Missions….The word itself is daunting to a lot of people. It conjures up different images for different people and brings lots of questions to mind. Although we can’t answer all your questions, we will do our best to answer the most frequently asked questions!
What is the cost of the trip?
The cost of our trips vary depending on location, but we use a team approach to raising funds and like to see God provide for our needs. All teams build a support base for each mission. Our goal is to raise awareness about the needs around the world and spread the gospel. Each team member sends out support letters to family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. about the trip, asking people to join them in the mission. You don’t have to get on the plane to be part of the team. It takes lots of prayer, the people going and the people sending for a successful mission to take place! Don’t let the fact that we send letters out for support deter you from joining a team. If this is the only thing holding you back, you are missing out on so many opportunities for God to work in and through you.
What do I have to do to go?
The biggest requirement for any trip is to have a willing, servant’s heart focused on glorifying God. More can be done with that than anything else! There are the obvious requirements like needing a current passport and certain inoculations dependent upon destination, but we do have requirements such as attendance at team meetings to prepare you logistically, culturally, spiritually and emotionally. Each team member will take on a leadership role of some sort. Just as 1 Corinthians 12 talks about the diversity and unity in the Body of Christ, we encourage and desire for each team members gifts to be utilized. These roles will be defined in your first team meeting. Other requirements we ask each team member to meet are signing a team covenant, submitting all necessary paperwork and giving a deposit as a form of commitment to the trip. All requirements are covered in Info Meetings prior to team formation, as well as in the team meetings.
How long will we be gone?
Depends on what mission you are going on. Our domestic trips are typically 5 days and international trips are anywhere from 7 -12 days, depending on destination.
What if I just became a Christian?
We welcome all Christians, brand new to the faith or long-time believers to join us in the mission field. If you are a new believer, this is a great way to grow in your faith, to focus on God, to serve others, and to meet other believers who could be a great encouragement for you.
Will I have to share my testimony or preach on a street corner?
We don’t make anyone do anything they aren’t comfortable with, but we will help you prepare your story, if you have never shared it before. We encourage everyone to step out of their comfort zone and to be prepared to give an account of their faith when God opens the door. But no, we don’t do street corner preaching!
What do we do on the trip?
We try to have two components to each trip, no matter where you go – sharing your faith in word and deed. We strive to have a work project of some sort and an outreach component in the community we are serving in. What those look like exactly depends on where you are going and the giftings of your team members.
Who arranges everything in the country we are visiting?
St. Philip’s is blessed to have partners around the world. Through these partnerships, we have contacts in each country that help with all our in country logistics.
Is it safe?
There is always some level of risk in all international travel, but we prepare for that and stay in close contact with our in country liaisons. If there is some sort of uprising or issues going on in the area we will be traveling, we will make the determination at that time whether or not it’s safe to go.
What’s a typical day in the mission field look like?
It’s not a vacation! Our days are usually very full. We are up around7:00 am, eating breakfast by7:30, we have morning devotion as a team, head to our worksites or projects for the day by 9:00 am, break for lunch, continue with our projects and end work by 3:00 or 4:00 pm. Dinner at 6:00 pm with team devotion following it and sometimes there is an outreach project in the evening as well. It’s up to each team leader to set the schedule for the day based on outreach projects, weather, health of team, and many other factors.
We do want our team members to have time to process what it is that they are experiencing – so it’s up to each team member to use their time wisely as well. When you are given a break, you’ll want to take it and try to find time to journal, reflect and pray.
Can my spouse and I both go?
Sure, we have had many spouses go on trips together, but we do prefer that women room with women and men room with men on the trips.
Can I bring my children?
Our international trips are open to anyone 18 yrs and older. So if your child meets that requirement, great! We love to see families serving together. If your child is younger than 18, we have two other opportunities for you to serve with them: the Youth Mission trip (open to youth entering 7th grade and older) or the Family Mission trip (open to ages 8 and up accompanied by a parent).
Can I go on the youth trip with my child?
We would love for you to go on the Youth trip with your child. Serving alongside your youth and modeling your faith is very important. On the Youth trip though, you are considered an Adult Leader and are there for all the youth, not just your child. There will be times when you and your child are not together for a specific activity, or you may not be in the same small groups for discussion. This isn’t an opportunity to chaperone, it’s actually an opportunity to help lead some of our youth, including your own.
Why not just send money?
It’s a good question and one that is asked a lot. We don’t just send the money because God created us to be in relationship with each other. Money can’t speak. It can’t tell people or show people who Christ is and what He gave His life for. It can’t hug a child that needs to feel loved. It can’t teach a teacher the best way to make lesson plans. As westerners, we tend to think money is the answer to all problems. But it’s not, Christ is. Our teams get as much out of the trip as the people we go to serve. St. Philip’s missions are partnerships, and the vary definition of partner implies both parties benefit.
What good does it do since I can’t speak the language?
Ever heard the phrase “actions speak louder than words”? We have translators on each of our teams that go to countries that speak different languages. So you will have the opportunity to communicate with the local people. And even if you can’t speak the language – your presence, your smile, your help, your time, your love – speaks louder than any words you could say.
Why should we go and impose our beliefs on them?
We don’t impose our beliefs on anyone. We go with the love and spirit of Christ to serve others and it’s through our actions and words that they see Christ in us. That is when people might ask why you are doing what you do and you then have the opportunity to tell them, just as Christ loved us, we love them.
What if I’m not able to contribute anything to the team?
God created each of us uniquely with different personalities, skills, and life experiences to draw from. Mission teams are the greatest way to see the depth that God created in each of us. He brings people of diverse backgrounds together and it’s amazing to see how each of those people are used for His glory. We have had team members as young as age 8, all the way up to age 83 and all were able to contribute.