When I was in college, my parents had finally granted me permission to embark on a spring break trip with my friends. However, after years of watching the unsavory antics of spring break teens on channels like MTV, what was once a certain kind of curiosity turned about these beach-bound trips turned into a measured amount of repulsiveness. Looking for another way to spend my time, I enrolled in our university's Alternative Spring Break program, offered in conjunction with a local church. While our spring break destination was a far cry from the beach (we helped build homes in the projects of a Mexican border town), it became one of the most memorable experiences of my life. If you or your kids are considering a service trip, here are a few reasons you must absolutely take advantage of this opportunity. 1. You'll be working with a diverse team of people who are all united under the welcoming umbrella of faith and good works.
This was perhaps my favorite part of participating in a mission trip. There's nothing quite like a several-days long trip to get to know other members of your church or school. You'll also likely work in conjunction with other teams from other churches, so you'll meet a wide variety of people. It's fascinating to get so many different perspectives on faith while still being united under the common goal of.
2. You'll gain exposure to what poverty is really like.
Although we may understand poverty by reading about it or watching programs on television, the reality of poverty doesn't hit with quite the same force until you see it first-hand. This is an especially important lesson for younger children, who may have not yet realized how incredibly lucky they are that their material needs are not just met in a basic sense but are exceeded by a vast majority of the world. You'll never feel as grateful until you take a mission trip.
3. You'll feel an incredibly rewarding exhaustion that comes after a day spent doing manual work.
For most of us, our conception of manual labor does not extend beyond doing a few household chores. If you go on a mission or service trip that involves helping construct houses, you'll gain a newfound respect for those who earn their (often meager) livelihoods doing backbreaking work. Although the post-work exhaustion can be really trying, it's also great to feel a physical connection with your work. It's a feeling that is far too often lost in our modern service economy.
If your church or school does not already have a service program set up, be sure to check out ChristianVolunteering.org for available volunteer opportunities.
About the Author: This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at online college about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @ gmail.com.