"Before I came on the trip, I was selfish," Morgan reflected.
"However, now I realize that I begged for things that I wanted. But
the children at the orphanage appreciated the little things they
received." Fourteen-year-old Jessica agreed. "The trip changed my
life by putting everything into perspective. I no longer take
things for granted."
Lesson 9: It is more blessed to
give than to receive.
After days of playing, working on the grounds of the orphanage,
training children's ministry workers and children, and worshiping
together, it's time for us to return home. But we won't return the
same. We've been transformed by our experiences and our exposure to
a land and people different from ourselves. We've had the
opportunity to develop our gifts and listen to God, away from the
distractions of home.
At the end of the trip Gabriella, a children's worker who helped
lead the trip, told me, "My eyes are open to the needs of others. I
have a greater awareness to the need of bringing others to Christ.
Our lives on earth are so short. But our spiritual lives are
everlasting. I have the key to preach the gospel. I don't want to
lose the opportunity to share Christ with others."
Was it worth it? Would I take another seven-hour bus ride on a
non-air-conditioned bus through the mountains in Mexico? Would I
take children and expose them to experiences that'll impact them
for a lifetime and assist them in discovering God's calling? Would
I again endure the 110-degree heat, bad water, and inability to
understand the language to impact the kingdom of God? By all
Tony Lane serves in various positions, including as his
denomination's Sunday school and Christian Education Coordinator in
Cleveland, Tennessee. He's the author of Changing Ministry in
Changing Times (Pathway Press). Children's missions trips will
continue under his supervision. For more information, call (423)
• • •
Are parents ready to send their children to a foreign country?
Are you confident that they'll support you in prayer? Can your
church handle the financial demands? Here are logistical details to
consider as you lead a children's mission trip.
- Leadership -- Those leading the trip must be
strong, committed, and experienced in intercultural ministry.
Parents can come along, but they should understand that their role
on the journey is to participate and encourage kids.
- Expenses -- As you consider locations for the
trip, consider the costs. Keep in mind the currency exchange rates
in planning your budget. Involve children in raising funds for the
trip. Their personal involvement will allow them to have greater
appreciation for the experience.
- Training -- As you prepare children, keep in
mind that it's essential for training to begin with discipleship.
Be selective about the children who'll participate. Help kids
understand that going is a privilege. Set high standards for those
- Team -- Before going, build your team. To be
effective on the field, your group of individuals must become a
ministry team. This can only be achieved by spending time together,
playing together, and praying together. Help kids understand what
to expect as they enter another culture. Practice songs, dramas,
and anything else planned for ministry. Learn some of the language.
Have kids write their personal stories about how God has changed
- Travel -- Determine what passports, documents,
IDs, or visas you'll need. Acquire insurance and medical releases.
Certain locations require immunizations. Airports require consent
to travel forms for minors. Check with specific airlines regarding
additional restrictions and rules.