Some of our families do both trips but others choose only one. We know this. In fact, we say outright that the international trip might not be the right fit for every student in our ministry for a variety of reasons. Whenever a parent asks me whether or not I think their student should participate in our international trip, I ask them these 10 questions:
1. Has your teen been on a mission trip before? I sometimes require this for international trips. Why? Because previous mission trip experiences enable teens to have an understanding of what to expect; they also give them a framework for the experience they’re about to have.
2. Does your teen take their faith seriously? It’s okay for mission trip participants to be in different places in their faith. However, they have to take it seriously. They have to know that everything you do will be tied to faith. They have to be willing to grow in their faith and to share it with others.
3. Are you and your teen willing to make the commitment necessary to prepare for this trip? International mission trips require preparation – spiritual, cultural, financial, and team-building. If you’re not willing to commit to being all-in, then an international mission trip may not be the right fit for you.
4. Does your teenager enjoy traveling? To go on an international mission trip, a teenager need not have extensive travel experience. However, to flourish on an international mission trip, they should enjoy traveling.
5. How well does your teen do away from home? Some teens suffer from a great deal of anxiety whenever they’re away from their parents or home for an extended period of time. Teens who thrive on an international mission trip will be able to get by with limited (if any) contact from their parents (or family).