- 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.|
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.).
Pray for the support of your elders and church in your fundraising.
- Raise Funds (3-5 months before)
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 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 in prayer and financial support.|
|3.||If the church can’t contribute corporately, consider sending your letter to individual church members who might be interested in contributing individually.|
|4.||Pray for the Lord’s provision.|
- Prepare For Your Trip (1-3 months before)
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 for the plans to come together smoothly.|
- Prepare Yourself (in the month before)
|1.||Ask a few people to be praying specifically for you and your trip. Give them a list of your concerns, fears, etc.|
Read about your destination – its culture, religions, history, climate, president, holidays, history of the mission there, etc.
a. Learn a few phrases in the local language: Hello, Good-Bye, Thank You, God Bless You.
Begin to journal even before you go. Record your hopes, fears, and expectations about the trip.
Do some extra Bible study. Many short-termers report afterwards they wish they’d done more before the trip!
Try to get some extra rest before you leave.
|6.||Pray for the Lord to open your heart to the mission field, the people you’ll serve, and your fellow team members. Pray for final preparations.|
- While on the Mission Field
|1.||Submit to the oversight of the local missionaries and team leaders.|
|2.||Be flexible! Know that things will often not go as planned. That’s OK…God’s in charge!|
|3.||Refrain from complaining; rather, “in everything, give thanks…” (1 Thess 5:18)|
|4.||Be a servant! There is nothing leaders appreciate more than team members who are willing to serve.|
|5.||Be a learner!|
|7.||Use your journal to record your personal reactions and experiences, as well as what you see the Lord doing day by day.|
- Post Trip Recap and Review (1-3 months after)
|1.||Reflect on your journal, giving thanks to the Lord for the work He accomplished.|
|2.||Prepare a report on your trip, including how it impacted you.|
|3.||Include this report with a thank you note to all who supported you financially and prayerfully.|
|4.||Ask your pastor and elders to set aside a time for you to present your report to the church.|
|5.||Complete the OPC STM Survey that will be sent to you by email.|
|6.||Share your photos and/or written testimonial with Janet.Birkmann@opc.org for posting at OPCSTM.org and in the S.T.O.R.M. Report.|
|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.|