As parents we have taken our children to Mexico twice to be with the indegineous (sp) tribes that work the agricultural fields for the nationals in Baja California. I started looking at the Ron Luce programs which actually takes teens and young adults to various places in the world. I would like to send my son to Chile for a month this summer.Does anyone have first hand experience with these type of mission trips?Your brother in ChristJeff
Hello Jeff,My oldest daughter went on one of their trips last summer and then attended the Honor Academy (Teen Mania) this fall. She worked in Global Epeditions (calling youth to see if they would like to go on a mission trip) because missions is dear to her heart.Suffice it to say, she decided to stop attending the Honor Academy for various reasons (some theological/doctrinal and some other reasons)and she is now home from Texas.I know she does not wish to badmouth Global Expeditions or Teen Mania out of respect and integrity- but I can say as her mom that though there is nothing dangerous about the trips, they are probably not the best way to go. She enjoyed her trip to Costa Rica last summer- but it could have been better. She doesn't exactly agree on their 'motives' for getting kids to do missions.I do believe there are many involved with Global Expeditions who are sincere in their efforts to spread the gospel and for some kids, I know it can be a wonderful life changing experience. But I do believe the number of kids who are effected and the number of people being reached 'sincerely' with the gospel is probably low. Again, I believe this has to do with the motives.No ministry is perfect. It is hard to find anything that you can agree with 100%. If you have any questions feel free to 'pm' me. Arielle (my daughter) may have something to comment later- but I know she will not come on here and purposely talk negatively about them.I hope you can find the right mission ministry for your son.In Christ, Chanin
Hi Rookie...Six times as both a teen and an adult, I have traveled to the indigenous Tarahumara within the rugged and pine covered mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental in Chihuahua, Mexico. This was a tremendous experience. However, it was quite a bit of work! We worked from before the sun came up until after the sun went down. I traveled with a non-denominational minister from Texas. He gathers doctors, carpenters, skilled workers, interpreters and volunteers to travel in either late October/early November or in the summer. It is an exciting time -- and every person is expected to contribute. We are expected to contribute via hard work and in verbal ministry (whether sharing their testimony or one-on-one evangelism). Each trip usually involves some sort of building project (a church building, a well, a school, a clinic, etc...), medical projects (vaccinations, dental work, etc...), and educational/philanthropic work. Those who go are asked to raise the funds in order to help complete this task. It can cost upwards to several hundred dollars, and we end up "roughing it" in terms of accomidations. I have usually slept on floors or outside (or if you are particularly blessed, inside of a vehicle). There are almost no opportunities for a shower during these 10-14 day trips, and the food is mostly confined to camp food. I have also gone on several easy "border trips" in Mexico. More times than not, these trips are almost "tourist-like" in nature as they are confined mostly to the poverty regions along the border. We usually are allowed just a little time of evangelism in areas already saturated with the Gospel. While these might have some merit, they aren't exactly my idea of true "ministry" in terms of sharing the Gospel. While those trips are far easier in regard to accomidations and work, I never found them as fulfilling as the more difficult trips into the mountains. The Tarahumara were so receptive of the Gospel. They literally live in caves high in the mountains and far from normal Mexican civilization. There is no electricity, no running water, and the people live much like they would have a thousand years ago. Most do not speak Spanish, and most have never traveled beyond the rugged mountains that our 4x4s have taken us. They are animists who believe in many different gods. In those difficult trips into Mexico, I have seen many people (including adults and fellow teenagers) who felt that their lives were immeasurably changed by these difficult missionary trips. I know several of the young adults who actually went back and stayed working at these locations for six months! Anyway, I recommend that you find a good ministry to work with (yes, [u]work[/u] with). The tourist-like "quick evangelism excursions" that are often reflective of large "safe" ministries are okay, but I have always found the purpose-intrinsic trips to be far more fulfilling. :-) P.S. - I have several friends who have participated with "Global Expeditions." Each of their stories were similar. They complained of an extremely "structured" mission setting with quite a few participants who don't go for the right reasons. Each returned with mixed emotions, complaining that the expedition "could have been better if..."
I was personally mentored by Ron Luce and can testify that he is one of the godliest men that I know. His heart is genuine, his passion and zeal is unmatched, and his efforts are tireless.Though he may not agree with some of my ministry methods, and I may not agree with some of his ministry methods, we are still friends and can appreciate each other's ministries. I worked for Global Expeditions for a year, for Teen Mania a total of 2 years, and my wife worked for Aquire the Fire for four years. We both greatly support Teen Mania Ministries. They are doing a wonderful job trying to save this generation from all of it's sin and wickedness. I HIGHLY recommend Ron's book "Battle Cry". It's easy to find fault with any ministry. (People do it to me all the time). But it's better to look for the good in a ministry and find the things that we all agree on. And I can tell you that Teen Mania does A LOT of good. Regarding Global Expeditions, they do street dramas and then street preaching. In the street preaching they usually give their testimony and a gospel call. And I know that Ron promotes the Way of the Master now to the missionaries as well.
Thankyou Chanin, Chris, and Jesse.I want so much for my son to see others his age have a passion for Christ...I saw a statistic about this current generation Y....In the 1960s the youth looked to 1. parents2. teachers3. spiritual leadersfor there guidance...Now things have changed...1. friends2. media3. parentsI cannot allow myself to "hope" that my children will 'be okay." I am looking to train them in the ways of the Lord. Seeing that peer pressure and advertising is a constantly growing pressure and influence for this generation, I know that my children are subject to these influences. So I am looking for ways to "use' the system for the Lord's purposes.Your brother in Christjeff
Brother Jesse,If you were 15 years old, I would pay for your trip along with my son's to the ends of this earth. Your brother in ChristJeff