We will be returning to the island of Eleuthera in June for our third mission trip with our student ministry. The majority of our mission team are veterans to the Eleuthera trip but we have a sprinkling of newbies. To find out more about this great mission trip check out their site at Camp Bahamas Missions.
When I started out planning our first foreign mission trip I wasn't sure exactly how to go about planning and organizing. I received some guidance from CB Missions but also found some valuable tools here at DYM.
I created excel spreadsheets to form the mission trip budget then I created a sheet for each participant to track the funds they turned in for the trip. I also used a spreadsheet to check off for their passport turned in and each medical release, both our ministries release and Camp Bahamas release.
While on the trip we use devotional journals from LeaderTreks. You can find the journals here.
We have used these journals which are great because they provide each participant with a morning quiet time and teaches students how to study the Bible at the same time. There is also room in each journal for reflecting and evaluating each day.
It's vital to used the opportunity of pulling students away from their culture and normal everyday life to get them to go deeper into God's Word on their own and to think about their participation on the mission trip each day.
I make sure we schedule into our day of doing missions time for students to spend in the Bible and prayer. Yes we are there to serve and do missions but we must also take time to refuel spiritually and possibly help some of our students start a daily discipline that could shape and impact their life.
We have had two great trips to Eleuthera and had little to no drama or problems among our team. We have meetings several times before leaving for the trip. In these meetings we cover details, culture, expectations, servant's attitude. This extra effort before the trip can really help the trip flow smoothly and promotes unity in the team. Prep before hitting the mission field is a key element to success.
Flexibility! We can go with out plan and schedule but find out upon arrival that all that is out the window. Flexibility on the mission field is a must. Make sure your students understand this. The two things that are must haves are an ability to be flexible and a servant's heart, willing to do what needs to be done.
Parent's want to know what is happening with the mission trip and mission team. I include them in all emails to the team. I also created a free one page web site using Wix and there I have the meeting schedule, the release forms, travel itinerary, supply and packing lists. While on the mission field when possible and if possible I try to post a pic each day and let the parents and church know how we are doing.
Communication after the trip can boost your support for your next trip. Create a slideshow or video and post it online, show it church, show it at youth group. We have made, in the past a short version and a long version. The church wants to know about the success of their investment.
I don't do this alone. I've been blessed each trip to have a few adults come along on the adventure with me. We take adults from our student ministry team. That's just our preference because the adults and students already have a relationship. We have also taken an adult or two who weren't on the team. Our adults are there as advisors and we let the students lead on the field. Not every adult has that ability so it is good to have conversations with potential leaders and explain expectations and details in advance. They also participate in all the pre trip meetings.
I'm currently planning my first adult/family trip to take adults and families from our church. This will be a first for me. I took our family last August to get an idea of how it might work out. My plan is to use some of what we use for our student trips with our adult/family team.
Where are you going on mission this year?