You know that people are struggling around the world, and you want to help make a difference. The problem is that there are hundreds of mission opportunities available today, and you need to pick the one that best fits your personality, goals, and skill sets. You may have some idea of where you want to go and what type of services you want to deliver, but don’t make a final decision until you consider the following tips.
1. Consider your goals first and your destination second.
Traveling to a new area of the world and interacting with people from a different culture is part of what makes a mission trip exciting, but try not to select your destination before determining your goals for the trip. What do you hope to gain personally, and what skills do you want to utilize or learn while on this trip? Mission trips are designed to help people in meaningful ways, and you want to enjoy spiritual growth while you’re away, as well. This is what makes a mission trip different from a vacation.
Start by determining what you want to gain, including college credit, knowledge, a deep religious experience, professional experience, and time away from daily life. You can then determine which mission trips can help you reach those goals while allowing you to travel somewhere interesting.
2. Learn about the culture and current struggles of the people you will serve.
Part of the mission trip experience is to arrive somewhere new and immerse yourself in the local culture, but you’ll gain more from the experience if you learn about the culture before you arrive. Pick up a few books written in recent years, and pay attention to current events occurring in the region. If possible, talk to others who have visited the region in the past. If you have time to start learning some of the local language, that will make your trip even more successful. It’s difficult to help someone if you don’t understand their struggles, so learn as much as possible before arriving at the mission site.
3. Determine how much training you will receive.
The more information you’re provided about the geographical location of your trip and the work that you’re expected to complete while there, the more likely you are to have a pleasant experience adjusting to your new environment. The best missions for college students will thoroughly prepare you for the upcoming trip while ensuring that you have adequate support throughout the experience. While you’re there to learn and grow, you’re also going to need information, resources, and emotional support in order to perform to the best of your abilities.
4. Consider joining an agency for the guidance they provide young missionaries.
You can plan independent mission trips, but there are some advantages to working with a mission agency. The agency may help you secure funding for your trip, and they may connect you with a group of missionaries so that you don’t have to travel alone. If you’re interested in added protection and support, a mission group is preferable to a solitary adventure.
5. Don’t assume that every mission trip is religious in nature.
Many mission trips are connected to religious organizations and denominations, but that isn’t always the case. If you can’t find a trip to your preferred destination that is in line with your religious beliefs or you choose to serve without a religious focus, there are some non-profit organizations that sponsor trips for anyone willing to serve others in a meaningful way.
The mission trip that you select should deliver a powerful experience that you will never forget. The trips that appeal to you may not appeal to your friends, so remain focused on your personal goals even if you’re interested in sharing the experience with others.