Throughout the year, people from Woodland Hills head out on short-term mission trips. But did you know that some of those people are families? We asked three parents about their experiences of taking their kids on mission trips recently and wanted to share their answers with you.
What appealed to you about doing a mission trip with your child/children?
Joshua:There were two major reasons I wanted to go on a trip like this. The first and foremost is that I want my kids to grow up with the value of serving others. Many times, we serve others while we are apart from our kids. I wanted my kids to experience serving others with us. The second reason is that I was just really curious about what a trip like this looked like. I have led and been part of many different mission trips but never been on a family mission trip.
Erin:I want my children to live humbly, giving and serving others. I also want them to know that we are all people and come from the same God; we all matter. I knew it was a safe place for them to go and interact with other children (Esperanza Viva). I wanted them to have fun and learn from other children from another country. Both my boys speak Spanish, so it was good for their learning of the language. I wanted them to know they were serving and helping, but also just coming along side other children just as they are.
Michelle: I was born and raised on the mission field and feel that exposing our kids to the reality of our world is so beneficial. The hope is that it will give them an appreciation for what they have and give them a heart for people around the world.
Did you have any fears/worries leading up to the trip?
Michelle: I wouldn’t say fears or worries, but I prayed that God would give Madelyn opportunities to see Him in a new way and experience her faith differently than she does here. I was hopeful that she would find her own connection with the kids and not lean on me to make that happen for her.
Erin:I guess my main worry was the finances to make it on the mission trip. I had to raise money for the 3 of us. I also needed to make sure we all had passports. We had a small glitch that worried me for a minute. I wasn’t too worried but had a small concern about health. I hoped they would stay well, especially since we were in another country.
Joshua:Not really, I guess my major fear was just around food for my child and whether they would eat or not. I was a little worried that the value of the team connecting with one another wasn’t super high before the trip, but it did grow on the trip.
What did your child/children feel about going on a mission trip?
Erin: They wanted to know what they would be doing. They hoped they could communicate with the kids. Theo had never been on a plane, so he was very nervous about that part. They wondered about where they would sleep and what they would eat. However, we planned a lot ahead of time, so we had a lot of time to talk.
Joshua: My child was really curious what the kids lives were like in the youth home. Kate was most excited to get to know the students of Esperanza Viva.
Michelle: Madelyn was VERY excited but nervous. She was excited to work with kids. After the 1st trip, she did nothing but ask me when we could go again and that is why we returned last year.
What were your favorite things about doing a mission trip together?
Joshua: The amount of time we got to spend together. The conversations about God other countries and the way other people live. How her friendships grew with the others kids from Woodland on the trip.
Erin: Wow! It was so incredible to see all the kids playing together. We went with 10 kids and they got to plan all the activities they would do with the kids when we were there and it was so fun to watch them lead. The challenge of the different language didn’t matter to them. Kids just love being around one another. We sang and prayed together as a group. We were able to venture out and see the city of Puebla.
Michelle: I think that Madelyn was able to see my faith stretched and see me doing things out of my comfort zone and it made her less apprehensive to step out of her comfort zone as well. We learned the power of prayer together and the 2nd year, she was even comfortable enough with prayer, to be able to participate out loud. She also saw how prayer can change things and the incredible faith that these believers have.
How has the trip changed you/your child and/or your relationship?
Michelle: The trips have given Madelyn a love for missions. My heart has always been in missions and I prayed that God would allow me to help show Madelyn the impact that missions has on us as well as on our world. It has opened up more of an opportunity to stop and pray when we don’t know what to do because that is what we did when we were there. I believe it ignited a fire in me to continue to seek God’s will as it relates to missions in my life and I believe that Madelyn will at some point go into missions full time because of the impact of these trips.
Joshua: Having a shared experience together, we are able to connect on a deeper level. Many of our conversations about faith and service already have a starting point as we go back.
Erin: I will talk about our trip over time and remind them about how the kids there live so simply and in a confined space, yet they seem so happy. I remind them of how much we have and how we should always remember those in need. The trip will always be a beautiful memory, but we will continue to live serving others whenever we can. We will always be more connected because of it. It is a trip we can refer back to. We will continue to pray over the kids. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done with my own children. Isaiah has gone twice and I feel like he really takes it to heart. I hope to do it again one day.
We encourage you and your family to look for ways to serve together, whether that be through a mission trip opportunity or simply serving your neighborhood or community or here at Woodland Hills.