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It doesn't take a special calling to care for widows and orphans. That's just what Jesus people do. James 1:27

5 Reasons You Should Take Your Child On A Short Term Mission Trip

I was 16 when I went on my first mission trip. It was 1987 and I spent 2 months away from home in Guatemala. 

My mom, who was known to be a little over protective, allowed me to go with a then unknown man named Ron Luce and his brand new Teen Mania Ministries. There were many people who were stunned that she would “let her child do something so dangerous.” Looking back, I think it was quite possibly the best parenting move she could’ve ever made with me. It altered the path of my life forever. 

In hindsight the only thing that would’ve made it better is if one of my parents went with me. 

As a parent of 4 children of my own, I have taken my own children on short term mission trips with me. I encourage others to do the same. My wife and I have seen first hand the impact it has had on my children as well as the children of others who have joined us on short term mission expeditions. 

At Conduit we welcome parents and children to come with us. We don’t just welcome teens, but younger children as well. (as long as their parents are coming with us) 

I’ve never seen this in a parenting book,  but what better parenting is there than modeling the faith and courage and willingness to follow Jesus into the world?

Here are 5 benefits that I have personally experienced in myself and as a parent and think you will experience as well. 

1. It builds faith. When I went to Guatemala as a teenager my family was in financial trouble. I had 3 months to raise the money to go. The $1500 cost might as well have been $1M; there was no way I could make it happen. But I saw God miraculously provide every step of the way. 

When we took our kids to Haiti for Christmas in 2012, We invited our children to raise funds with us. They wrote letters to their friends and teachers. They manned the lemonade stand. They saw the money come in. I taught my children the principle of “Where God guides, God provides."  But short term mission trips modeled it for them.

2. It builds courage. Courage doesn’t mean not being afraid. It means being afraid and doing it anyway. Short term missions is a perfect way for parents to model and instill courage in our children. We can’t preach this into them. It has to come from real life application. Spending a week with your child in an unfamiliar country with unfamiliar customs and without the normal creature comforts is an excellent way to accomplish this. 

3. It builds relationships At Conduit we are particularly fond of mission work that is ongoing and intentionally relational. My kids have friends in Haiti. They want to go back to see their friends. 

It also builds the relationship between the parent and child. I have had amazing moments with my children that are impossible to articulate, but suffice it to say that the return on investment was beyond my expectation. 

4. It builds gratitude My kids are being raised in America where they are surrounded with the message of consumerism. They’re blasted with marketing telling them that they need certain things to make them happy. Spending time with kids their age who don’t have those things who are still happy was hugely impacting on my kids. It was one of the first things they noticed and one of the things that has stuck with them the longest. 

5. It builds possibilities My oldest daughter is going to college next year. It’s in her heart to learn Spanish. She is researching a major in International Business with an idea to help create sustainable business for people in developing nations. I’m fairly certain this wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t travelled globally with me. 

It showed her there is a big world out there and that she is strong enough to go into it. Going on mission trips at a young age awakens the possibilities in our children that God can use them to do amazing things in the world. 

In closing.. 

Of course, I believe that there is an impact that can be made on the people that we encounter on our trips. But I believe that the calling of God is symbiotic. It’s just as much about benefiting the people who are going as those who we are going to. 

God cares just as much about the missionary as the mission. I believe it’s important to manage the trips according to Biblical standards and to do no harm. At Conduit we use the principals found in “When Helping Hurts” If you’ve never read this book, I highly recommend you do so before choosing an organization to travel with globally. 

There are many wonderful organizations, but I’m particularly biased to my own. If you'd like to join us on a mission expedition please go to our website for more information.

“You feel like quitting, like giving up. You can’t understand why the road doesn’t get easier, why God doesn’t remove the stones and straighten the path. If God did that,

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