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Starting Your Missions Journey as a Traveling Nurse: A Guide to Combining Nursing with Medical Missions
Medical Missions Traveling Nurse As the name implies, a traveling nurse doesn’t work for one hospital or clinic. Instead, these nurses move around from place to place as assigned, meeting the needs of patients on a short-term basis. The practice of traveling nurses, which continues to grow in popularity, grew out of a shortage of nursing professionals in a variety of settings. But the mobility and flexibility demonstrated by a traveling nurse also have much in common with the world of medical missions. For example, traveling nurses aren’t restricted to working in domestic settings. Many invest their lives working outside the United States. As such, travel nurses can make a difference at home and abroad. How to Start The first step toward becoming a missionary traveling nurse would be similar to other nurses. As you might expect, you need the degree. Most medical missions agencies require four-year nursing degrees for their personnel, though some might accept a two-year program with experience. While this is a huge step, it also can be helpful for individuals seeking to become traveling nurses. Many schools and programs, especially at Christian universities, specialize in combining medical studies with missional studies. In addition to receiving a solid medical missions education, these institutions may be able to connect you with sending agencies that fit your skills and calling. Identifying the Right Approach As mentioned, many medical missions agencies serve nurses who are called to the mission field. But finding the right organization for you will depend on where you feel God is leading you. Three primary questions you need to consider are location, duration, and vocation—along with the options included in each area. • Location: When it comes to deciding where you want to serve as a traveling nurse, you’ll need to pick between domestic and international opportunities. While each of these options would have a variety of choices in themselves, answering the broader question is incredibly important. As noted, many traveling nurses work in domestic hospitals and clinics. They may move from city to city, but they never leave the country. In contrast, other traveling nurses serve overseas, transitioning from station to station. Both have their advantages. You just need to identify which plan is God’s plan for you. • Duration: This is a matter of short-term missions versus long-term (or career) missions. Again, there is no “right” or “wrong” answer here. Both short-term and career missionaries fill an important role in supporting medical missions, and each plays a vital part in fulfilling the Great Commission. So, as a traveling nurse, you would be a part of God’s work in the world. As with other missions-related questions, prayer is the key to figuring out what’s right for you. You also can benefit from talking with friends or family members who know you well, as well as other traveling nurses who have served as missionaries in such contexts. Get all the information you can, filter it through prayer, and see where God opens doors. • Vocation: You’re called to be a nurse, and you’re called to missions. So, it might seem strange to talk about questions of vocation. But, in reality, this is vital because medical missions—including nursing—is unique. Here’s what we mean by that: You can be a professional missionary who serves as a nurse or you can be a nurse who also serves as a missionary. Put another way, you have the choice of traditional medical missions or being a marketplace missionary. You can sign up with a Christian organization, or you can live a missional life while working for a “secular” agency. Again, it’s a unique opportunity. So, your focus should be on identifying God’s plan for you as a traveling nurse. Learn All You Can Whatever direction your nursing mission takes, you will need to be flexible. Medical missionaries—both doctors and nurses—treat all kinds of illnesses and injuries. This is especially true for traveling nurses. As a traveling nurse, you will be moving from one clinic or hospital setting to another. Not only will the faces of your co-workers and patients change, but so will the specialties and skills you will need. So, it makes sense for you to learn all you can about as many kinds of nursing contexts as possible. This will make you a more effective traveling nurse and a more effective missionary.  
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Seven Mission Trips to Guatemala: Making a Difference in a Nation in Need
Medical Missions The Central American nation of Guatemala traces its proud history to the Mayans. But even after winning its independence from Spain in the 19th century, Guatemala has struggled to overcome poverty and other challenges. The needs of the nation are great, which makes Guatemala mission trips so important. With a population of nearly 18 million people, Guatemala is home to more people than any other Central American country. It also represents a melting pot of ancient cultures and languages. Nearly half of the nation’s residents live in the southern mountains. Some live in jungles or other remote regions. As a result, medical care can be difficult—or even impossible—to access. Guatemalan medical mission trips can make a difference in this nation. Medical professionals can bring physical and emotional healing to people in need. More importantly, they can bring the life-giving message of the gospel to many who have never heard about Jesus’s love. Guatemalan Mission Trips Many organizations support Guatemala mission trips, including medical missions opportunities. The list below identifies seven such groups. Through these organizations, health care professionals from almost any specialty can use their gifts and talents to share Jesus with the residents of Guatemala. Faith in Practice: Each year, Faith in Practice connects thousands of North American medical missionary volunteers with individuals who need help through Guatemala mission trips. These health care professionals reach underserved residents by providing surgical care, medical care, dental care, and health education. They also help train local health care workers so the ministry will not end when the mission trip ends. Impact Ministries: At its heart, Impact Ministries is an educational organization. They promote medical missions opportunities offering medical and dental services in remote areas where health care services are rare or non-existent. Visiting medical missionaries partner with local professionals in the city of Tactic and surrounding mountain villages. Mission: Mobility: Mission: Mobility provides wheelchairs to those in need in Guatemala. They support Guatemala mission trips by connecting with donors for equipment and sharing those items to increase mobility and improve lives for God’s glory. Hospital Shalom: An outreach of New Covenant World Missions, Hospital Shalom provides medical care to the Petén jungle region of Guatemala while sharing the love of Jesus. They host medical professionals for Guatemala mission trips, setting up on-site clinics in remote areas. Centro Maya Project: Centro Maya Project provides a wide variety of medical mission trips to Guatemala, including disease treatment and prevention, clean water projects, hearing aids, and basic medical education. They save lives, improve quality of life, and point Guatemalans toward Jesus.  International Volunteer HQ: This organization connects medical professionals with Guatemala mission trips that fit their schedules and specialties. Opportunities include dentistry, physical therapy, nursing, mental health support, and more. Global Health Outreach: The missions arm of Christian Medical and Dental Associates (CMDA), Global Health Outreach provides long-term and short-term global health mission trips, including Guatemalan mission trips. They offer basic health care, education, support for local professionals, surgical care, and dental care. An Open Door In general, Guatemala is a poor nation, and many facets of health care are lacking. Malnutrition and disease are common, and mortality rates in many demographic segments are high. But Guatemalans are also open to spiritual matters. More than three-fourths of residents associate to some degree with either Catholicism or Evangelicalism. These numbers indicate an open door where incredible need intersects with willing hearts. Medical mission trips to Guatemala can make a huge difference for the kingdom of God. Prayerfully consider how He wants you to be involved.
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Human Trafficking: How You Can Serve the Vulnerable
Medical Missions When one thinks about medical missions, human trafficking might not be the first topic that comes to mind. However, by biblical standards, all life is sacred to God, and protecting the most vulnerable members of society is among our highest calls as Christ followers. Those two truths make the battle against human trafficking a moral imperative for all who claim to follow Jesus and seek to take the light of the gospel into the world’s darkness. What is Human Trafficking? According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, human trafficking can be defined as anytime “a trafficker uses force, fraud, or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against his/her will.” The Hotline also notes that no force, fraud, or coercion is necessary if the victim is a minor. This definition highlights some major ideas that must be understood when talking about the trafficking of human beings. For example, while many traffickers deal in the commercial sex industry, not all human trafficking is sex-related. According to some experts, more incidents of trafficking are related to the modern equivalent of “slave labor.” As a result, they draw a distinction between “sex trafficking” and “labor trafficking.” Likewise, human trafficking should not be confused with human smuggling, which involves moving individuals across national borders. Again, this may happen in some cases; but a victim of human trafficking may never leave their country of origin. The key is being held against one’s will, not the location or transportation. Becoming Part of the Solution Many organizations around the world are committed to eradicating the scourge of human trafficking. The organizations below are Christian movements that focus on helping the victims of trafficking. Each one is associated with the Global Missions Health Conference and provides opportunities for individuals to join the fight against human trafficking. Commission on Human Trafficking: An agency of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA), the Commission on Human Trafficking works with CMDA missionaries and mission trips to fight human trafficking around the world. They provide physical and digital resources to help people gain a better understanding of human trafficking, including educational modules. Lift Up the Vulnerable: Focusing its efforts on Sudan and South Sudan, Lift Up the Vulnerable (LUV) seeks to empower at-risk women and children by preventing human trafficking and other forms of oppression. LUV works with indigenous leaders to create structures that protect vulnerable groups in regions marked by war, violence, and poverty. National Trafficking Sheltered Alliance: The NTSA serves as an umbrella organization for like-minded groups committed to helping victims who have escaped the exploitation of human trafficking. They strive to provide support and ministry through teaching, facilitating connections between agencies and survivors, and establishing accreditation standards for organizations serving vulnerable groups. Helping the Least of These During His time on earth, Jesus often drew a distinction between words and actions. From a biblical point of view, that means genuine believers should never be satisfied with knowing that a problem exists. Their passion for justice should fuel their moral compass and drive them to make a difference wherever possible. In the parable of the sheep and goats (Matthew 25:31-46), Jesus emphasized that His people should minister to “the least of these.” Simply put, Christians have a responsibility to help the vulnerable, to protect the ones who can’t protect themselves. The organizations listed above have applied that principle to fighting human trafficking for the purposes of sex or forced labor. They are serving on the frontlines of the battle. If you have a heart for protecting and supporting this at-risk population, these groups could be a great place to start your own journey in the battle against trafficking.
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Exploring Paid Medical Mission Trips This Year
Medical Missions Medical mission trips are not “one-size-fits-all.” Since the needs of every nation and agency are different, the opportunities for medical missionaries also can vary. Some are geared toward volunteers, while others are paid medical mission trips. Regardless, each can make a difference in the world. Key Considerations for Paid Medical Mission Trips This article focuses on some key ideas related to paid medical mission trips. While many agencies are geared toward volunteers, some provide compensation for medical missionaries who are willing to serve. But finding the right situation and the right fit takes some research. Below, we’ve outlined five important things to keep in mind as you look for a compensated medical mission trip. Find a Reliable Job Board: Like any paid job, you need to know what opportunities are available. A good missions job board can point you in the right direction. One great job board can be found here on the Medical Missions website. While many of the jobs listed are full-time career positions, some describe long-term spots that still provide compensation. When it comes to identifying a paid medical missions trip, trustworthy job boards can be your friend. Focus on Your Specialty: One of the unique aspects of medical missions is the variety of specialties represented. Medical doctors, nurses, dentists, optometrists, therapists, mental health workers, and so many others can find positions in the medical missions landscape. As a result, you need to make sure the compensated trips you find fit your giftings and specialties. To be at your best, you need to be operating in your God-given strengths. Be Ready to Commit: In general, paid medical missions trips are long term, even if they aren’t career positions. That means you’re going to be making a serious commitment of your time. Of course, the compensation helps with that, but you need to go into the situation with your eyes open and your expectations properly aligned. Make sure you understand exactly what the sending agency requires and that you get all of your questions answered. Count the Cost: While a paid medical missions trip does provide compensation, you have to make sure you are comfortable with the paycheck you’ll be getting. Along with your call to missions, you also must be a good steward of your resources. Don’t accept a position without making sure you can live on what you’ll be paid. God certainly can provide for all your needs, but He also calls you to be wise with what you receive. Pray: No missions endeavor should ever be entered without prayer, and paid medical mission trips are no different. In the early stages, you should be praying for God to open doors. Then, you need to pray that He prepares you for the challenges you will face. Pray for discernment and wisdom in identifying the right sending agency for you. And enlist a team to pray along with you. It might seem obvious, but prayer should be a non-negotiable when it comes to embarking on any mission trip, including paid medical mission trips. Moving Forward Paid medical mission trips can take different forms. Some sending agencies provide compensated internships for college students or recent graduates. Similarly, others might offer gap year plans or summer programs. For established professionals, long-term opportunities with compensation might be available. Again, the key is finding the right spot for you. Your specialty, desired duration, desired location, and compensation needs will all play a role in making your decision. As noted, it will require some research. But if God is leading you and equipping you for a paid medical mission trip, He will also open the appropriate doors to bring His plans and purposes to pass.
8 Pediatric Medical Mission Trips Medical Missions
Nothing tugs at the heart like a child who is suffering. That’s why many short-term missionaries are drawn to pediatric medical missions trips. They want to help alleviate the world’s pain, and they want to start with the youngest and most vulnerable victims of disease and disability.   8 Sending Agencies for Pediatric Medical Mission Trips In some ways, pediatric medical missions are a unique calling. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a short-term missions trip that fits your needs. In the list below, we’ve identified eight places you can turn to get started. These aren’t the only organizations that offer pediatric medical missions trips. You can do some research on your own to determine what other groups and sending agencies have to offer. But these will help you take that first step toward figuring out God’s plans for you as you move toward taking a pediatric medical missions trip.   1. International Volunteer HQ.  This website is more like a connection point than a sending agency. International Volunteer HQ doesn’t sponsor trips on their own, but they do connect you with trips that are available, including medical trips. Those trips can be filtered by specialty or interest, allowing you to see what’s possible in terms of pediatric medical missions trips.    2. Cure International.  This organization focuses solely on kids. With a network of hospitals around the world, Cure International provides free health care for children in underserved or impoverished settings. Their primary ministry involves surgeries that address a variety of disabilities, but they are also committed to sharing the gospel whenever possible.   3. World Medical Missions.  As an affiliate of Samaritan’s Purse, World Medical Missions provides ministry opportunities for all kinds of medical professionals helping all ages. That includes medical mission trips with pediatric elements. In that role, you can help support and encourage the staff at local hospitals who are fighting exhaustion and discouragement along with disease and disability.   4. One More Child.  Another organization committed to helping children, One More Child makes a difference in the lives of kids all over the world. They offer several different opportunities for volunteers to partner with them, including pediatric mission trips that meet the needs of struggling kids.   5. Association of Baptists. For World Evangelism (ABWE). Like some other agencies, ABWE focuses on a wide spectrum of medical missions opportunities. Their commitment is to fulfill the Great Commission wherever they get the chance. But if you’re interested in pediatric mission trips, they can work with you to find a trip that fits your calling.   6. Hope for Haiti’s Children.  For decades, Haiti has struggled to provide a sustainable government and economy for its people. As a result of the internal turmoil, basic health care has been difficult to provide, even for its youngest and most vulnerable citizens. Hope for Haiti’s Children strives to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the midst of the chaos. By providing health care for children now, this group is hoping to build a stronger Haiti in the future.   7. Samaritan’s Feet.  For many children a new pair of shoes can go a long way. They can prevent disease and provide for educational opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach. While Samaritan’s Feet is known primarily for distributing shoes in underserved regions of the world, the organization also sponsors mission trips that include pediatric elements. Medical missionaries can teach proper foot care, which prevents diseases and improves quality of life.   8. Children’s Lifeline International.  For more than three decades Children’s Lifeline International has been sending medical missions teams around the world to serve children. The group is making a difference in the world through medical care and doctor education. And, with several missions opportunities each year, you will likely find a pediatric medical mission trip that intersects with your passions.   One Child at a Time As a pediatric medical missionary, you can make a difference in the world one child at a time. And you search for the best way to fulfill the calling God has placed on your life, don’t; forget the power of prayer. Sharing your heart with God will open you to His wisdom and His direction.  Through prayer, He will point you in the right direction and reveal the perfect opportunity for your pediatric medical mission trip.   Find Your Medical Missions Calling Medical Missions serves to connect your professional skills and biblical calling to the largest database of healthcare mission organizations, professionals, and thought leadership. Join us at the Global Missions Health Conference to find your Medical Missions calling. Or, browse our full list of partner organizations to find the right mission for you.
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Becoming a Christian Missionary: A Guide to Fulfilling the Great Commission
If you’re wrestling with how to become a Christian missionary, you’re wrestling with one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. Becoming a Christian missionary is a high calling. Across the history of the church, missionaries have played a vital role in fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). But unlike some things in life, discovering how to become a Christian missionary isn’t like flipping a light switch. You can’t just jump into the deep end of the pool. Answering the Lord’s call to Christian missions is like a puzzle with many different pieces. If you’re missing some of the pieces, you’ll never get the full picture—which could leave you confused and frustrated. Putting the Pieces in Place Many great organizations provide a “getting started guide” for learning how to become a Christian missionary. These tools are designed to help you confirm God’s call on your life and to sort through the steps of getting where He wants you to go. With that in mind, it’s helpful to go into the process with a broad outline of what you can expect. Below, we’ve provided six vital elements of becoming a Christian missionary. These are six pieces of the missionary puzzle. You may find other pieces that fit your particular context along the way, but these steps represent non-negotiables in whatever area of missions you pursue. Start with Prayer: Nothing of significance happens in the kingdom of God without prayer. It is your starting point and your lifeline as you’re discovering how to become a Christian missionary. Along with Bible study and the insights of close friends and family members, prayer is how you will hear God speak most clearly. You’ll never find your calling without prayer Identify Your Strengths and Gifts: God will never assign you to any task for which He hasn’t equipped you. As a believer, you have gifts and talents and abilities. He has wired you for His purposes. So, it’s fair—and even necessary—for you to determine what you bring to the table when it comes to being a Christian missionary. Discover what God has planted in your life and then use that as a filter for moving forward. Do the Research: Once you have confirmed your call and identified God’s gifts, you can start looking for opportunities. You can uncover what’s available and identify situations where you can serve in your strengths. You can also learn a lot about the gaps in your life and how you can meet those requirements to be best prepared for your work as a Christian missionary. This is also where you would start looking at suitable sending agencies. You’ll have dozens of choices, so you’ll need to dig deep and pray hard. You can start by considering where you want to serve and for how long. You also can look at the structure of agencies, the support they provide, and their history. Start Preparing Yourself: Even if you know that God is leading you to become a Christian missionary, the process will take some time. Take advantage of that time by preparing yourself for the future. You can do that by ruthlessly evaluating who you are and what you need to be. Allow friends and trusted mentors to speak into your life to identify weak spots in your spiritual walk. While you’re focused on becoming a Christian missionary, you can grow where God has planted you in the moment. Prepare yourself by serving right now. God won’t waste any experiences you gain as you wait. This might include expanding your formal education. Many Christian universities and colleges offer missions courses and degrees that could help you get ready for your mission field. Get Out of Debt: One major roadblock to becoming a Christian missionary is financial debt. While it’s not something many think about until it’s too late, it’s hard to gain traction on the mission field if you are hounded by things like mortgages or student loans back home. So, as you work toward becoming a missionary, make getting out of debt and staying out of debt a priority. Keep On Praying: This is where we said to start, but prayer is an ongoing process. You will need it at every step of the way. One great way to pray as you move toward becoming a missionary is to make it a team sport. Enlist a network of prayer warriors who will lift you up during preparation and after you’ve left for the field. Again, it is impossible to overstate the importance of prayer as you discover how to become a Christian missionary.   A Christian Missionary If you search online for missions opportunities, you’ll probably come across some secular organizations that do good work in other nations, but they aren’t committed to sharing the gospel like Christian missionaries. They might focus on the adventure of travel or helping make the world a better place, but Jesus isn’t part of their plan. That doesn’t mean those organizations are bad, but they should never be confused with Christian missions. Christian missionaries are called by God to fulfill His plans and purposes. They understand that the only way the world becomes a better place is if individuals turn from their sin and embrace Jesus as Savior. As you discover how to become a Christian missionary, never lose sight of this calling. You are bringing light to the darkness. You are fulfilling the Great Commission. You are making a difference for God’s kingdom. That’s what becoming a Christian missionary is all about. That’s what becoming a Christian missionary is all about.
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What Is A Mission Trip?
For a lot of believers, the call to mission doesn’t involve a lifetime commitment to moving overseas. It doesn’t mean packing up one’s family and possessions. And it doesn’t mean quitting a job or ministry at home. For them, it means mission trips. Many Christians fulfill their commitment to the Great Commission through short-term experiences. While it might not include extensive language or cultural training, if God has called you to short-term missions, you still need to know what to expect. You need an answer to the question, “What is a mission trip?”   Mission Trip Starters Even though short-term mission trips are different from career opportunities, it’s still important to do some homework ahead of time. That’s the best way to find answers to “What is a mission trip?” As you prepare, here are a couple of things to keep in mind: Bathe everything in prayer. No mission endeavor makes much of a difference in God’s kingdom without prayer. That’s because prayer is the channel for God’s power as He works in the world. So, spend time praying for yourself, so you’ll have the wisdom to know which direction to take.    At the same time, pray for the people you will be working with on the field so they will feel encouraged and empowered in their ministry. Finally, pray for those who need to hear the gospel. Whatever mission field God has for you, start the preparation process with prayer—and continue to pray every step of the way.   Find your fit. When you think about “What is a mission trip?” you need to understand that you’ve never had more options than you do today—even for a short-term trip. For example, you may be a medical professional interested in pursuing medical missions. If so, you can learn more about the possibilities by attending an event like the Global Health Missions Conference. This will give you a chance to connect with like-minded people, find out more about sending agencies, and build networks that will equip you down the road. But even if medical missions aren’t your sweet spot, you can still dig into opportunities like construction, sports ministry, disaster relief, marketplace missions, or education. And, of course, you can see what’s available for more traditional trips that focus on activities like evangelism and church planting.  You also can talk to friends and mentors, asking them how they see God at work in your life. Once you have done some research and finished some self-evaluation, you’ll be ready to take the next step in finding your answer to “What is a mission trip?”   What Will You Be Doing? One of the best ways to figure out what a mission trip is—or, at least, what it could be for you—is to understand what missionaries do. Aside from the distinctions we see in location, duration, and methodology, Christian missionaries share some common characteristics. As a result, mission trips also have some basic things in common. We’ve listed five distinguishing characteristics of a mission trip. This list isn’t exhaustive. God may show you other things to consider as you prepare for His work in your life. But these will provide some great filters to help you move forward and discover an answer to “What is a mission trip?”   1. A mission trip fulfills the Great Commission. Regardless of what else you get from this article, you need to understand that a mission trip is only a mission trip if it fulfills the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). Jesus gave His disciples a command to share the gospel around the world, and missionaries play a major role in making that happen. So, if you’re wondering, “What is a mission trip,” start with the gospel.    2. A mission trip requires you to depend on God. All Christians are called to lean into God for every experience in their lives. Mission trips challenge you to trust God in ways that can only happen outside your comfort zone. Both as you prepare and as you do the work on the field, you will need to hear from Him and follow His direction. You will certainly face unfamiliar circumstances. But it’s all part of His design for teaching you to depend on Him more fully.   3. A mission trip allows you to partner with other believers on the field. The best mission trips give you the chance to work side by side with career missionaries or local Christians in their context. You get to see what they do every day, and you get a better understanding of their joys and struggles. Again, that’s something that really can’t happen unless you’re there to see it with your own eyes.    4. A mission trip gives you a chance to experience a new culture. Admittedly, this may be one of the more exciting aspects of a short-term mission trip. Getting a chance to leave home—even for a few days—and see things you’ve never seen can be incredible. But most believers who seek an answer to “What is a mission trip?” walk away understanding that experiencing new cultures involves more than eating different foods and seeing famous landmarks. Being exposed to another part of God’s creation—and how faith is practiced away from home—can help you become less arrogant and egocentric. You make a connection with another realm of God’s kingdom, and that’s important.   5. A mission trip teaches you to see the world differently. When we talk about the “church,” we’re often speaking of the brick-and-mortar building where we meet with other believers regularly. But when God sees the church, He’s thinking of something much larger. He’s looking at the “big picture,” the universal church spread out across both geography and time. Knowing what a mission trip is and participating in such an adventure develops that “big picture” mentality in your life. What’s more, you recognize that while you hope that God has used you to make a difference in the lives of others, they have made a difference in your life at the same time.   Take The Chance Since you’re reading this blog, it’s reasonable to believe that you have an interest in finding out how God wants you to respond to the question, “What is a mission trip?” You believe He is working in your heart and life, and you want to follow Him in whatever direction He leads. That’s great! Again, keep praying about it and keep seeking His plan. Mission trips are not always easy. They require a lot of commitment and a lot of flexibility. But they can also transform your life in powerful ways. Take the chance as God leads you. Let Him teach you what a mission is all about by participating firsthand.