands of people, this experience is what they voluntarily sign up for on a yearly basis. In the United States alone, thousands of groups will embark on a Jesus-centered, life-changing mission trip. A large fraction of those groups are made up of young, up-and-coming servants of God: teenagers.

The teen years are a formative time, and it’s important that teens be surrounded with people who can help them grow not only in mind and heart, but in faith.

Here are five reasons why every teen should experience going on a short term group mission trip:

Mission trips build community.

Mission trips are events that teens look forward to where they get to create lifelong friendships as they serve God side by side. Having shared experiences, especially ones with people who have common beliefs, brings groups together. Teens who go on mission trips eat together, travel together, work with people together, get up at atrocious hours together, and bond with one another.

Missions trips broaden horizons.

Teenagers rarely get the opportunity to step outside their warm, cushy bubbles and see what life is like for other people. But when they join a short term group mission trip, they are able to meet individuals from all walks of life. In their day to day lives teens don’t get to witness firsthand the stark differences between their lives and those who aren’t as fortunate. They don’t get to learn about the history of a place as told by its people.

The kind of education a short term group mission trip provides cannot be taught in school. Teenagers become more appreciative of the privileges they enjoy on a daily basis when they see how other people can live without first world luxuries. Short term missions prove that financial status is arbitrary, and that in God’s eyes, everyone is the same.

Mission trips push comfort zones.

Living in a first world country comes with a lot of perks. Hot and cold showers, soft beds, television, abundance of clean drinking water… the list goes on. Teenagers typically won’t encounter discomforts that people from impoverished countries suffer through every single day.

Short term missions give young adults the opportunity to break out of their comfort zones. They get to paint houses, carry out minor home repairs, manually mix concrete under the heat of the sun, eat simple food, and sleep on air mattresses (sometimes on the floor). But then they are constantly reminded that through their service, they are able to help others grow closer to Christ.

Mission trips give purpose.

We often underestimate the ability of teenagers to impact the world, but when given the chance, they take on a lot of responsibility and make a difference.

Mission trips allow youth to think and act like adults, without the safety net of home. They become proactive, open-minded individuals and become more aware of what they’re capable of doing. That, in itself, is a most powerful thing.

Mission trips allow teens to participate in Christ’s ministry.

Jesus journeyed far and wide to preach the gospel to his flock. For many teenagers, mission trips are the start of their lifelong commitment to God’s word. It gives them the chance to participate in God’s global mission in agreement with His heart for the world.

Adults who have gone on a Christian mission trip as a teenager, often recall that the experience was one in which God worked through their lives. It wasn’t simply about going on a fun tour with their friends, or painting houses for the needy, or building resumes for their future career. It was about anchoring their faith in the Lord through serving others.

For many years, short term group mission trips have played a crucial role in the lives of Christian teenagers, and we continue to believe in the power it has on developing minds. Many teens have walked away from our programs with a stronger heart for service than ever before.

Interested in participating in Christ’s ministry with your group? Join In Motion Ministries!

woman sitting on top of building

7 Things To Remember Before Embarking On Your Next Short-Term Mission Work

By | Mission Trips, Short-term Mission Trips | No Comments

Though it might hurt to admit it, there’s something fundamentally counterintuitive with how we, the church, present short term mission trips.

When recruiting people to embark on short term mission trips, we always talk to them about “the experience” and how it “changes you” and makes you feel “a sense of fulfillment”. Participants who have gone on short term mission trips always come back with stories about how the trip has inspired them to become better servants of the ministry, and how their experiences have renewed their faith.

But in a sense, it hurts rather than helps our case.

This approach is a misdirection of great proportion. Thinking of short term mission trips as a way to better the self rather than help the church spread the word and glorify God is self-serving.

Thankfully, there is a remedy: by shifting the way we see short term mission trips. We should dedicate every short-term trip to benefit the work of long-term missionaries. These changes aren’t the kind that happen overnight; and they have to start before the missionaries even set foot on the plane.

How can we prepare participants for short term mission trips so they may serve well? Read on for ten things that need to be considered by everyone who wants to embark on a short term mission trip:

Don’t lose focus.

The thought of going on an adventure to a foreign land would excite anybody. But your desire to serve Him must trump any feelings of fear or elation in your heart, or else it might lead to trips that are not as productive as intended.

A mission is not a vacation; it’s not simply about building houses, delivering speeches, making new friends, or distributing aid—despite these being the major tasks that make up these trips, the sole purpose of your mission is to proclaim God’s glory among the nations. “Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!” (Psalm 96:2-3)

Be humble without provocation or prejudice.

This is especially significant since missions involve interacting with people from all walks of life. From the lowly janitor to the CEO, we should treat everyone with love in equal measure. Our role as apostles is important, but we must remember that, just as Jesus humbled himself and died on the cross to save us from our sins, we must also humble ourselves in front of each other.

Be ready for extreme exhaustion.

You won’t leave the mission relaxed and rejuvenated. You’ll be overworked, jetlagged, and exposed to harsh foreign elements. Expect to spend every ounce of effort and energy sharing the gospel of the Lord, in both your words and actions. Nicaragua mission trips, for example, will involve a lot of travelling on foot and long hours of hard, manual labor.

But when you’re in bed after a particularly difficult day, just remember why you’re tired, and what your work can achieve.

Know how to adjust.

Many times, your short term mission trip schedule will change with little or no notice—and that’s okay. You need to be prepared to encounter these irregularities between your expectation and reality. As part of the church, you must be careful not to pressure overseas workers into aligning with your pre-planned schedule or outcome, especially when your demands are no longer within reason.

When plans change last-minute, or unforeseen incidents affect the flow of work and timeline, accept the situation with an open mind and happy heart. Toss those predetermined notions out the window and go with the flow.

Be open to learning from the people around you.

Every single person we encounter in life has a story to share… but only if we are humble enough to accept what they have to say. Whenever you meet people on your trip, you should realize that you’re meeting a person who lives a totally different life than you do.  Accepting that you don’t know everything won’t just make you gain respect for the people around you, but it also makes you a better servant for Christ. “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.” (Daniel 1:17)

Serve with all your heart.

The church teaches us to serve extravagantly—that is to say, with exceptional fervor—and to align ourselves with those who have risked life and limb for the sake of Jesus’ name by supporting them in a manner worthy of God. We must prepare ourselves to toil away beyond what is expected of us, and beyond reason, and remember that our efforts pale in comparison to the efforts of the people who have committed years of their lives to the mission field.

Be low maintenance.

It’s relatively easy to fall into the mindset of “I’m a foreign person in a foreign land, attend to me hand and foot”. A mission trip will not offer you the same comforts that home does, and you have to be okay with that. Simply remind yourself that you are there to serve, not be served.

However, people might be so thankful for your presence that they freely offer their time, efforts, and even gifts to you, remember that they are doing so out of love for the gospel. You are not there as a mere individual but as a representative of the Lord, bearing his name. Be the person whose presence lifts everyone’s spirits up rather than weigh them down.

If you’re ready to embark on a short term mission trip contact In Motion Ministries today!

bag is packed

Knowing What and How to Pack for a Mission Trip

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If you’re packing for a Christian mission trip, it can be difficult to know what to bring or, maybe even more importantly, what not to bring. By understanding what you’ll be doing and where you’ll be going, you’ll have a better idea of how to pack for your travels. Start by asking yourself the following questions.

What Does the Airline Allow?

Different airlines have varying luggage policies, so make sure you triple-check your plane tickets and research the airline you’re flying with. You’ll need to know how big your bags can be, what the weight limit is, and how many bags are included in the price of your ticket. Some airlines don’t include any baggage in the ticket price. If that’s the case, you’ll need to have cash or a credit card in hand, depending on the payment policy of the airport.

Is Your Clothing Culturally and Climate Appropriate?

The company that organizes your short-term mission trip should provide you with a list of appropriate clothing. Ask about swimwear, sleepwear, graphic t-shirts, the length of skirts, pants, shorts, and tops, as well as what people in that country wear to church. You may also need to cover tattoos in certain cultures. Also, keep in mind the temperature and humidity of the location. A hot and tropical climate in a Muslim nation may require you to wear long sleeves and pants, but be smart about it and leave clothing made of heavy materials at home.

Are Your Belongings Sending the Wrong Message?

You are an ambassador of your country and you don’t want to present yourself as materialistic and vain. Aim to blend in with the people around you. If you’re traveling to a poverty-stricken neighborhood, it’s not appropriate to bring along your diamond rings and expensive cameras. You want to exercise humility. In the same vein, it’s advised not to bring gifts to shower on middle-class or even poorer communities because it increases the poverties of community, being, and stewardship, as well as undermining local assets.

What Items Might Not Be Available?

Knowing what items will be or won’t be available on your short-term mission trip can drastically influence how you pack. For example, a developing country might not have your allergy medication. If you think the host climate will affect your seasonal allergies, it’s best to bring it with you. Also, consider access to a washing machine. If there aren’t any, you’ll need to pack extra clothes.

If you’re interested in serving others through an Alaska mission trip or another Christian mission trip, In-Motion Ministries can help. We provide a list of ministry opportunities so you and your group can find your best match. Contact us for more information today.