Family Mission Trips
The Best Kind

Family mission trips are the best kind in my mind.

Why do I say that?

Because since we love the Lord, we need to involve our whole family in loving and serving Him with us. Additionally, when the whole family takes a mission trip together, no one feels left out. Finally, when a family takes a mission trip together, the wife is there to take care of meals, cleaning, laundry, and anything else the family needs, so the ministries can be accomplished.

Family Mission Trips
Potential Problems

Nonetheless, family mission trips aren't without potential problems. First of all, if there are small children in the family, it may be difficult, or impossible to involve them in the ministry if you are making a short term mission trip.

If it is a long term trip, that won't be a problem, and their presence may open doors of opportunity for the parents.

However, if the children haven't made decisions for the Lord, they can't really be involved in mission work so they're just along for the ride.

Secondly, short term family mission trips are limited by the language barrier in many instances. Unless you travel to a mission field where your native language is spoken, you won't be able to communicate to do much evangelizing. Since reaching people with the gospel is the heart of missions, that is a problem.

Yet you can still be of great value to the work of Christ by serving in a supporting role. Anything a short term family mission trip can accomplish will be something the full time missionaries won't have to dedicate time to.

Finally, if you have children, you need to plan carefully to involve them in the mission ministry you go to accomplish. Otherwise, it might be better to make a couple's mission trip, and arrange to have friends or family take care of the children while you are gone.

If the ministry isn't something that can be done by children, the mother's ministry may need to be taking care of the children, or home-schooling them, so the father can accomplish his ministry on the field.

Family Mission Trips
Advantages

Family Mission Trips can be beautiful.

  1. It can accomplish short term projects, so missionaries don't have to take time from their major ministries to do them.
  2. It allows the family to experience different cultures.
  3. It teaches gratitude, since most mission fields won't have nearly as many things, as your family typically enjoys.
  4. It provides the opportunity for travel to foreign countries, not otherwise available for many families.
  5. It can provide tremendous motivation for foreign language learning.
  6. It can burden your heart for the needs of people who live in the country you minister in, and at times result in new friends that may last a lifetime.
  7. It will teach your family the value, and importance, of prayer in ways that few other things can.

Family Mission Trips
Disadvantages

  1. The trip may well be quite expensive. The larger your family, the more expensive it will be.
  2. You'll be leaving the familiar and trying to live in a strange place with few, if any, of the conveniences you're accustomed to.
  3. There may be a language barrier, if so, it makes it difficult to get to know people. Additionally, misunderstandings will easily occur.
  4. You probably won't be comfortable.
  5. Food may be far more expensive than it is where you live.
  6. Your children may struggle unless they were involved in the planning, and are willing participants.
  7. Last, but perhaps most importantly, Satan will oppose you! Missionaries are on the front lines of the battle. You can expect attacks.

Family Mission Trips
Planning Provides a Solid Foundation

  • Be sure you've planned ahead of time what you want to accomplish, and that it will help the missionaries on the field. Otherwise, you can actually hinder their ministry, and be a burden to them, rather than a help.
  • Don't expect them to spend their time entertaining you.
  • Plan where you'll be staying. Will you stay with missionaries or national believers? Will the mission church provide an apartment where you can stay? Or will you be responsible to pay for public lodging while you are there?
  • Also, if you need transportation while on the mission field, be sure you've planned ahead of time how that will be accomplished. Can the missionaries provide you with an extra vehicle to use, or will you need to rent one? Will they provide someone to drive you, will you be comfortable driving yourselves, or will you need to use public transportation?
  • Finally, plan what you'll be eating, and who will be responsible for providing food. If you think the missionaries will be providing it, and they think you'll be taking care of it, this could be a major problem!

Family Mission Trips
Purpose and Expectations are Key

As I mentioned in the description, a family mission trip can be a blessing, or a disaster, for you and for your family. What makes the difference?

Your purpose, and your expectations

The only good purpose to have for family mission trips is to serve the Lord. Please, don't take a family mission trip for a vacation! If you do, you won't be a help to the missionaries, and you'll probably be upset with the accommodations, since they are designed for usefulness, not comfort.

Secondly, your expectations should be to work primarily, and only sight-see around the edges.

If you go to help with construction, be sure you do a good job, and put in a good days work. Also be sure you are qualified to do the type of work you will be doing. Don't plan to wire a complicated project, if you are only a DIY electrician for your home!

If you go to help with other projects, the same principles apply.

Finally, expect to face opposition and misunderstandings, especially if there is a language barrier involved.

Be sure there is some way to communicate with the people you'll be working with. It is always best to have a plan B, if plan A doesn't work out.

Always be willing to be flexible! When I was a young missionary, one of the veterans told me flexibility was one of the most important traits a missionary could possess. Over the years I have found that very true.

Family Mission Trips
Conclusions

Serving the Lord is life's greatest privilege, but it is not without risks. Satan violently opposes the work of Christ in every way he can. When we purpose to serve in missions, we will experience his wrath. But, greater is Christ who is in us, than Satan, who is in the world.

If we are faithful, we can hear His "Well done, good and faithful servant". At that moment, it will truly be worth it all.

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