Go to the Toughest Places
By Amanda DeWitt
Do you have “cabin fever”? Do you find yourself daydreaming about where you could go once COVID-19 travel restrictions are lifted?
This just might be your year to go on a humanitarian mission trip.
“Humanity is facing the greatest crisis any of us have seen in our lifetimes,” David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Program, recently said.
After the difficulties people around the world have endured, the needs abound. So why not consider going to serve people in the toughest places this year?
Humanitarian Trips Give Help — and Hope
You have many options when selecting among the types of mission trip offered by organizations. Some meet physical needs. Some meet spiritual needs. Humanitarian trips can do both.
When you partner with a Christian humanitarian organization, you serve people at their greatest point of need — you help a community plant a garden to feed hungry families. You provide someone with eyeglasses to allow her to work again. Or you help fit a young boy with a mobility aid to give him the freedom to attend school.
Humanitarian trips give people the tangible help they need to survive and build a brighter future. The benefit of traveling with Unto® is you also provide people with an opportunity to learn about the eternal hope of Jesus that can change their lives forever.
Volunteers with Unto humanitarian trips work with partners and churches in countries across the globe to serve people in need and express the kindness of Jesus. For more than 25 years, our expert trip leaders have taken more than 180 groups to 30 countries.
Experience the Joy of Serving Others
Clearly lives are transformed on humanitarian trips. The recipients of critical aid receive help and hope. But they are not the only people who experience transformation.
Trips change those serving too. They open us up to the suffering people face. We see it in the eyes of someone who lacks glasses and cannot see clearly. We hear it in the voice of an individual who longs for the independence a wheelchair could bring. We feel it as we step onto dry, cracking ground that refuses to yield food for hungry children.
We watch a woman try on a pair of glasses — her eyes lighting up with amazement as she sees the world clearly for the first time. We hear the laughter of a child as he sits in his wheelchair and moves about freely, playing with his friends. We feel dirt soften beneath our feet as a drip irrigation system is installed at a community garden, and we sense that hearts are softening too.
Even though going to the toughest places exposes us to suffering, it also opens our heart to joy. We experience connection with someone from a different culture, often communicating without knowing the language — many times through the subtle expressions exchanged through the face and eyes. We play simple games with children without the interference of technology. And in the end we experience how the kindness of Jesus touches one person at a time by meeting physical needs, paving the way for the message of His eternal hope.
In the toughest places we experience God’s work in new ways. We forge lasting relationships with people we would have otherwise never met. And we experience the incredible opportunity we each have to give ourselves — our time, our service, our compassion — away.
Help Increase Ministry Effectiveness in the Toughest Places
Jesus told us to go into all the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). But how do we get to all the world — especially when some places are completely closed to the message of Jesus?
We serve. Unto humanitarian trips accelerate spiritual movements in the toughest places on earth through humanitarian kindness. This helps our network of field partners gain access to unreached people, build credibility with local authorities, and increase effectiveness in ministry.
After a trip is finished and participants go home, our field partners continue building long-term relationships with the people served. They invest in communities for the long haul — providing agricultural training, well repair supplies, and critical aid — creating sustainable solutions to suffering and poverty. When the time is right, they share the hope of Jesus with people in their community and often see new churches established too.
After a recent vision clinic one church pastor in a closed country said, “Without this vision clinic it would take two years to see this many people respond to the eternal hope of Jesus.”
That is the difference you make when you volunteer in the toughest places. To discover where you can go to get involved in humanitarian efforts, visit unto.com/trips.
Where will you go this year?
What should I know before going on a mission trip?
If you are thinking about going on a humanitarian trip, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Be flexible – Especially when traveling internationally, unexpected events can occur. So be ready to adapt to changes as they come.
- Follow the leader – Mission trips require you to follow someone else’s lead, but they also present opportunities to step up and meet needs. A great trip participant adapts to whatever the situation requires.
- Be teachable – Tasks can be completed in a variety of ways. So keep an open mind to learning new methods of doing things.
- Stay positive – Challenges are going to arise, and the best way to overcome them is by focusing on what you can control. Keep a great attitude and persevere.
- Have a prepared heart – Our Humanitarian 101: A 7-Day Devotional journal offers even more insight into how you can make an impact — providing seven devotionals designed to help you consider suffering and how you can make a difference.
Published March 26, 2021
Amanda is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Gift for Leadership, Kindred Spirit, and Christianity Today publications. She holds a M.A. in Media and Communication from Dallas Theological Seminary.