Pittsburgh mission trips allow team members to step into a new culture in several neighborhoods that have become home to East African refugees. Our local partners have deep relationships and trust with these neighbors, developing a vision for children and youth programming for this community during the summer. Teams will be able to be hands-on with leading lessons, games, and crafts alongside local adult and teen volunteers.
As these immigrant families adjust and build a new life in the U.S., team members will be able to learn from them: hearing first-hand stories about their experience as refugees or getting insight from immigration experts about the challenges families face during the process of resettlement.
Your team will need to come with an open heart and be willing to follow cultural-sensitivity guidelines as you interact with immigrant families. The trip is open to high school students or older, although rising 9th graders may also join the trip at the leader’s recommendation.
(*Please note: Kids Club will be Tuesday-Thursday morning with a cultural orientation day and scavenger hunt in the city on Monday!)
Will you join us in serving this community of refugee families on a 2023 mission trip to Pittsburgh?
Kids Club with East African refugee kids and teens will be a key focus of this trip. Teams will need to come prepared to follow cultural-sensitivity guidelines in an effort to respect and honor local families who are getting adjusted to life in the U.S. Teams will follow the guidance of our staff and local partners when preparing and sharing lessons, creating an environment where kids and their parents can be comfortable and hear meaningful messages.
During the trip, you'll spend much of your time supporting local ministry partners as they work to reach their neighborhoods. This may include projects around the neighborhood or coming alongside local refugee families to help with minor home projects.
Each morning, there is time set aside for devotions and quiet time. This is a valuable time and we strongly encourage everyone to spend it with God journaling their thoughts and experiences as the days unfold. EM will provide a physical or printable devotional journal.
EM staff will provide materials for a self-guided time of debriefing and a short devotional in the evening (what we call "Evening Gathering") and it is a great time to incorporate musical worship.
3-6pm - Groups Arrive
5pm - Leader's Meeting
6pm - Dinner
7pm - Orientation Meeting
8:30pm - Team Time (a time for your group alone)
11:30pm - Lights Out
7:15am - Breakfast
7:45am - Devotions and Quiet Time
8:15am - Group Prayer
8:30am - Cultural Orientation with Partners
1pm - Lunch
2-5pm - Afternoon Scavenger Hunt & Learning Tour
6pm - Dinner at local spot
7:15am - Breakfast
7:45am - Devotions and Quiet Time
8:15am - Group Prayer
8:30am - Teams leave for Morning Ministry
9am - Kids Club begins 1pm - Lunch
2-4pm - Afternoon Ministry
4:30pm - Break and Clean-up
5pm - Leaders meeting
6pm - Dinner
7pm - Evening Gathering / Team time
*Possible evening ministry programs
7:30am - Breakfast
8am - Cleanup / Packing / Pictures
9am - Goodbyes
Teams serving in Pittsburgh will stay at a local church or school in the neighborhood depending on the week.
Teams will be sleeping on the floor and should plan on bringing mats or air mattresses as well as a sleeping bag or light bedding and a pillow.
Bathrooms and Showers
Teams will have access to bathrooms at the local church and ministry sites but will need to shower at a nearby school.
Teams will have access to water at the housing location and at their work and outreach sites. Everyone should plan to bring refillable water bottles to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Electricity & WiFi
There is electricity available to teams where they will be staying, as well as at most work and outreach locations. However, we encourage team members to set their phones aside and fully engage in ministry. It may not be appropriate to use your phone or take photos at certain ministry sites.
Housing will be in a secure facility. Doors are locked at night with controlled access. However, team members are discouraged from bringing valuables. The neighborhoods where teams are serving during the day have visible needs and a rough reputation. Teams will not be permitted to go to certain locations at night, but ministry will take place during the day and with the supervision of local staff who know the community well. Please come prepared to step out of your comfort zone and demonstrate maturity while serving.
A wonderful team of local cooks, alongside your Experience Mission Summer Staff, will be preparing and serving your meals. Breakfast and dinner will be served buffet-style, and your team will pack your lunches. Team members should plan to bring their own reusable plate, bowl, cup, and silverware for meals or the team should purchase bulk paper products ahead of time.
Teams should plan to fly into the Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), which is approximately 30 minutes from the housing location.
Your team's transportation to, from, and while in Pittsburgh is not covered by the cost of your trip. You will need your vehicles throughout the entire week to transport your team to various locations for work and ministry.
NOTE: Using a school bus as your main mode of transportation while in this community is NOT an ideal option. 15-passenger vans or smaller vehicles are your best choice for transportation in Pittsburgh.
All EM Summer Staff are certified in First Aid and CPR.
Medical kits that include first-aid supplies for general accidents and ailments are provided for each site. In domestic locations, we ask that teams supply their own medications like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Benadryl, and Imodium as they deem necessary. In international locations, we will also carry a Trauma Kit or First Responder Kit. In these remote locations, we will have medications like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Benadryl, and Imodium on hand. We make these available to adult team leaders for their sole discretionary use with their team members. EM Staff will not dispense any medications.
Emergency Response Plan
Based on the severity of each emergency, EM has a plan for appropriate response.
- If a team member becomes seriously ill, they will be taken to a local doctor to receive appropriate medical attention and medications. If they are a minor, their Team Leader along with our staff will accompany them to the clinic. If needed, their parents will be contacted. Their recovery will be carefully monitored by our staff.
- If there is an accident that requires a doctor, but is not life-threatening and does not have the potential to cause permanent damage, Experience Mission staff will locate the Team Leader, contact parents or guardians (providing the injured is a minor), and provide safe but quick transportation to a local clinic.
- In the event that an accident occurs which is life-threatening or has the potential for permanent damage, emergency medical care will be secured and arraignments will be made if necessary, to transport the injured person to the United States as quickly as possible providing they are serving in one of our International locations. In our domestic locations, local 911 services will be contacted immediately. The family will be contacted immediately to assist in guidance for appropriate response.
All medical care is the sole responsibility of the team member. Experience Mission requires every team member to be covered by domestic medical insurance and recommends that team members traveling abroad carry additional international travel insurance to cover any medical needs their domestic medical insurance may not cover.
As with all mission trips, it is essential that volunteers are up to date on all childhood immunizations. Each volunteer must also have a tetanus shot.
Check out EM's current Covid Guidance
Experience Mission has specific policies regarding team registration and withdrawal. Please refer to the document below for specifics.
All volunteers on a week-long EM mission trip must be part of a team of at least six (6) people, with at least one team member age 21 or older to serve as the Team Leader. Not part of a group? All young adults ages 18-30 are eligible to apply for EM's IMMERSION program.
What age group can you accommodate in Pittsburgh?
Mission trips to Pittsburgh, PA, are open to high school-age students and older.
How much do Pittsburgh mission trips cost?
The cost for this trip in 2023 is $450/person. This includes lodging, food, staffing, and all trip-related expenses.
What seasons do you offer Pittsburgh mission trips?
As a new community partner for Experience Mission, trips to Pittsburgh in 2022 are limited to a few weeks in mid-summer.
Do you offer spring break trips in Pittsburgh?
We do not currently offer spring trips to this community. Call 888-475-6414 to inquire about custom options or check out all our spring break mission trip communities.
What will I do on an Pittsburgh mission trip?
Teams in Pittsburgh will engage with refugee communities, helping to put on kids programs and serving in a variety of ways, while learning from local people about their stories and culture.
Will we work with children in Pittsburgh?
Yes! Children's ministry is likely to be a big part of mission trips in Pittsburgh. EM Kids Club is an integral part of the ministry on many EM trips. If it will be part of your mission trip, your EM support contact will provide you with the resources needed to prepare your team.
Where will my team stay in Pittsburgh?
Teams will be sleeping on the floor in rooms at a local church. Plan to bring sleeping mats or air mattresses. Meals will also be at this location, while showers will be available at a location off-site at specific times during the week.
Are meals provided for Pittsburgh mission trips?
Yes! Meals will be provided by local cooks and Experience Mission staff for the duration of your trip. Our mission trip food policy outlines the details of what we can accommodate for dietary restrictions and more.
How does transportation work during Pittsburgh mission trips?
You will arrange your own transportation in Pittsburgh. We recommend 15-passenger vans and smaller. We don't recommend relying on buses as a mode of transportation for this trip.
What time can I arrive in Pittsburgh?
Check-in is between 3pm and 5pm on the first day of your selected trip. Our staff will be awaiting your arrival. Dinner is provided, followed by an orientation meeting to get you ready for the week.
What should I pack for an Pittsburgh trip?
A suggested packing list will be available once you register for your trip. Generally, you'll only need clothing, personal items, and bedding! We'll have all the necessary materials for projects and outreach opportunities on-site.
Does EM have any Covid requirements for teams?
We ask that teams bring 1-2 masks/person and 2-4 rapid tests in the event that someone on your team becomes sick during the trip. Outside of that, we simply recommend that teams follow current CDC recommendations regarding travel, testing, and what to do if you're exposed or get sick. View EM's Current Covid Guidance
Have more questions about Experience Mission trips? Check out our general FAQs, or call our support team at 888-475-6414.
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Answering your questions and walking you through the process of finding the best trip, registering your group, and preparing to serve together.
You and your team serve on a cross-cultural mission trip!
Organized and led by EM field staff or local partners, your trip will bring encouragement and light to people in difficult circumstances, as you learn what it means to care for all people, whoever and wherever you are.
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You must have a group size of at least 6 members to join this trip. Please view the Small Team trips or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.
For most trips, you must have a group size of at least 6 members. Please view the Small Teams tab on each Community page or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.