Leaders advise families planning mission trips
|Texas Conference families from the Longview District served together with Friendswood (Texas) United Methodist Church members on recent mission trips. |
More families are considering mission trips as a way to serve together. To meet this growing interest, United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) is maintaining a list of family mission opportunities at www.umvim.info. In addition to many sites in the United States, destinations in Costa Rica, Mexico and Puerto Rico are popular for families.
“People have been on UMVIM teams and want to go back with their families to do the same thing,” says Jeanie Blankenbaker, assistant general secretary for mission volunteers at the General Board of Global Ministries. “It’s a rather new concept.”
It’s important to be well-prepared. Blankenbaker and Kathie Mann, director of Partners in Mission for the Texas Conference, offer these tips:
- Choose a place that is safe for children. Check with the on-site hosts at the mission for details.
- Join other families to form a mission team and to provide more experiences for the youngsters, such as cross-cultural vacation Bible school.
- Let the UMVIM coordinator in your annual conference know about your plans.
- Get training before you go, and study the area.
- Make sure there are projects and cross-cultural opportunities for every age. Generally, children under 4 need supervision from a parent at all times.
- Take out appropriate insurance. The Board of Global Ministries offers accident insurance for families, teams and individuals.
More information is available by calling the United Methodist Mission Volunteers Program Area of the Board of Global Ministries at (800) 554-8583.