If you have been on a mission trip, you understand all the preparation that goes into the trip. You have to fundraise, prepare your heart, and pack your bags, all of which can be difficult! Sometimes, preparing for a mission trip can feel a little like you are being thrown into the deep end, trying to keep a float and figure it all out.
I am yet again preparing to lead a mission trip overseas, and as I was preparing to leave home, I thought about all the trips I have been on and the role my friends have had in that preparation. I have been blessed with incredible friends at home and they have been amazing help each time I am preparing to leave for a trip.
If you have a friend going on a mission trip this summer and are unsure of how to help her, I have a few tips from what my friends have done for me.
Pray with her and for her.
Once you find out a friend is going on a mission trip, start to pray for her! Even if her trip is months away, she still needs so much prayer because the preparation is such an important part of the journey. Ask her specifically what you can be praying for. Do they need finances? A visa or passport? Peace in the preparation? Spiritual support? Be faithful to actively pray for her and ask her every few weeks what she needs prayer for as she begin her journey.
Help with fundraising.
Fundraising is hard and anyone who has ever been on a mission trip will tell you this. Maybe you don’t have a lot of money that you can contribute to your friend’s mission trip, but give what you can! Help her host a fundraiser, share her fundraising efforts on your social media or use your talents to help raise money. Some of my friends threw me a breakfast fundraiser at their house a few months ago and we invited everyone we knew to come enjoy breakfast and make a donation to my mission trip. Each thing you contribute will put your friend a little closer to being fully funded for her mission trip!
Be excited for her.
If you are like me, it can be really difficult to be the one left behind when your friend leaves for a mission trip. Be careful not to let this feeling turn into jealousy. It is heartbreaking to tell a friend about your mission trip and then feel like they do not care or worse, are so jealous of you that they make you feel terrible about leaving. Be the friend that is excited and supportive. Understand that this is the time that the Lord has called them to in the field and if that is a desire in your heart, God will give you an opportunity to go as well.
Check on her while she’s gone.
Once you give your friend a super send off and she takes off for her adventure, your job is not done! Contact her while she is gone. Especially toward the end of the trip. Just send them a short message letting her know that you miss her and are praying for her. Being homesick on the field is hard, but just knowing that your friends back home are thinking of you and praying for you brings so much comfort. Your friend may not want to talk to people at home a lot during her trip so she can be fully present in the ministry they are doing overseas. Please respect this! Know that they love and miss you and can not wait to tell you everything, but sending a short message here and there while she is gone will make her feel so loved!
Coming home from a mission trip is incredibly difficult. Missions has the ability to change you in a beautiful way and the transition home can make you homesick for the country you just left. Be patient and give grace to your friends during this transition. They may want to see you immediately and talk for hours telling you everything God did in their hearts and lives during their experiences. Or they may want some time to process alone before they see you. Learn to be ok with what they need.
One of the hardest things about coming home is feeling alone because no one can really understand what you experienced on the mission field because they were not there. As a friend at home, you can offer incredible support to your friends as they return from their mission trip. Give them space when they need it and your listening ear when you can. Ask them questions deeper than what their favorite moment was. Ask them what was hard. Ask them what God did in their heart. Ask them how they feel about being home and what you can do to help. I firmly believe that missions is not and should never be a lonely journey. We need our community around us to support us during the journey.
If you have friends going on a mission trip this summer, be available to support them before, during, and after their journey in anyway you can. And when it is your turn to go, they will be there to support you in the same way.
What are some other tips you have to support your friends on their mission trips?
What makes you feel supported when you are the one serving overseas?
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