- Investigate (5-9 months before)
- Initiate (4-6 months before)
|1.||Reach out to the Contact Person for the STM opportunity that you want to pursue, ask for further details, and express your interest in participating.|
|2.||Complete and submit an application if requested.|
|3.||While waiting to hear if you are accepted to join the team, start to consider how you might raise funds to go on the trip.|
|4.||Communicate to your elders your desire to go on a short-term missions trip:|
a. Ask for their blessing in this endeavor.
b. Ask if the church would support you, both prayerfully and financially.
c. Ask for permission to have donations for your STM expenses given to a fund of the church (short-term missions fund, diaconal fund, general fund, etc.).
|5.||Pray for the team you want to join, the support of your elders and church, and your fundraising.|
- Raise Funds (3-5 months before)
|1.||Write a support letter which includes the following:|
a. The opportunity that is before you.
b. Your interest in serving in it.
c. The fact that you have received the blessing of your elders.
d. An invitation to participate in supporting you prayerfully and/or financially.
e. Instructions on where to send donations (ideally not to you, but to a fund of your church or presbytery).
|2.||Send the letter to family and friends who might be interested in participating prayerfully and financially.|
|3.||Ask your elders how much the church could contribute.|
|4.||If the church can’t contribute corporately, consider sending your letter to individual church members who might be interested in contributing individually.|
|5.||Pray for the Lord’s provision.|
- Prepare For Your Trip (2-5 months before)
|1.||Follow the guidance you receive from the trip coordinator. This may include:|
a. Making travel arrangements.
b. Obtaining a passport (expiration no sooner than 6 months after end of trip), visas, shots, inoculations, Travel Medical Insurance, etc.
c. Acquiring other things necessary for travel: electric outlet adapters, clothes appropriate to the culture/climate, a host gift, etc.
d. Participating in STM Training.
e. Preparing your lessons, if applicable.
|2.||Browse STM Resources at OPCSTM.org for valuable preparatory reading materials, planning and training tools, travel tips, and more.|
|3.||Connect with the rest of the team (via email, social media, or otherwise).|
|4.||Pray for patience, diligence, and that the plans would come together.|
- Prepare Yourself (2-5 months before)
|1.||Ask a few people to be praying specifically for you and your trip. Give them a list of your concerns, fears, etc.|
|2.||Ask the church to pray for you.|
|3.||Prepare yourself for the Lord to work in your life and in the lives of the people you will seek to serve.|
|4.||Read about your destination – its culture, religions, history, climate, president, holidays, history of the mission there, etc.|
|5.||Begin to journal your trip even before you go.|
a. Keep a record of what happens and what you see the Lord doing in that place and in your life throughout the trip.
b. Journaling will force you to notice and record the Lord’s work day by day and will assist you in your reporting when you return home.
|6.||Pray for the Lord to open your heart to the people and mission field, for your fellow team members, and for final preparations.|
- Post Trip Recap & Review
|1.||Reflect on your journal, giving thanks to the Lord for the work He accomplished.|
|2.||Prepare an oral and written report of your trip, including how it impacted you.|
|3.||Send a thank you note to all who supported you financially and prayerfully, and include a report on your trip.|
|4.||Give a report to your church during a time set aside by your pastor and elders.|
|5.||Complete the OPC’s STM Survey about your trip.|
|6.||Share your photos and/or written testimonial at OPCSTM.org.|
|7.||Pray and give thanks for the trip and the whole process. Pray that others might be blessed with an opportunity such as yours. Pray for your future involvement in missions, whether another trip or simply in support of others.|