- Official Name: Philadelphia, PA
- Passport/Visa Requirements: None
- Population: around 1.57 million
- Time Zone: Eastern (EST)
- Philadelphia, PA uses the U.S. Dollar.
- The capital of Pennsylvania is Harrisburg. Harrisburg is located about two hours from Philadelphia.
- The city of Philadelphia is most known for the history it holds in the United States. At the time of the American Revolution, Philadelphia was the largest and most important city in America. You may hear of Philadelphia for being the city where the Declaration of Indepence was signed or the Constitution written or the birthplace of the Philly Cheesesteak. Their most famous citizen was Benjamin Franklin and the First and Second Continental Congress were both held there. Home to Independence Hall, the Libery Bell, and Betsy Ross' home, Philadelphia holds many museums and places to visit or sight-see. Add to your sight-seeing list Reading Terminal Market, the longest running farmer's market in the nation.
- But for all of their fame, there are other things you may not know about this historical city. In Philadelphia, or "Philly", you can find America's oldest Zoo and first hospital. They were also the first to have general computer use in 1946 (it weighed 27 lbs!) and has the largest collection of sculptor work outside of Paris. Philadelphia is a city of many nicknames including (but not limited to) Philly, City of Brotherly Love, Birthplace of America, Quaker City, and more.
- Generally, Pennsylvania experiences all four seasons, with warm summers and cold winters. Summer generally brings more humid air with warm temperatures in the upper 80's.
- Teams are responsible for their own transportation in regards to getting to Philadelphia and during the week of ministry in Philadelphia.
- Teams wanting to fly to Philadelphia can contact Servant Life for help booking airfare.
- Travel is facilitated by many major interstates as it is a "Center City" among a cluster of other major Northeast US cities like Washington D.C. and New York City.
- Local public transportation in the Philadelphia area is provided by the Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) which uses buses, rapid transit, commuter rail, trolleys, and the Philadelphia trackless trolley (trolleybus) system.
- Servant Life makes every effort to keep teams safe during our mission trips. We understand that safety can be a concern when you are taking a group into a foreign context, but we have more than 20 years of experience mobilizing groups, and safety has always been a priority for our teams. One of the ways that we keep teams safe is by partnering with local missionaries, organizations, and national believers who know their culture and context incredibly well. We partner with people who have an established presence in the communities where our teams are working, and they only lead our teams into safe ministry environments.
- You can help us by making smart decisions as much as it is up to you: staying in groups, not traveling alone, not flaunting or bringing expensive jewelry, watches, or electronics, being aware of your surroundings, and not leaving bags unattended are all encouraged practices.
Our mission partner, located in the Roxborough neighborhood of Philadelphia, is a holistic ministry-- passionate about loving the whole person. One way they accomplish this is by utilizing short term teams to meet people's physical, spiritual, emotional, and social needs. Teenagers are encouraged to share the love of God through their actions and words. Our mission partner exists to meet the needs of their community through free home repair, preschool, after-school childcare, and participation with local churches to run day camps and other outreach ministries. Philadelphia is home for their ministry and they serve here year-round.
As an urban ministry, their hope is to broaden youth's understanding of urban America and global missions, realizing that over half of the world's people live in cities. They approach these ideas from a Biblical perspective and believe they are important for the lives of teenagers everywhere.
The community they serve, Roxborough, is a multi-cultural neighborhood that has an equally diverse representation of age, ethnicity, economic status, as well as residential and commercial buildings. At the project, you will have the opportunity to explore your understanding of God's heart for others as you physically offer hope and healing to a community in need and challenged each day in your faith as you worship and reflect.
What will my team be doing? Serving in the neighborhood of Roxborough, Philadelphia you will offer hope and restoration to the community through physical labor such as light construction and house repair projects as well as relational outreach through Day Camp ministry in conjunction with the local church. Each night, gather together as a team for worship, teaching, and discussion.
What does my cost* include?
• Housing (except pillow, linens, towel)
• Pre-Trip Training Manual
• Pre, During, and Post-trip Devotionals
*Cost increases to $375 after December 1. Group must pay $75 per person deposits before December 1st to lock in $350 rate.
Airfare or travel to Philadelphia is not included in this cost, but Servant Life does offer to book all airfare reservations. Teams are also responsible for their own transportation in and around Philadelphia. If you have more questions, don't hesitate to contact us!
Why Go With Servant Life?
Our team at Servant Life has two primary functions: serving local churches here in the U.S. and Canada, and serving and supporting the work of missionaries around the world.
Servant Life serves the Church by equipping and sending believers to the nations. Our 20+ years of experience in short-term trips makes missions possible for many churches and individuals. Many churches do not have the training, experience, connections, or time to organize and execute trips of this magnitude. This is where Servant Life steps in. Our trips are all-inclusive, which means that we focus on the details so that you can focus on ministry with your team. Our team will work with in-country missionaries to take care of food, lodging, and ministry experiences for your short-term mission trip. Servant Life also provides international traveler's insurance, trip devotionals, training videos, and other resources as part of your basic trip cost. Servant Life exists to be a fantastic resource for churches as you make disciples of all nations.
Servant Life serves missionaries by equipping and sending the Church. According to our mission partners it can take a combination of 50 phone calls and e-mails to prepare a person to serve with them, not to mention countless hours before that trying to find and recruit churches to come serve with them. Equipping trip participants for the mission field requires time and resources that most missionaries do not have, as this pulls them away from ministry in their local context. Servant Life is ready to answer your calls, emails, tweets, Facebook messages, at your convienence and in your time zone. We can prepare you for the majority of the details for your trip to alleviate some of those communication logistics from the missionary, and then as we get closer to the trip the mission team will be able to communicate the specifics of your schedule and talk through your trip in more detail. Servant Life will also provide training materials for your trip to walk through such topics about the "Why" of missions, how to share your faith, culture shock, and other logistical considerations, so that you show up prepared to serve in your context. Servant Life is not only a great resource for the Church, but a great resource for missionaries as well.
Who Can Go?
Servant Life hosts many youth mission trips, college mission trips, and even works with individuals to get them on a trip as part of a team. Trips will only occur if there is a group (youth, college, or adults) signed up to go. For individuals interested, we would do our best to add you on to a group already planning to serve, but this is not always possible.
If registering and traveling with their church group, students must be 14 years old or older* to participate in a Servant Life missions experience. If registering as an individual participant without an adult, students must be 16 years old or older*. Of course, adults are welcome on these trips as well! Servant Life asks for at least a 1 to 5 adult to student ratio, but some groups even end up closer to 1 to 1 ratio, and we always love it when this happens because we know adults want to serve the nations as well. Teams may be made up of groups and/or individuals.
*It is possible for participants to be younger than 14 years of age if traveling with a group, but that is taken on a case by case basis depending on the trip location and the discretion of our mission partners. For domestic trips such as Houston Memphis, and St. Louis, middle school students are welcome to participate. For international trips, we love to accomodate younger students when possible, but please ask us if you would like to do this in a certain trip.
Can College Students Go?
Yes! Servant Life trips are designed for all students from the age of 14 with a group, or 16 as an individual, all the way through college age. We have also specifically designated College Weeks in which only college-aged students will participate. Additionally, Servant Life has launched the A1eight Project, an opportunity for college-aged individuals to serve with a missionary for the entire summer.
Servant Life trips are priced at a BASE COST PLUS AIRFARE (or plus travel, if domestic). The base cost varies per country and can be found by clicking on the link for a trip on the "Mission Trips" tab at the top of the page. The cost varies from trip to trip simply because our partners have different cost structures in their contexts and different expenses, and our partners set the price of our trips.
The bast cost covers all of your in-country expenses, including meals, lodging, transportation*, and even expenses like translators and local staff for the week. The base cost also covers training resources, traveler's insurance for international trips, and a t-shirt for every participant. Some of our camp ministries include scholarship funds in the base cost so you are helping students come to camp in these international contexts. As part of your base cost, Servant Life also offers to book airfare for you through our travel agent. Contact us if you would like an airfare estimate, and be sure to check out our Financial Guidelines to see a payment plan.
*Transportation is not provided for domestic trips like Memphis, St. Louis, Houston, and Toronto. It is provided in NYC.
Servant Life offers to book all airfare through our travel agency, though you may book with your own travel agent if you prefer to do so. We just want you to get the best rate possible! Generally everyone on your team must travel together, though we may be able to take exceptions on a case by case basis. We book group airline tickets and therefore cannot always accommodate special requests for different individual flights. Due to commitments to our missionaries to have groups there on set dates, trip dates may not be flexible, so once again we must take requests on a case by case basis. Generally with our travel agent, we can hold your airfare tickets with a deposit a few months in advance of your trip, but then the full price of the ticket is due around 45 days before your trip. Once a ticket has been purchased in your name, it must be paid for regardless of circumstances. If you cancel an airfare ticket, we will refund you anything that the airline refunds us, but you would have to pay the cancellation penalty that the airline sets. Airline tickets are non-transferrable as they are tied to a person's name, and they are only partially refundable based on whatever policies the airline implements for your specific booking. Airfare can be a headache, but we try to alleviate that burden for you and make it easy!
Servant Life works with missionary partners in each country. Your team will be helping local missionaries with various needs, and exact details may vary from trip to trip. Sample activities include serving at a Christian youth camp, hosting VBS activities in the community or the school, conducting sports camps, "backyard Bible clubs," or other community events, teaching English to internationals, helping with food and clothing distribution, and home visits-- with an emphasis on sharing the gospel and the hope of Christ in conjunction with each of these activities. Specific details for each short term mission trip can be found by clicking on the trip's link and looking under the "What will my team be doing?" section.
We encourage anyone interested in an international mission trip with Servant Life to go ahead and apply for a passport. The amount of time it takes to get a passport varies, and we generally do not recommend booking plane tickets without a copy of each person's passport, since the name on the airfare must match the passport exactly. Any costs associated with obtaining a passport are solely your responsibility. You can download a passport application and read instructions on obtaining a passport online here. It is required for your passport to have at least six months of validity past your travel dates.
Will I need a background check?
For groups serving on a Servant Life trip, the group leader will need to sign an agreement stating that background checks have been performed for all adult leaders 18 years or older. For individuals, Servant Life will perform a background check for you if you are 18+. The estimated cost of a background check is $10, which will be added to your base cost.
Immunizations and any costs related to them are the sole responsibility of the trip participant. All childhood immunizations must be complete (measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus). We also HIGHLY advise any immunizations recommended by your physician and/or the CDC for the area of travel. Both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B are strongly recommended for all international travel. It is solely the traveler's responsibility to obtain information on required/recommended travel immunizations and travel precautions for the area, but please give us a call and we can talk through the recommendations for your specific trip. Ultimately, this will be up to your discretion, as we are not medical experts and default to your local doctor, the CDC, and your own judgment. The CDC website is www.cdc.gov/travel and has up-to-date info on immunizations for every country.
Once You Register
Shortly after you register, you will receive an email from the Servant Life team letting you know we have received your registration. The next step would be accessing the Prep Center where you will find needed paperwork to be filled out by each participant. An initial per person deposit is due by November 1, and paperwork is due by March 1. If you register after November 1, the deposit is due within 30 days of registering. A registration is not complete until we have received your deposit. Registrations cannot be held beyond 30 days if the deposit has not been received.
How many adults will be on each trip?
We request that groups bring at least 1 adult for every 5 student participants, but it is ok if you have even more than this. This is to ensure to the team's safety. Each setting you are working in is an area designated specifically for youth and college teams, but when traveling in a foreign context that you are unfamiliar with, it is always wise to have sufficient adult supervision.
Will my student serve alone or as part of a team?
On each of our trips, your student will be part of a Servant Life team, which typically consists of a youth group, college group, or other group from a single local church. The majority of our trips feature teams in which 100% of the members come from the same local church. However, if your student is registering alone and not with his or he group, he or she may be able to join a group from another church. In that case, the participant would join the rest of the team at a domestic or international airport, and stay and work with that team for the remainder of the trip. Individuals being able to join teams is taken on a case by case basis.
What kind of supervision will my student have?
Servant Life trips are led by our in-country missionary partners. This partner serves as the host and leader for the team from the time they land in-country at the airport until they depart at the end of the mission experience. Additionally, we request that groups bring 1 adult for every 5 student participants to supervise the trip. We believe that this is the best (and safest) model of leadership. We rely on local leaders from their local contexts, because they know their contexts far better than any outsider would. And we trust the leaders from your group to come alongside those local leaders to help shepherd your team well.
How safe are these trips?
Servant Life makes every effort to keep your students safe during their entire short term mission trip experience with us. We visit every location before sending a group, and work with partners in the country who are familiar with the area we will be staying in and working in. We research and plan the safest places for your student to eat, stay, work and have fun. We do recognize that any "safe place" can become unsafe in a matter of seconds if an outside threat comes in, which we have sadly seen more often in our own country than many of the places we serve. However, we take safety very seriously and our partners on the ground do their due diligence to keep teams in the safest positions possible.
Who will the teams work with?
All teams work with established missionary partners in the Servant Life network. These are either missionaries or ministry leaders who have a history of service in the country and programs that fit with the mission vision of Servant Life. The people leading your team for the week are going to be the people who are staying behind and continuing to serve that context well after your team leaves.
Who do I call in case of emergency while my student is traveling?
If you are unable to reach your child or their group leader in the event of an emergency, you can contact our team at 1-800-772-2615 or send us an e-mail at email@example.com. We will not answer calls to that number on the weekends or after hours, but we will see e-mails coming through at that time. Your group leader will also be provided with a cell number for us and can share that with you so that you have it on hand. We can help get in touch with the team, the missionaries, etc.
Will my student be able to call home and email while on the field?
Access to phone calls and email may be limited, and varies from location to location. As your trip approaches, more information will be given on phone and internet availability for that specific trip. In the event of an emergency, Servant Life will contact parents immediately (since we do collect emergency contact information for every participant). So remember that no news is good news!
We have a frequent flyer program. Can we use those miles to cover my student's ticket?
Possibly, but you will probably have to book flights on your own separately from the rest of your team, since travel agents cannot utilize those forms of payment to purchase tickets. Also, we cannot guarantee which airline each team will use in advance, as we are watching for competitive pricing and schedules. Please contact Servant Life if you are interested in learning more about using frequent flyer miles on a mission trip.
When should my student apply for a passport?
We recommend applying for a passport immediately after registering for a Servant Life mission trip. Even if you were to back out of the tirp for some reason, passports are eligible for 10 years and you will be able to use it in the future. Passports can take up to 8 weeks to arrive, and it will be helpful to have your passport well in advance of the trip so that we can make sure your airfare information is correct. Costs related to obtaining a passport are the responsibility of the participant.
Is a visa required for my student's trip?
The only areas that Servant Life is currently sending teams to needing visas are Cuba, East Asia, Uganda, and Kenya. Specific information will be provided to team leaders and/or students traveling on their own, as Servant Life will help teams secure these visas. In each of these locations, the cost of the visa is included in the trip cost listed online.
Will my student receive any training?
Servant Life will send a preparation "Field manual" filled with detailed information regarding your child's mission trip, as well as training sessions that we provide for your team leader to go through with your group. Training sessions cover topoics such as the "why" of missions, training in evangelism, culture shock, and other logistics. Hands-on training will take place with the ministry partner once the team arrives at their destination.
What about immunizations?
Immunizations and any costs related to them are the sole responsibility of the trip participant. All childhood immunizations must be complete (measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus). We also HIGHLY advise any immunizations recommended by your physician and/or the CDC for the area of travel. Both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B are strongly recommended for all international travel. It is solely the traveler's responsibility to obtain information on required/recommended travel immunizations and travel precautions for the area. The CDC website is www.cdc.gov/travel and has up-to-date info on immunizations for every country.
Why should my student go serve over seas when there are so many needs here in the United States?
The first and primary reason we believe in sending teams on international mission trips is that God has commanded His followers to make disciples of ALL nations (Matt 28:19). Knowing that we are commanded to play an active role in global disciple-making, we have found that missionaries and ministries around the world have needs that short-term mission teams can easily and uniquely fill, thus helping to advance the kingdom of God in those countries. We also hope that participating in an international mission trip will leave such an impression on your child's life that they will become supporters of mission work for the rest of their lives, whether through prayer, financial support, church leadership, or even life service.
What is not covered in my child's trip cost?
The only expenses not covered in your child's trip cost are meals in airports on travel days, any souvenirs that your child may wish to purchase while in country, any expenses related to obtaining a passport and immunizations, and any additional "free day" expenses that your team chooses to add. If there are additional expenses, they will be outlined in the profile of each trip. For example, all of our domestic trips require you to provide your own transportation.
Are there scholarships available for my child?
Servant Life does not offer scholarships. We encourage participants to raise support through fundraising efforts such as church partnership, personal support letters, and fundraisers such as t-shirt sales and other activities.
For information regarding Servant Life's financial guidelines, please Click here.
What's included in the cost?
Servant Life is committed to providing a quality mission experience at the lowest possible price. Our goal is not to entertain, but rather to bring the teachings of Scripture to life.
The cost of the mission experience includes costs such as:
• Pre-Trip Training Manual
Costs not covered in base cost of the trip include:
• Personal expenses while traveling, including meals in airports
• Any additional costs associated with the trip before you arrive and after you leave
Deposit: Deposits of $75 per person and a copy of the front page of your passport are due November 1. If you register after November 1, a deposit of $75 per person and a copy of the front page of your passport are due within 30 days of registration. To lock in the $350 rate, the deposit must be paid. *Cost increases to $375 after December 1. Group must pay $75 per person deposits before December 1st to lock in $350 rate.
*Deposits are non-refundable.
Payment 1 (January 1 for Spring Break or March 1 for Summer): The first payment is half of the remaining cost after the deposit payment. So for trip costs at $350 per person, Payment 1 would be ($350-$75 deposit) / 2 = $137.50.
Payment 2/ Final Balance: The final balance (remainder of trip cost) is due in the Servant Life office no later than 35 days before departure. If your final balance is not received by 35 days out, a $100 late fee may be applied.
Airfare: Servant Life will secure all airline transportation through our travel agent to insure teams arrive together. Once your group is in place, let us know as soon as possible so we can secure your tickets at the lowest possible rate.
You are responsible for the payment of any purchased tickets. Once a ticket is purchased, payment for that ticket must be in our office within 5 business days.
All tickets must be secured and paid in full 60 days before departure. Payments for airfare must be made via check. We cannot accept credit card payments for airfare purchases.
PLEASE NOTE: All checks and money orders must be made out to SERVANT LIFE. Please mail all payments and donations to PO Box 36307, Birmingham, AL 35236.