“Missionary: someone who leaves their family for a short time, so that others may be with their families for eternity.”
I recently came across this quote and really resonated with this meaning of missionary. You see, my husband was a missionary kid, so the idea of missions has always been a topic we discuss regularly. One recent question we had was “What if one of our children is called away to missions and desires to go?”
If you have been talking about the importance of mission work, it’s highly likely your children have been listening. They may have already started talking about going on one. If you find yourself wondering how to support your child’s desire to go on a mission trip, keep reading! We wrote this post just for you!
Here are 3 easy ways you can support your child’s desire to take their very first mission trip:
Encouraging children to attend a mission’s trip may be difficult. A mission’s trip can sometimes be dangerous or the idea of your child being apart from you can feel scary. But remember to offer your support before, throughout, and upon their return home. Help your child prepare before, pack a few letters full of Bible verses like the one below for him to read during your trip and feel encouraged during the difficult times.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” —Joshua 1:19
And be there to listen to your child talk about what her experience was like after she returns!
There honestly isn’t much we can do to replace our worry other than to make time for frequent prayer. Remember, God calls us to spread the Gospel. Pray for those who will be impacted by your child. Pray for your child’s personal spiritual growth, and pray for his safety while he is away! Remember, prayer is a powerful weapon to replace fear.
Support your child’s desire to go on a medical mission trip by praying with, for, and over them regulalry. Helping them tune their ears to God’s voice will always lead them to their calling. Allowing prayer to shape our hearts and soften any resistance we parents may have to our chidren joining a mission team, is essential to helping children grow more independant in their faith.
“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.” — 1 Samuel 1:27
3. Let Go
One of the worst things we can do as parents is to try to hang onto our children while they are following the will of God. Their desire to go on mission trips is no exception. Even young children can serve locally on mission teams. Check with your church to see if they have short term opportunities locally. There are also mission organizations that offer family and paretne+child trips. A quick Google search will help you locate options for your family!
Remember, God doesn’t always call us to the safe and comfortable places. As parents, we want those two things for our kids but we need to be able to let go of our kids and give them room to be obedient to God. Listen with an open mind when they start discussing mission work and let God provide the means for their calling to unfold!
Tell us in the comments about your experience letting your children go on mission’s trips!
In this week’s post our founder, Sheri Postma, shares about a highly impactful trip where her passion for medical mission trips grew significantly.
Every mission trip experience leaves a mark for different reasons and each trip fans the flame that sparked my passion for medical missions. I play back memories of my time in each country like a film reel — seeing hearts change when they hear the Gospel for the first time, watching the carefree spirits of communities who lack in material possessions but have an abundance of love.
But, my trip in January 2011 stands out to me as being the trip that opened a chapter in my life to answer God’s call. It was when I traveled to Jamaica that sparked my passion for medical missions.
Our team served in Jamaica through several unique ways. We performed construction work at a school for the deaf, volunteered with the Eden school, and served children at a local orphanage. At the orphanage, the children greeted us with their smiles and were so happy to have us there. They loved hugging us and, at the same time, challenged us to games of kickball. It gave me so much JOY to serve God by reminding these children that God loves them and He sees their worth!
I spent a lot of time reading the Bible, praying, and hearing from God. I received clarity from the Lord that my focus should be on medical missions because of my nursing background and God’s gift of organization.
The call was clear, and my answer was “yes!”
There were many high school and college age students on this trip who worked hard that week shoveling and carrying buckets of dirt and rocks. But more importantly, they were carrying the Gospel into places that were searching for hope. Though I knew God’s Word, He spoke to me in a new way that week as well. In addition to those humbling experiences, another reason I enjoyed this specific trip was because my son Trent accompanied me for the second time.
Since my time in Jamaica, I became more actively involved in planning and leading all future medical mission trips for my church and continue to willingly listen to God’s call.
My passion for medical missions continues to grow stronger with each trip I join!
The Mission Partners for Christ team would love to help you experience the joy of providing medical services, treatment, and education in underserved areas of the world. Please visit our VOLUNTEER page to find out how you can make your dreams of serving internationally a reality!
Medical missions trips can be a great source of inspiration, education, and even adventure while we serve others and release new blessings into their lives. If you’ve never been part of a team, you probably have questions and concerns about how to help people without falling into white savior mode. If you’re unfamiliar with that term white savior, you can read more about what that means here.
The primary difference between a medical missions trip that helps, and one that hurts, is knowing this trip is not for or about us. These trips are ultimately about serving other people by helping them be healthier. It’s all about individual and community empowerment. While immersed in other cultures, nations, or regions, there are three key things to remember that will help you serve others well on your first medical missions trip.
1) Be Sensitive to the Moment As You Serve
It’s natural to want to remember the sights and sounds of the moments we spent with others. While we are on the medical missions trip, we can jot down notes to aid us in journaling and writing supportive fundraising content once we are home and take lots of pictures. We often want to be able to show friends and family how we were able to serve others and what it was like so they can understand the mission and support it. When we are photographing scenic views and momentous events or people, we want to be sure we have permission to include everything or anyone.
There may be some places you go on your first medical missions trip where we need to be especially sensitive in this regard, so if you’re unsure, ask your group’s leaders, the person you are talking with, and study about the culture and any context or specific regional information you may need to know prior to going on the trip.
When we take pictures or write about what we experience on these trips, it’s important to have the right heart. We are not the savior of anyone.
How we present where we’ve been is a reflection of who we are. We need to go with hearts fully set on loving others where they are and serving them rather than making ourselves look good. Trust in the organization is built up with others when we show we honor and respect them and everything anyone does in the group can build trust.
2) Be Generous With Gratitude
Inviting a medical missions team into your community takes a lot work and isn’t always the most convenient. The people on the ground have likely spent months organizing, planning, and connecting with people in the community. When on your first medical missions trip it’s important to not center your sacrifices or work. Give praise and thanks generously, but make sure it is genuine.
Recognize that true partnership will only happen if you choose to value the people, places, resources, and customs in the community you’re serving. Listen well and don’t assume that different means lesser. Choosing gratitude softens our hearts and keeps our ego in check. Simple things like being willing to try unfamiliar things and really listening to what people are saying will go a long way in developing impactful relationships.
3) Focus on The People You Are There To Serve, Not Yourself
The biggest mistake people make on medical missions trips is to focus on self. This trip isn’t about you. It’s about the people you are there to serve and it’s about supporting the work of the local partners. So let them be the focus of your thoughts and actions. Worry less about how this will impact you in the moment and process that after the trip. Thinking about the people you’re serving will help you be fully present which is crucial to actually making a difference.
Listening to people with open ears and an open heart is the first step. If we put our focus on listening to understand, we may learn something while at the same time conveying our respect and honor of others and their unique situations.
You may not always speak the language of the people where you’re going on a medical missions trip, and they may not speak yours perfectly either, so it’s a good idea to make arrangements for a reliable translator who has years of ongoing fluency in the language of the people. The internet connection or wifi in a place may only have a certain amount of bandwidth. If there are any confusing phrases or words that cannot simply be Googled, translators can help you.
Are You Ready to Serve on Your First Medical Missions Trip?
We would love to meet you and help you explore this exciting area of ministry. Click on Volunteer to read about upcoming trips and how you can get involved!
Do you need some questions answered before you say yes to your first medical missions trip? We’d love to answer your questions about joining our team. Click here to submit your question via our contact page. We look forward to hearing from you!