A Missions Trip for Babies?

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Now here’s a topic for all you parents out there.  Would you ever consider taking your kids on a family missions trip?  Of course the answer might depend on the destination in question, is it safe for kids?  But in general, I’m wondering how many of you have ever considered taking your kids overseas for a few weeks to do ministry together.

We took our first family missions trip to Mexico and I blogged about the bugs here.  It wasn’t the greatest experience for many reasons, but it wasn’t because my kids were there.  I think they enjoyed it, especially the 7 year old.

Right now we are hosting our 7th out of 8 teams for this summer.  This team is a group of college students from a church in California.  They’ve been a really great group of young people.  They’ve spent the night in the jungle, and even got stranded out there an extra day when the river flooded.  They’ve had good attitudes the whole time.

As you know, good attitudes come from good leadership.  The pastor and his pregnant wife have been amazing.  And they brought their 15 month old daughter on the trip too.  Now, I’ve had a toddler on the mission field before, so I know what is involved with this endeavor.  The mother COULD be super freaked out by germs, by her child touching everything, by dirt, by strange food, by non-existent nap times, by late night schedules, by noise and heat and exhaustion.  She COULD get upset when her child’s schedule is interrupted, but she hasn’t.  I haven’t heard one complaint from her.

The baby has been easy to manage too.  She’s a flexible kid who’s used to being passed around and held by lots of people.  She’s used to being the center of attention and Costa Ricans love children, so they make a big to-do over kids.  This child is not phased by any of that, she’s loving it!  She’s not been a problem.

Mom and baby did not go on the jungle camping trip though.  They stayed back at the hotel.  The first day, I went out after work and picked them up for the afternoon.  We ate lunch at a café with a play land.  My daughters entertained the baby on the climbing gym while we ate and chatted over lattes.  Then they came to our house and the kids played in the yard while I made brownies and we ate dinner together.  It was fun.

It was ultimately a good decision not to bring the baby to the jungle since the team got flooded in when the river overflowed it’s banks and they had to hike out of the boonies.  So that was a good decision,  But on the whole, what do you think about taking children on missions trips?  Would you do it?

On a completely different note, this is my 200th blog post!  I’m thrilled to make it to this milestone.  I’m setting little goals for myself along the way to one big goal, so for me it’s important to celebrate my little successes along the way.  Here’s to 200 posts and a still growing readership!  Thanks for sticking with me for the last 8 months.  It’s been fun, and there’s more to come… so don’t touch that dial.

4 responses »

  1. My husband and I used to live in Costa Rica and lead short term teams of Costa Ricans to other Central American countries. I took my 6 month old on a two week mission trip to Honduras. It was great but also a little hard because I had to miss some team time and not be able to minister in the same way as the others but it also opened different doors. I now have a 4 year old and a 1 year old. I would definitely think that with the 1 year old it would be a lot harder as he is into everything but if we were going we would do it!

    • Ohh that’s a hard age. As soon as they want to crawl everywhere it gets challenging. I couldn’t wait until they started walking, but that is another set of problems.

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