7 Benefits of Mission Trips

To go on a mission trip or to not go on a mission trip? That is the question. As Youth 4 Orphans’ staff members who have been on over 40 international and domestic mission trips combined, we (Sage Boysen and Rebecca Clark) thought we might be able to help by sharing 7 benefits we have personally experienced from choosing to go on a mission trip. 

Maybe you’ve been presented with the opportunity to go on a mission trip and are unsure if you should go on one. After all, traveling and taking time off of work can be expensive, they require you to step out of your comfort zone, and sometimes it is hard to see the immediate impact you can make. However, as those who have been on several mission trips, we want to take a moment to encourage you to prayerfully consider these seven benefits of serving on a mission trip. (By the way, if you don’t currently have an opportunity to go on one, check out ours!) 

Mount Alvernia, Cat Island, Bahamas

Naturally, going on a mission trip, whether it is domestic or international, moves you away from the daily distractions that typically put you into your comfort zone. It is when you are out of your comfort zone that you can have opportunities for growth, learning new skills, and reflecting on how you want to respond to moments that require patience, collaboration, and trying new things. It is often outside our comfort zone, that God stretches us if we allow ourselves to be open to Him in the process. Each person’s “uncomfortable” looks different as well; so, while mine (Sage) may be attempting to hike down a mountain without falling, yours may be going crabbing. 

Rebecca, East Africa, 2016

Oftentimes, going on a mission trip becomes a “mountain top” experience, as even when you are out of your comfort zone, it is exciting to travel, meet new people, experience a new culture, and watch the exciting things that God does during the trip. While we do not rely on these moments to sustain our faith, these moments can certainly help revitalize our excitement for living out our calling to “go and make disciples.” The mountain top of seeing other Christians working together to fulfill this mission can help remind you that you are not alone in your Christian walk on the days when it is difficult.  

So we just mentioned that mission trips can reinvigorate you with a passion to go and make disciples. When Jesus called us to “go and make disciples of all nations…” (see Matt. 28:19), it was not a suggestion but a commission, or a command. Mission trips are one of the many ways Christians have the opportunity to participate in fulfilling this command. Oftentimes, I (Rebecca) have heard people say, “I really need to pray about going on a mission trip.” Yes, there is certainly wisdom in prayerfully considering whether you are called to participate in a particular mission trip at a specific time. However, if all other factors seem to check out, you can be confident that a Christ-centered mission trip aligns with the will of God and what He has called us to do. Personally, I would say that for Christians, it is not a matter of if they should go on a mission trip, but rather when they should go on one.  

Iryna and Lilly, Cat Island Trip, 2020

Mission trips vary in length, but you may be surprised how quickly you bond with your team and those you are ministering to on even a week-long trip. According to this article from Penn State University, sharing a “thrill-packed” experience,” such as riding a roller coaster can be an incredibly bonding experience for individuals. Well, while I (Rebecca) am no scientist, I would propose that mission trips may be a similar thrill-packed experience with the ups and downs of experiencing a new culture, overcoming challenges and discomforts, problem-solving, and working together to see God do amazing things! As a result, mission trips are also incredibly bonding. After my first few mission trips, I realized that mission trip teams become a family, as you all experienced a unique trip, to a unique location, at a unique time that you will not be able to replicate exactly with any other team in the future. For me and my teammates, the experiences of seeing people come to know Jesus, riding on a packed ferry on our way home from a remote African Island, bartering for our groceries in a market, laughing when the bidet on our toilet broke and water was shooting all over the bathroom, being woken up by monkeys running all over our roof in the middle of the night, dancing with kids at a church service, and eating dinner with pastors who were risking their lives are unique memories that we all uniquely cherish and still talk about years later. Likewise, because of the technology of today, I have been able to maintain contact with some of the friends I had met internationally. One of these friends did not know the Lord when our team met him, and our team was able to stay in touch and watch him grow in his understanding of the Gospel and eventually come to follow Christ.  

Rebecca, Southern Asia

Our founder, Terry Hand, realized early on in doing mission trips that they often lead to a perspective shift. While not every mission trip exposes you to extreme poverty/conditions, the nature of serving on a mission trip means that you are meeting needs. No matter the need you are helping to meet—whether it be physical (food, clothes, shelter, etc.), emotional (comfort, fun, support, etc.), or spiritual (the Gospel), it is bound to put things into perspective. Such a perspective shift may allow you to experience gratitude for what you do have and grow you in stewarding and being generous with your resources. It may also lead you to gain perspective on other areas of your life that you want to grow in. And finally, it may simply help you remember that the need for sharing the Gospel is great everywhere and that we can live a life outside a bubble of Christians by living on mission wherever we are.   

Rickeno, Cat Island, 2013

One of our favorite parts of mission trips is how both parties (the mission team and the local believers) get to be encouraged. Local believers may be facing unique challenges that those of us stateside may not be as familiar with, especially when it comes to access to Christian resources or certain legal challenges to practicing their faith. Mission teams have the opportunity to encourage and support these Believers. But even in places where Christianity is openly practiced like The Bahamas, we can still provide encouragement that is helpful for the Body of Christ. Where we serve in the Bahamas, we have the opportunity to provide programming for our kiddos that give the house moms a break and hopefully some encouragement as well. We also hope to encourage the local community that our kiddos live in, in hopes that they may feel the benefit throughout the year. As our team members work together to make these mission trips successful, they are also encouraged to grow together with their communities back home in the love of Christ. This leads us to our seventh benefit… 

Sage and Abbi, Naples Florida, 2021

Participating in a mission trip can provide you with both the realization that there are opportunities to serve in your own backyard, and the courage to go do so. Being located just outside Immokalee, Florida whose poverty rate in 2021 was 121.87% higher than the US average (2021) it’s hard to deny that opportunity surrounds us (more information here). When COVID hit, we knew we needed to change focus, and Y4O started the groundwork on some of our local mission opportunities. Now, I (Sage) can expand on some of the content I have written for international mission trips in my own community to serve others. This courage gained on the mission field is certainly a great long-term benefit to continuing fulfilling the Great Commission in one’s day-to-day life.  

We hope that these seven benefits encourage you to one day participate in a mission trip. Even if you are nervous to travel or try something new, you may be surprised at what’s in store for you just outside your comfort zone. If you are looking for a mission trip opportunity, Youth 4 Orphans is offering two summer 2023 mission trips to The Bahamas. Sage has been to The Bahamas several times and can provide wisdom and encouragement to anyone who joins our teams this summer! Contact Sage at sa**@yo***********.org to learn more about what you would experience on these trips. If you are interested in signing up for either of these trips contact Rebecca at re*****@yo***********.org.  But whether your “yes” to a mission trip is now or in the future, with Youth 4 Orphans or another organization, we cheer you on in continuing to go and make disciples both in your own backyard and across the world!  

Sage Boysen

Sage has been a leader with Youth 4 Orphans since our second trip in 2011. In 2018, she took a leap of faith and became an intern with Y4O, which transitioned to her working with us full-time. She continues to share her experience and knowledge through leading trips, designing programs, mentoring, and much more.

Rebecca Clark

Rebecca attended her first mission trip at the age of 16 in 2013. She has since been on 7 trips all over the world. She began her journey with Youth 4 Orphans in 2022 and currently oversees our Connections Program to make biblical discipleship accessible to young people locally and abroad.