Intro and History
Servant Life partners with LINC to send American teams on short- term missions experiences to Houston, Texas. LINC Houston is a network of local churches that have joined together in a common mission to impact the city of Houston with the love of Christ. LINC is a mission organization that sees the need for new and healthy faith communities across the city among ethnic and urban neighborhoods. They plant new churches that are self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propogating.
What will my team be doing? LINC partners with several different pastors in the Houston area. Your ministry could include opportunities to serve the homeless, help with Bible studies in apartment complexes, sports camps, and street evangelism. You'll get to minister to a very culturally diverse area that includes people from all over the world including Central America, Nigeria, Eritrea, India, the Congo, Mexico, and Korea to name a few. At the end of your trip, you'll have a day to explore Houston on your own.
What does my cost include?
• Pre-Trip Training Manual
• Pre, During, and Post-trip Devotionals
Airfare is not included in this cost, but Servant Life does offer to book all airfare reservations.
Houston, Texas, at approximately 596 square miles, is the fourth most populous city in the nation (trailing only New York, Los Angeles and Chicago), and is the largest in the southern U.S. and Texas. If Houston was a country, it would be ranked 8th in the world in terms of the number of people groups living there.
The city of Houston actually spreads across three counties: Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery.
“Houston” was the first word Astronaut Neil Armstrong spoke when he landed on the moon.
Houston has one of the youngest populations in the nation.
More than 90 languages are spoken throughout the Houston area and the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the city has over 1.28 million residents that were born outside the U.S.
The IMB has identified some 350 people groups in Houston.
Refugees come from all over the world to Houston. Some of the countries that they come from include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Liberia, Mauritania, Nepal, Pakistan, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Vietnam.
Popular tourist attractions in Houston include: the 17-block Theater District (second only to New York City), a unique museum district, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and more than 11,000 restaurants.
Austin is the capital city of Texas. It is located on the eastern edge of the American Southwest and is the fourth-largest city in Texas. Austin has a population of 790,390 according to the 2010 U.S. Census.
Servant Life makes every effort to keep our teams safe during their entire experience with us. You help us by using traveler's common sense. Staying in groups, not flaunting or bringing expensive jewelry, watches, or electronics, being aware of your surroundings, and not leaving bags unattended are all encouraged practices.
Take along all prescription medicines needed for your trip in their original prescription container.
Dos and Don'ts
DO feel free to give gifts, but please ask the ministry partner before doing so.
DO use the "buddy system."
DO bring any medicines that you may need. If it’s a prescription, make sure it has the original prescription label with your name on it.
DO sanitize your hands before eating. But do it discreetly, not blatantly just after holding a child or shaking an international’s hand.
DO be friendly toward Internationals. Their cultures place a high value on friendships and time spent visiting with friends.
DO pray for your International friends. Only as God works in their lives will they be open to hearing more about Christ.
DO befriend Internationals who are of the same gender as your own. In other cultures, friendships between a man and woman who are not related are rare. Your witness will be more effective with International friends of your own gender.
DO remember that you are representing a ministry that has been around longer than you’ve been in the country and will still minister there after you have left.
DON’T be a loud/obnoxious tourist that needs to be toned down.
DON’T encourage begging by rewarding the effort.
DON’T go out after dark.
DON’T bring anything that you aren’t willing to give up if someone asks for it.
DON’T attempt to tear down the different religions you come in contact with in your conversations with Internationals. Rather, discuss the basic doctrines of your Christian faith, with an emphasis on salvation through Jesus Christ. Many Internationals enjoy discussing their beliefs and how they differ from other religions.
Official Name: Houston, Texas
Passport/Visa Requirements: None
Population: 2.1 million
Time Zone: Central (CST)
Houston uses the U.S. Dollar.
Houston's climate is classified as humid subtropical. During the summer months, it is common for the temperature to reach over 90 F, with an average of 99 days per year above 90 F. The humidity of Houston results in a heat index higher than the actual temperature. Summer mornings average over 90% relative humidity and approximately 60% in the afternoon. There are only light winds in the summer that offer little relief from the heat and humidity. Scattered afternoon showers and thunderstorms are common in the summer. The winters in Houston are mild. The average high in January, the coldest month, is 63 F, while the average low is 45 F. Houston rarely receives any snowfall, but it does receive a high amount of rainfall annually (about 54 inches per year).
Houston's freeway system includes 575.5 miles of freeways and expressways in the 10-county metro area. These freeways are heavily traveled and often under construction to meet the demands of the growing city. The Houston METRO provides public transportation in the form of buses, trolleys, and lift vans. The METRO runs approximately 8 miles from Downtown Houston to the Texas Medical Center and Reliant Park. Houston is also home to two commercial airports, the George Bush Intercontinental Airport and the William P. Hobby Airport.
Servant Life has missions opportunities in Cuba, El Salvador, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Uganda, Kenya, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Haiti, United Kingdom, East Asia, Dominican Republic, Houston, Dallas, New York City, Memphis, St. Louis, Montreal, and Toronto Canada.
Who Can Go
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. Student groups, college groups, adults, and individuals are all welcome on Servant Life mission trips. Teams may be made up of groups and/or individuals.
Servant Life trips are priced at a BASE COST PLUS AIRFARE. The base cost varies per country and can be found by clicking on the link for a trip.
Servant Life will book all airfare through our travel agency. Everyone on your team must travel together. We book group airline tickets and cannot accommodate special requests for different individual flights. Due to commitments to our missionaries to have groups there on set dates, trip dates are not flexible. Once a ticket has been purchased in your name, it must be paid for regardless of circumstances. All tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.
Servant Life works with missionary partners in each country. Your team will be helping our missionary partner with various needs, and exact details may vary from trip to trip. Specific details for each missions experience can be found by clicking on the trip's link.
We encourage anyone interested in a Servant Life missions experience to go ahead and apply for a passport. The amount of time it takes to get a passport varies, and we cannot book plane tickets without a copy of each person’s passport. 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 at www.travel.state.gov/passport.
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 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 with forms your group needs to fill out. These forms, along with a deposit of $250 per person, are due by November 1. If you register after November 1, the forms and a deposit of $250 per person are 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.
Will my child serve alone or as part of a team?
Your child will be part of a Servant Life team, which can be made up of groups and/or individual participants. If your child is registering alone, he or she will join the team at a domestic or international airport, and stay and work with them for the remainder of the trip.
What kind of supervision will my child have?
Servant Life teams are led by our in-country ministry 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.
How safe are these trips?
Servant Life makes every effort to keep your child safe during their entire 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 play.
Who will the teams work with?
All teams work with established Servant Life ministry partners. These are either missionaries or ministry leaders who have a history of service in the country and programs that fit with the mission of Servant Life. To read more about our ministry partners, click here.
Who do I call in case of emergency while my child is traveling?
All Servant Life participants will be given a list with emergency contact information and numbers. This list includes the contact information for Servant Life, as well as our ministry partner serving on the field with your child. If an emergency arises where you need to reach your child, please contact Servant Life first, and we will work closely with you to reach your child.
Will my child 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 child's 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. So remember that no news is good news!
We have a frequent flyer program. Can we use those miles to cover my child's ticket?
Possibly. We cannot guarantee which airline each team will use, 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 child apply for a passport?
Your child should apply for a passport immediately after registering for a Servant Life mission trip. Passports can take up to 8 weeks to arrive. Costs related to obtaining a passport are the responsibility of the participant.
Is a visa required for my child's trip?
The only country that Servant Life is currently sending teams to needing visas is Kenya. Visas can be obtained prior to leaving or when arriving in country. Specifics will be provided to team leaders and/or students traveing on their own.
Will my child receive any training?
Servant Life will send a preparation manual filled with detailed information regarding your child's mission trip. Hands-on training will take place with the ministry partner once the team arrives at their destination.
Why should my child 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 or snacks that your child may wish to purchase while in country, and any expenses related to obtaining a passport and immunizations.
Are there scholarships available for my child?
Servant Life does not offer scholarships. If needed, we encourage participants to raise support through fundraising efforts such as church partnership and personal support letters.
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 in-country costs, such as:
- In-country transportation
- Supplemental Traveler's Insurance
- Sponsoring local students to attend camp
- Pre-Trip Training Manual
- Visa, if applicable
- Exit tax, if applicable
Costs not covered in base cost of the trip include:
- Immunization Shots
- Personal expenses while traveling and in-country, including meals in airports
- Any additional costs associated with the trip before you arrive and after you leave
Deposits of $250 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 $250 per person and a copy of the front page of your passport are due within 30 days of registration.
Deposits are non-refundable.
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.
Summer Missions Payments:
The first payment, which is half of the base cost, is due March 1.
The second payment, which is the balance of the 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.
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.