My 15-year-old daughter and I just got back from a mission trip. I now have done a mission trip with 2 of my 3 kids.
I don’t say that to brag, but to encourage you to do the same.
It is an awesome parent/child experience!
Below are 5 reasons why I think everyone should do a mission trip with their kids.
To do hard things. Mission trips are hard work. 8:30 - 3:30 in 100+ degree heat. Swinging hammers, carrying trash, knocking down walls, and more. Most of us don’t work like that every day, so to experience hard work is a great experience. Plus many of our kids don’t do a lot of labor, so for them to sweat, try to figure things out, and use a sledgehammer brings a smile to their faces!
To grow in empathy. Those reading this, probably have everything they need….and want. However, on mission trips, you are serving those in poverty. The family we served were victims of domestic violence. The environment of that home led to trash everywhere and a deteriorated house. Mission trips allow you to grow in empathy as you come alongside those who are experiencing tough times. Empathy is something we all need and mission trips allow for growth in that area.
To be more grateful. Many of us grow numb to the good things we have in our life. However, on a mission trip, you are reminded of how blessed you are. Whether you are an adult or teenager, comparison with your peers is real. Yet, a mission trip puts material things into perspective. The family we served had a small percentage of what you and I have, yet they had enormous smiles. Their happiness was not in material things, nor should ours be.
To be more resilient. Mission trips are unpredictable. Schedules change. Luggage doesn’t show up. Meals dont always align with your taste preferences. However, you power through. The experiences you have on a mission trip will make the stress of homework or a boardroom presentation much easier.
To grow in our faith. We all hear cool God stories, but it is a completely different experience when you and your kids get to experience a God story together. Whether it’s a baptism in the ocean, a person with very little singing a worship song at the top of their lungs, or hearing of someone’s tumor shrinking in size after prayer - our faith grows!
Bonus….to see your child in action. I love watching my kids do their activities. Seeing them on the field, on the stage, or just watching them talk with their friends brings a smile to my face. However, it is a 10x experience when you see them sweating and working hard as they serve a family in need. Every time I saw my daughters engaging with the family we were serving, my eyes got watery.
I also know my kids are impacted by these trips and it’s not just me being an emotional father.
My college daughter’s trip to Nicaragua when she was 15 years old had such an impact on her that she mentioned it in a majority of her college application essays. Plus, she is there right now as an 18-year-old volunteering for 6 weeks because she loved it so much.
You will not regret going on a mission trip with your kid. But you may regret not doing it!
Studies show that people regret more what they did NOT do, instead of what they did. Go for it.
If you aren't part of a church or non-profit that does mission trips, reach out. I can put you in touch with numerous places that would love to have you and your child!