Peter’s Story: One Teen’s Perspective on Short Term Mission Trips

brochure-cover-2016

Check out this awesome video!!

Peter, a high school student from Oklahoma, shot this footage while serving in Guatemala with RIM several times… You’ll soon see why he keeps going back!

Through his eyes, you’ll experience our 2-week Evangelism Trip, our 1-week Medical Trip and our 4-week Outreach trip. Even though this video takes place in Guatemala, it will help paint a picture of what it could be like for you to serve in any of our ministry locations this summer! When you’re finished watching, check out our upcoming trips:

Need more information?

Are you a youth pastor, sports coach, college group leader, or school administrator?

  • Group Trips – No minimum number of participants!
  • Custom Trips – Choose any dates and any location (groups of 20+)
  • Individual Trips – Send one or more students even when your whole group can’t go!!

How to Survive a Long Flight (Without Your Phone)

airline-passengers-funny

airplane-overheadFour hours can feel like eight when you are sitting in an airplane seat with thirty inches of leg room. Smart phones seem like an easy way to keep yourself occupied but they are sometimes not allowed or at least discouraged on mission trips so we get a little bit more creative with entertainment.

  • Do Puzzles.

    Sudoku, crossword puzzles, word finds, Rubik’s cubes, there are a plethora of small games that you can fit in your carry on and play by yourself or with the people sitting next to you. (Mad Libs, anyone?)

  • Sleep.

    This is kind of an obvious one, but if you are able to sleep on a plane, use some of your flight time to take a nap. You won’t even notice the time that passes while you are asleep plus you will be a little bit more rested when you arrive! sleeping-passengers

  • Write a short story or poem.

    Pull out your journal and put ideas into words. If you like poetry, write some verses while you have time and quiet to think. If you’re not into poems, let your inner author out with a short story  or two.

  • Talk to the person you are sitting next to.

    Simple in theory but it makes a lot of people nervous to have a full conversation with someone they don’t know. Take the time to get to know a teammate if you are sitting next to them or meet a stranger. You never know what interesting things you might learn from them if you take the time to talk! passengers-talking

  • Read a book.

    For once, you have hours of (relatively) uninterrupted time where you (definitely) don’t have to be anywhere else. Take advantage of it and get into a book you haven’t had time to finish, or maybe haven’t even had time to start.

  • Play cards with your neighbor.

    This may be a little easier on layovers where you have more room, but there are plenty of two or three player card games you can set up on those tray tables in a plane. Try Go Fish, Rummy, War, or Crazy 8’s. art-on-plane

  • Color or doodle.

    Coloring books are coming back into style, even for grown-ups. Bring one of those and a pack of colored pencils and you’re good to go! If you like to be a little more free to be creative with what you draw, just bring a sketchbook.

  • Make up life-stories for the other passengers on the plane.

    If you have an imagination that runs wild, this is a blast. Pick out another passenger on the plane, notice every detail you can about them, (are they right or left handed? dyed hair? how much luggage?), and use those to make up an outlandish story about their life, where they came from, and where they are going. Tell the stories to a friend or write them down. superhero-passengers

  • Learn a little bit of the language they speak at your destination.

    If you’ve packed a small phrasebook of the native language, break it out on the flight there and study it a little bit. Try to figure out how to say the phrases. Practicing with your friends is great, or even better if your neighbor on the plane speaks that language and can help you out!

Long flights don’t have to be hours upon hours of staring at the seat in front of you. There are plenty of ways to get your creativity flowing, get to know other people, and learn new things while you are on the way to your destination. You can see some really beautiful perspectives on the earth from you window as well so don’t forget to look out every once in a while! plane-window-view

The Ultimate Mission Trip Packing List

overpacked-suitcase

keep-calm-and-dont-overpackKnowing how to pack for your first mission trip, or even your first mission trip in a new country can be intimidating. After years of taking teams on short-term mission trips, we have learned a few things about packing. We want to share them with you!

You may not need everything on this list.. in fact you probably won’t. Only pack what you really think will be useful in the area you are traveling too.  And always check with your team leader in case there are any special items that you need to bring.

ALWAYS pack these in your carry-on luggage:

  • Passport
  • Spending Money
  • Emergency money
  • Shot records if required
  • Prescription and other necessary medication in the original packaging
  • One change of clothes (just in case your luggage gets lost or delayed)
  • Camera and its charger
  • Phone and its charger (if you can use it while you are there)

day-packingDO pack:

  • Clothes (Depending on what you are doing, you may need work clothes, church clothes, casual clothes, sportswear, etc.)
  • Pajamas
  • Underwear
  • Swimsuit (ask your leader about dress code)
  • Light rain jacket
  • Socks and sneakers or work shoes
  • Flip-flops for the shower
  • Earplugs
  • Towel
  • Dry powder laundry soap
  • Extra toilet paper
  • Extra bags. Ziploc bags, grocery bags…they come in handy!
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Bible
  • Journal and pens
  • Flashlight
  • Girls: hair brush and hair ties
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Lotion
  • Hand sanitizer and/or wet wipes
  • Small first aid kit (If your leaders bring one, you may not need to. Check with them before adding it)
  • Water bottle
  • Durable wristwatch
  • Deck of cards (for those long airport layovers)
  • Language phrasebook (to help you communicate a little bit even without a translator)
  • Snacks (Granola bars, nuts, packaged food that does not require refrigeration and, if you will be in a hot climate, won’t melt!)
  • Any medication you think you will need that your leader might not have in his or her first aid kit (i.e. your own ibuprofen, Benadryl cream for bug bites, etc.)
  • Intentional empty space for souvenirs!

*Pro tip: Always double-bag liquid containers to avoid a giant mess if they burst or leak during travel. Check with your airline’s regulations and make sure that you only put liquids in your carry-on luggage that are small enough to comply with the guidelines. All bigger liquid containers can go in your checked bag.

prohibited-itemsDO NOT pack:

  • Expensive jewelry or other valuable or fragile belongings
  • Anything airlines will take away from you (i.e. pocket knives, large bottles of liquid in your carry-on luggage, etc. Check your airline’s website to see what is prohibited.)
  • Fresh produce. If you are traveling internationally, customs will not be happy about it.
  • Too many books. They’re heavy and you probably won’t have much time to read them anyway.
  • Too many snacks. You don’t need half a suitcase full; they will feed you. If you have a dietary restriction: talk to your leader and make sure that those coordinating your team’s food in the country are prepared to accommodate it and carry a few extra snacks just in case.
  • Too much stuff. You probably will not need nearly as much as you think you might. Try to go with lightweight clothes that you can easily wash, dry, and use again. overpacked-suitcase

[Read more…]

10 Ingredients for a Successful Mission Trip

guatemala-soccer-game

post-it-wall1. Planning and preparation

It takes countless people and a surprising amount of work and time to get ready for a mission trip. The organization or group setting up the trip plans the whole itinerary down to the last detail, both from the office and in-country beforehand, then must be flexible if things change at the last second..and they usually do. The team and leaders going on the trip have to prepare as individuals and as a group. Practical logistics have to be taken care of and the group needs to be spiritually prepared for the mission field.

2. Relationship with contacts

It is crucial to have a good relationship with the local contacts in the location you travel to, whether that is with members of the sending organization, leaders of the team or both. In-country contacts are the eyes and ears on site when the organization is not there. They are the ones who know the culture and area and have understanding that you as a visitor do not. Without contacts to partner with in a country, ministry would fizzle out and there would be no follow-up after the team leaves for locals who decide to follow Jesus!

hands-supporting-world3. Fundraising.

It is a necessary part of sending teams out into the world to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Most people dread this part of a mission trip but it doesn’t have to suck! In fact, it can be an amazing conversation-starter that helps you tell people about the Gospel and what God is doing in your life! Having team members raise their own support to provide for the trip allows countless people from all different backgrounds to be a part of the ministry even if they don’t have the opportunity to go.

4. Prayer

Prayer is one of the foundational elements of life as a follower of Christ and is important in everything we do. Missions are no exception! It is common to experience a lot of resistance when serving in another country, especially when you are actively preaching the Gospel and sharing the love of Christ. Always keep ministry, team members, and contacts covered in prayer. Have as many people as possible praying for your ministry from home too!

DR-team-praying5. Team unity

A disjointed team cannot be successful in the purpose of a mission trip. Most of their energy and time has to be focused inward to deal with issues in the team when it needs to be pointed outward with the purpose of of sharing the Gospel with the lost and being a blessing to other believers. When individuals on a team are constantly blessing each other, they will have more energy, joy, and encouragement to minister to others.

6. Safety

One of the roles of mission organizations is to be familiar with safety concerns in the areas to which teams are traveling and to be reasonably prepared for risks. There is automatically some risk involved when you go on a mission trip. By preparing yourself and following leaders’ and contacts’ instructions, you can minimize that risk as much as possible.

guatemala-soccer-game7. Meaningful ministry matched to the team’s gifts

Ministry that presents Jesus to people and uses the abilities of team members well is the most effective kind. People will give more of their energy and enjoy work more when they can do it well and can see that it has a clear purpose that meets a need.

8. Proclamation of the Gospel

Don’t forget that whole purpose of the Great Commission is to go out into all of the world and share the Good News with all people! Everything else is irrelevant without that component. If you know the saving grace of Jesus and the love of God, how can you help but tell others? It can take the form of preaching to a crowd, talking with people individually, drama presentations, or any number of ways. The most important thing is that people hear the Gospel.

kids-program9. Follow up in-country

Accepting the Gospel is the beginning of the journey, not the end. Once people hear the message, repent from sin, and decide to follow Christ, they need a church and leaders to guide them as they continue to follow Christ and reach out to others. Partnering with churches in ministry provides a community to connect new believers with after the team leaves so that they can continue in discipleship.

10. Team debrief

It is immensely important for the team members and leaders to process what happened on the trip after it ends. This is often best done by talking through thoughts with others who were there and who can empathize. A lot of people supplement that with writing down their thoughts and stories as well. Debrief is also really helpful for team members to learn how to tell their stories well and effectively share about the trip with their supporters and friends. team-at-guatemala-volcano

8 Foolproof Ways to Stay Healthy on a Mission Trip

water-bottles

city-scene1. Prepare, “just in case”

Stuff happens! Be as ready as you can. Talk to your doctor at least 8 weeks before leaving on your trip and get all of the necessary vaccines. Pack a first aid kit. Make sure that you have travel insurance. It’s usually about $2 a day and definitely worth it, even for little things that require a trip to the clinic. We have a recommended missions travel insurance for anyone going on a trip with us.

2. Be healthy before the trip

Being in shape and healthy before you go helps your body to be much more ready for whatever gets thrown at it in the country you travel to. For an extra boost, consider taking vitamins and probiotics prior to and during the trip.

volcano-hike3. Research the health risks of your location

Look up the area you will be traveling to and find out if there are any food, water, or disease risks specific to that location that you will need to watch out for. The CDC publishes travel health notices to alert travelers of unusual risks as well.

4. Drink enough water to fill a swimming pool

Seriously. The normal recommended amount of water to drink is 2-3 liters per day… more if you are in a particularly dry or hot climate and very active. Dehydration is the root of many common issues encountered on mission trips: headaches, digestive trouble, fainting and fatigue, even fever. If you don’t feel well, drinking water will usually help if not fix the problem.

water-bottles5. On that note: ONLY bottled/purified water

Water anywhere other than your home, especially in developing countries, has different microbes than your body is used to dealing with. Drinking it can cause all kinds of sickness and it is not uncommon to come home with a parasite (which can usually be treated pretty easily here in the U.S.). Bottled water goes through an intense purification process and the high standard of purity for bottled water extends across the world, so sticking to purified water (not “filtered” water, which is actually different) eliminates those worries. Don’t forget to use it even to brush your teeth!

6. Skip the game of Russian Roulette that is street food

Only eat cooked fruits and vegetables or ones that you can peel. If you don’t know where meat or fish came from, avoid it. In fact, unless you are right next to the ocean or a (clean) lake and are very confident, just avoid fish. If you do plan to eat out, ask local contacts where the safe restaurants to eat are.

street-food7. Wear sunscreen and bug spray

No, it’s not just something worried moms make their kids promise to do. Sunburn has the ability to make simply wearing clothes miserable so taking a little time to put on sunscreen is worth it. If there are mosquitoes or other biting or stinging insects around, use bug spray. Diseases spread by mosquitoes are not something that you want to mess around with so hold your breath and cover your body in the stuff.

Note: 100% deet bug spray is really not necessary unless you are in a dense jungle area and you know the regular 25-50% just won’t cut it. If you are worried, you can use mosquito nets at night and treat your clothes and gear with Permethrin, a chemical bug repellent, before the trip).

8. Pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you

Finally, when you feel sick, don’t ignore it. Usually feeling bad is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong and you need to fix it. If drinking water and remedies from your first aid kid aren’t enough, go to a clinic before it gets serious. After all, you have travel insurance, right? bamboo-rafting