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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.