As a parent, the Humanitarian trip your child is about to take maybe the first time they have been away from you. Except for summer camp. But that’s not exactly the same, is it? They’re traveling thousands of miles to spread the word of the Lord. They’re traveling to a different country for Humanitarian Travel, where there may be language and cultural hurdles to overcome. They may not have the benefit of traveling with people they know. Your child may feel exactly the same. If you ever needed God’s strength, it is now. It’s your task to offer words of encouragement for the Humanitarian trip your child is about to undertake.
LET YOUR CHILD KNOW THEY ARE INSPIRATIONALWhat your child is about to do is an amazing thing. It is tough for you to say goodbye and entrust their well being to another. It is tough for them to say goodbye to you as well. Let your child know how amazing you think they are. Tell them that it is their calling to go and spread the word of God and that their faith will keep them safe from harm. Leave them in no doubt that you love them, and that they make you proud. Of course, you’ll miss them – but remember that your words will define how they approach the mission trip. It’s important to remain upbeat and ensure their initial excitement doesn’t wane.
HELP YOUR CHILD PREPARE FOR HUMANITARIAN TRAVELBefore your child travels, spend time together to learn about the country they are visiting. Read about the people, the food, and the culture. Discuss the differences your child will encounter, and how trust in God will lead them through all difficulties.
KEEP IN TOUCH WHEN THEY ARE AWAYEven if your child’s mission is radio silent for a few days, because of a lack of Internet and airwave connections, you can keep in touch:
- Pack them off with a book that will offer them inspiration. Write a note in it, so that every time they pick it up they know you are with them all the way.
- Put Post-It notes in their luggage.
- One of the most encouraging acts I’ve heard of is the mother who took the time to pack a daily journal in her son’s belongings. It covered the entire time he was due to be away. A page per day. On each page, she had written a passage from the Bible and a personal note from herself. Upon his return, the son told his mother that it had felt like she was with him, holding his hand every day. When things got tough, he simply had to open his journal. He presented it to her as a gift. In it, he had detailed the events of each day and written personal note in return to his mother.