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Guest Post from Experience Mission. Whether you’re setting off on a mission trip for a week or looking to pursue something longer, your life is about to be changed forever if you allow yourself to be transformed by new experiences, meaningful relationships, and intentional service to others.

International mission trips are an incredible chance to leave your comfort zone behind and grow both personally and spiritually. However, as you begin looking at the process of actually going on a mission trip, from flights to finding the right organization, the details can leave you wondering, is a mission trip even worth it? We at Experience Mission think that it absolutely is.

In the last 17 years, we have helped to mobilize more than 35,000 volunteers on week-long and 1-9 month mission trips. During that time, we have had a front-row seat to the incredible life change that can be gained from choosing to say “yes” to loving and serving others. Whether you’re on the fence about a mission trip or already fundraising for your next trip, here are 5 incredible ways you can grow on an international mission trip.

Become a More Courageous Person

For many, the simple act of stepping out of their comfort zone and choosing to live on someone else’s terms can be the most life-changing step. Choosing to travel, befriend strangers, and experience a different way of living has a way of transforming the “unknown” from a frightening idea into a welcome friend. Intentionally practicing facing your fears has a way of making you more courageous, not just on your mission trip, but in every aspect of your life. Hopefully, at the end of your mission trip, you will feel more comfortable taking a leap of faith in all areas of your life. This newfound confidence will help you choose to serve outside of your comfort zone every day.

Develop Meaningful Relationships

Building relationships should be at the heart of all healthy mission trips. Taking the time to listen to others’ stories and honor their God-given dignity should be central to any international trip that you take. We hope during that time, you’ll develop a deep love for the people around you and grow in empathy and understanding for others’ experiences. The intentional relationships will benefit you and the community you serve.

You likely also will not be facing the journey alone. Most mission trip participants serve alongside a team of their peers. Experiencing this sort of life-changing journey together is sure to create a bond that will last a lifetime. In our experience, these teammates become your life-long friends and will be there at every turn when you need them the most.

Expand Your Worldview

International travel has a way of changing what you view as “normal” in the best possible way. When you choose to immerse yourself in a different way of living, it can open your eyes to a deeper understanding of the world around you. When you walk someone else’s road, you see life from a new perspective and will be more open to different ways of life in your own community as well.

Serve Others More Whole-Heartedly

Service is an important part of a mission trip to be sure, but for many participants, devoting a week to serving someone in a different community is just the beginning. A mission trip is a chance to practice giving your everyday life as an offering to God (Romans 12). The simple act of serving others is a chance to practice thinking beyond yourself and putting others (and God) first. For most mission trip participants, this practice overflows into a life of service in every area of their lives. They don’t just serve for the week — they create habits that allow them to serve others every day.

Learn to Trust (God, others, and yourself)

Stepping outside of your comfort zone is a vulnerable choice. It means that you must depend on powers outside of yourself. This daring step can lead to a deeper dependence on God, growth in your faith, and an openness to trusting others. This openness to trust others has a way of not only empowering those around you, but also of humbling you to receive acts of service from others. This upside-down approach to service has been life-changing for so many of our participants and we hope it will be for you, too!

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