If you feel blessed by opportunities and advantages that you have received in your life and would like to give back, you might want to consider going on a mission trip. Mission trips allow you to volunteer and serve in cities, regions or other countries in need. You can offer up your talents as a construction worker, teacher, medic or just about anything you can think of. You don't have to be proficient, and it's good experience. Plus you're giving someone else an opportunity to be able to count his blessings.
Make sure you want to go for the right reasons. Ask yourself what it is exactly you want to get out of this mission trip. If you just want to travel and see the world, this is not the best way to go about it. You will have to work and often live in substandard (at least from your perspective) conditions.
Decide whether you want to go on a short-term or long-term mission trip. If you've never been on a mission trip before, you might want to start with a short-term trip to see if it's for you. Trips can vary from a few days to a few years, so plan according to what fits in with your schedule.
Check out local churches. This is a great place to start, as churches frequently plan mission trips and may not mind tagalongs. Once you know of an upcoming mission trip, contact the person in charge of organizing the trip to see if you are eligible to go.
Look into various groups that sponsor missions. The best place to start is on the Internet. Go to your search engine and type in "mission trip." You'll be surprised at the number of organizations available that offer the opportunity to participate in a mission trip. Browse through them to see which ones might match your needs.
Get any necessary information, and fill out any forms. The organization that you sign up with -- be it a church or an independent organization -- will have documentation for you to fill out and checklists for you to go over. For example, if you are traveling out of the country, you'll need to get a passport and any necessary vaccinations. Make sure to review all the materials you receive and ask any questions you may have. The last thing you need are any last-minute surprises.
Send letters to raise money and awareness. You can do this by writing a letter to friends and family to tell them about your trip. Many corporations put money aside for donations each year, so you may want to contact them, as well. Some mission trip organizers may actually have a packet and some tips on how to write the letters. Take advantage of these.
Fund raise. If the organization you're going with conducts fundraising ventures, participate. It will lower the overall cost of the trip and allow you to spend time with the people you will be traveling with.
Study the culture. If the mission trip is not in your country, study the culture before you go to a foreign place. You don't need to know every little detail about the country, especially on short-term missions. But you should have a basic understand of the language and customs. Always be respectful to the people in that country.
Tips & Warnings
- Put personal feelings aside about other members. Remember your purpose.
- Remember customs and courtesies while overseas.
- Always say thank you. It is especially nice if you use the native language.
- Respect your host, and send thank you letters when you return.
- Always remember the reason you are on the mission trip, and do not forget you are representing your country and your church or organization.
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