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Best 2021 Mission Trips: 15 Meaningful Opportunities to Serve

APRIL 2020

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by Abbie Thiebaut Abbie is a full-time member of the EM staff who uses her experience leading mission trips to encourage others to serve in communities across the U.S. and around the world.

Note: While we’re saddened by the number of trips that won’t happen in 2020 due to COVID-19, we want to continue offering ways to love and serve your neighbors locally and globally. If you find yourself unable to go in 2020, there are still opportunities to serve your neighbors from a distance this year while planning for your 2021 mission trip.

Meaningful mission trips create life-changing opportunities, both for participants and the communities they come alongside. But these meaningful experiences often don’t happen without a significant amount of effort and planning by trip organizers, team leaders, and missions organizations like EM—from building up meaningful local connections to sorting through travel logistics and ministry opportunities. That’s why it’s never too early to start planning for your next mission trip.

There are many factors that go into choosing a location for your trip, and it’s important to consider the following when narrowing down on a mission trip location that works well for your team.

Age Group: Depending on the age and maturity of your team, different trips are going to be a better fit for your group. All of our trips are open for high school students and older, but some are a better fit for middle schoolers.

Type of Community: Experience Mission offers trips to international locations as well as domestic trips to urban and rural locations, including disaster relief communities. Trips to each of these communities offer unique learning opportunities and cultural experiences for teams who come to serve.

Travel Distance: The distance that your team is willing or able to travel will be a factor in determining where your team should serve. EM offers trips coast to coast, so there’s a good chance there’s a trip within driving distance for you!

Skills: While we work with teams with all kinds of backgrounds and areas of expertise, some teams may find themselves better suited for construction or relational trips. For example, if your team has more construction experience, hurricane relief trips may be a great fit.

International Mission Trips

Belize

Join us in Belmopan, Belize as you work alongside a growing church network. During your 7-day experience, your team will have opportunities to meet tangible needs through home repair and construction projects, while also working alongside the growing church to host Kids Club programs and church building projects. This trip is a great fit for those looking to serve on their first international mission trip because English is widely spoken throughout the country.

Costa Rica

Experience Mission has partnerships in two unique communities on the Bribri reservation in Costa Rica. Shiroles is the slightly-more-developed community of the 2, where teams partner with local churches through Kids Club, home repairs, and many other initiatives led by local pastors and EM’s community partners. If your team is more adventurous, travel further into the jungle and serve in Coroma, a remote community only accessible by boat.

Jamaica

Fly into Montego Bay, Jamaica where you will be greeted by our community partners before an hour-long bus ride through winding mountain roads where you will find Fellowship of God church in Catadupa, Jamaica. During your week serving alongside this church community, you will have opportunities to be an extension of the church through home and construction projects as well as a daily Kids Club and church activities. As one of Experience Mission’s longest partnerships, this trip is ideal for a wide variety of teams.

Cuba

Because of strict U.S. government regulations related to this island country, many people do not know that mission trips are allowed to take place in Cuba. However, for several years, Experience Mission has partnered with local faith leaders to bring mission teams in order to strengthen and encourage growing churches. These trips offer a variety of experiences to immerse in local cultures while providing much-needed support for active, life-giving ministries.

Haiti

Mission Trips in Haiti are a unique chance to make a long-term impact in a nation battling extreme poverty. You’ll do more than meet temporary needs, you’ll partner with a long-term organization seeking to create a better future for Haitians. From local churches to EM’s RISING program, you will encounter bright young leaders committed to building a better future for their families, their community, and their country.

Africa

Trips in Cape Town and Pretoria offer unique glimpses into diverse lifestyles in South Africa. These may not be your typical Africa Mission Trips. You will do more than offer short-term solutions. You will join local organizations and EM’s Africa partners in providing the necessary energy to keep working toward a brighter future. While serving, you’ll have opportunities to learn about South African culture and history while hearing first-hand about dreams for the future.

Hurricane Relief/Rebuilding Mission Trips

Bahamas 

In September of 2019, the Bahamas experienced the most catastrophic storm on record for the small cluster of islands. Many lives were lost, homes and churches destroyed, and families left asking, “What now?” Yet the Bahamian people are resilient and continue to rebuild despite continuing difficulties — including most relief trips being canceled in 2020 due to Coronavirus restrictions. Will you say yes to encouraging families facing a long road to recovery?

Puerto Rico

In 2017, Hurricane Maria made worldwide headlines as it ripped through Puerto Rico’s communities. While many families have been able to recover, no one who experienced the storm will ever be the same. For those who were struggling financially before the storm, the journey has been more difficult. Many were not eligible for FEMA aid and have been left with little available to them to rebuild. Alongside local partners, EM teams have the chance to rebuild a community — one house at a time.

Urban Mission Trips

New York City

Mission Trips in NYC are a chance to go beyond what you’ve seen on TV and get to know those who call the city home. From church leaders meeting their community’s needs to those left behind by a city always seeking to do more and be more, you’ll immerse yourself in ministry for the week as you encourage those around you through meeting practical needs and providing extra energy to church-led initiatives.

Washington D.C.

In the shadows of our nation’s capital are some of the country’s most marginalized communities. From refugees seeking to create a better life to families facing generational poverty, you will find genuine need—alongside genuine hope. Build relationships with people served by our local ministry partners while working to meet needs in the community. From hosting a daily Kids Club to serving in the food pantry, you’ll find purpose in small and big moments and leave your mission trip with a heart to serve your local community back home.

Atlanta

Jump into the neighborhoods that birthed the Civil Rights movement. During your 6 days in the southside of Atlanta, you’ll spend time partnering with local ministries while gaining important cultural and historical context for the prejudice and movements that still shadow daily life in this community.

Portland, Maine

Serve on the coast of Maine. You’ll partner with a ministry committed to serving refugees of all faith backgrounds. You’ll offer year-round volunteers a life-giving break from daily ministry life as teams lead the way with Kids Club programming and offer extra hands for outreach programs.

Rural Mission Trips

West Virginia

Experience Mission partners with two communities in West Virginia. Whether you find yourself in Webster Springs or McDowell County, you’ll bring energy to local church ministries and help families who are caught in cycles of poverty as you jump into home repairs and other community-led initiatives.

Kentucky

Join us in the Appalachian hills of Pike County, Kentucky for a unique ministry experience. You’ll work alongside a church seeking to utilize its resources to serve their neighbors in critical ways. From home repairs to nursing home visits and meal ministries, your team will bring a renewed energy to programs that improve the lives of locals year-round.

Navajo Nation

Whether you serve in New Mexico or Arizona, you’ll experience what life on “The Rez” looks like first hand. From making Navajo tacos to evening chats with local leaders, you’ll immerse in a unique way of life unlike anything else. While these experiences are sure to change your heart and deepen your faith, you’ll also have a chance to serve alongside the church through a daily Kids Club while rolling up your sleeves for some serious home repair projects! Trips to the reservation offer an incredible cross-cultural experience that doesn’t require a passport.

No matter where you feel called to serve next year, we hope you’ll do so with a humble heart and a hope to be challenged and changed alongside a local community. Interested in learning more about a 2021 Mission Trip? Fill out an interest form to get started!

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