Being the change you hope to see in the world is important to many. For students and young adults who are community-minded, being part of mission trips is critical to their developmental and spiritual growth. Not only do these trips make our world better, but they teach young adults how to give back and that they’re capable of positive change in the world. While there are no real wrong answers about how you go about planning for your mission trip, here are some ideas and things to consider when it comes to ways you could help.
Spreading the Word
Some religious organizations aim their mission trips at spreading the word of God. These groups are known to pass out information, talk to nonbelievers, and do what they can to make people aware of their belief that God exists. Whether it’s handing out free church bulletin covers or just going door to door to have conversations, these trips are meant to provide both education and inspiration.
If your interest in serving involves helping others find community and teaching them about God, this is the type of mission trip that might best work for you. You can make a difference in people’s lives by showing them what’s out there and even just visiting them too. The best way to get started with this is to contact the leaders in a church you already go to. The odds are that they could use your help and will know of opportunities for you.
For those students who are better with their hands and aren’t interested in preaching, there are mission trips dedicated to providing shelter and housing for the less fortunate. Both internationally and in home countries, these trips involve extensive fundraising and longer plans to erect buildings in groups. A perk is these missions generally involve travel too.
If you plan to work on one of these missions, there are things to consider. How to protect your jewelry and valuables, how you’ll spend your time off, and the access you’ll have to tools are all questions you’ll want to ask before leaving home. Typically, mission leaders take care of any resources you’ll need while out on the mission field building, but it’s better to ask ahead of time.
If you enjoy helping people and are looking to make a difference in a group of like-minded students, a building trip might be exactly what you’re looking for. Again, go to your church leaders, or even local youth groups, to find out about what’s around. AmeriCorps and Habitat for Humanity are places to look into, too.
Like building missions, teaching trips are often popular with students looking to promote change in the world. For some, winter and summer breaks are great ways to spend time helping communities at home and abroad. When considering destinations for a vacation over Christmas, look into shorter mission trips where you might be able to help kids out and get some travel in, too. Whether literacy-based, where you’ll work one-on-one with students on reading, or helping to erect schools, volunteering to teach children will pay off long term for you. Knowing you’ve helped to change a child’s life, or even just offered hope, is a fabulous feeling that not many know.
No matter how you hope to serve the world, you’ve already completed step one by caring about making an impact. As you explore ideas for mission trips, consider what you’re good at, what you love to do, and how your skills could help. While building, preaching and teaching trips are most common, creative thinking and the will to serve could mean other types of change too.
Are you passionate about reading but don’t have the time to get abroad between semesters? Consider a mobile library program in inner cities with your sorority or fraternity instead of heading to Palm Springs for a traditional spring break. If your major is finance and you aren’t sure how to help, look up ways to create a tax prep mission trip for the elderly. You could find yourself in local senior centers helping people for free during tax crunch time and feeling great about yourself.
The opportunities to make change in the world are everywhere. Whatever type of mission you decide to do, making a difference will add up to a better world for us all.