Why is it that almost all schools today, whether private or public require some form of community service hours as a graduation requirement? Why do college and job applications require a list of volunteer experience?
The answer is simple. Serving others changes our children and the experts know it. Getting to interact with those in need moves our children from an apathetic life of just going through the motions to being full of energy and acknowledgement of, “Wow! I really can make a difference!”
Let’s face it; our children live in a me-centered world. They think mostly about themselves. They post “selfies” daily. And the media has instilled in them the thinking that the most important thing that matters is if I am happy. Going on a mission trip, whether overseas or right here in the U.S. brings our children out of that “me” world, introduces them to an entirely new culture and exposes them to the thinking of others. Now they have to view themselves in a new light. How will I deal with no electricity, the awful smells, the filth, dirty hands touching me, unfamiliar food, and unimaginable poverty? How will I step into this uncomfortable place and reach out? Who will I lean on to help me through this journey that I am on? Who will give me patience, understanding, rest, comfort? Suddenly their “me” world is crushed and they have no choice but to rely on their relationship with Jesus Christ to guide them through the journey. They realize they need others and begin to rely on their team members, who are peers on the same journey, and their leaders for guidance. Their focus begins to shift from the me to others, and this is where real change begins.
Spending a week or more in this new mindset brings our children to a new place in their spiritual life journey. The change is different for everyone, but there is always a change. TTW believes the three foundational concepts that must be instilled in youth are belonging, competence and worth. Belonging comes from sense of peace as the student forms relationships with other team members in this missions journey as they understand that there truly is a place for them within the family of God. Students leave with a new appreciation for family, the ability to go to school, religious freedom, their homes, running water and so much more. TTW also focuses on competence, allowing our children to uncover the gifts that God has given them and instilling the confidence to use them. But most importantly, the greatest value of a mission trip with TTW is for our teens to realize that their life is a mission field everyday and they have the ability to live that life of worth as an ambassador for Jesus Christ.
Is it your desire as a parent to raise your children to know the love of Jesus Christ and to be ready to share it? These are the kinds of teens that are coming out of TTW’s programs; apathetic youth now spurred to action and ready to make a difference in their walk with God through life.