How to Plan a Family Mission Trip
By Greg Asimakoupoulos
Dan Prout, Executive Director of Sierra Ministries International, offers the following advice to families with an interest in going on “a vacation with a purpose.”
1. Start out with a modest involvement. Plan a trip that’s long enough to get involved in the culture you work with, but not so long that homesickness sets in. Consider travel time as well. If you need a day or two to get somewhere, factor that in. A trip that lasts a week to nine days is a good starting point.
2. Plan to be far enough away so that you have clear separation from your home. If it lingers in anyone’s mind that “we could all be home in our own beds by dark” the dynamics of the experience will be undermined.
3. Look for an organization that understands a family mission trip will have different goals than a mission team comprised of high-school-age youth. Realize that parents will not be free from parenting on the trip. Approach the trip as an opportunity for the family to be together, not making unreasonable expectations for yourselves or your children as to how much you are going to get accomplished at your mission site. Children will need care since they are in an unfamiliar place, both physically and psychologically.
4. If you do not adequately speak the host country language, ask if the organization has a representative who can meet you at the border (or other nearby location) to escort you to your ministry site. Your first day in the new country will be a memorable one
and you do not want to have it marred by frustration in finding your site.
5. If possible, ask another family to go on the mission trip with you. Having another set of playmates besides siblings can add excitement and variety to each day.
How to Plan a Family Mission Trip: Vacation with a Purpose