So, you are trying to decide whether or not to take a missions trip with your little ones. Here are a few things to keep in mind that helped us make our final decision.
We have 3 toddlers that are 3 and under and we are in the midst of potty-training 2 of the 3, so yes, we pray A LOT! Now throw in taking a trip, let alone, a missions trip…umm, prayer was our middle name. When we were asked to consider going, my initial reaction was “absolutely not” but God has a sense of humor. I told the mission trip coordinator that I would “think and pray on it but it’s likely a no.” We both laughed and I thought that would be the end of it. It wasn’t. All my husband and I kept thinking and talking about was the possibility of doing missions…with 3 toddlers and as a family. It sounded cool and amazingly life changing but were we ready?!? We thought we were not but God knew we were. After praying and fasting, we both clearly knew we needed to go. The organization that coordinated the trip is called Christian Family Adoption Aid(CFAA) and we knew that they were a trustworthy and reputable organization to lead us. We didn’t know how we would do missions or why God called us to do missions,but we knew that God would lead the way. The hardest part was just saying “Yes!” And that’s what we did…
PAYING( aka Fundraising/Faithraising)
Did I say the hardest part was saying “Yes?” However, what I failed to mention was the second hardest part is trusting that God will provide the finances needed to cover the cost. I know, we are Christians and we are supposed to have unwavering faith, but honestly we struggled with this one. D makes a modest income, but come-on, there’s 5 of us. Our kids eat like grown men, even our dainty and girly 3 year old daughter! Only one of us had a passport, so on top of the trip costing over $5,000 for 5 of us, we had to pay over $500 for passports in less than 4 months. In our own strength and will, you would probably be reading a different post, but we have a Father that is so good to us!
We knew that this was a God thing, so we trusted in Him to show us how to fundraise. Our family is not new to fundraising, as we fundraised to fund our children’s three adoptions. Fundraising wasn’t the challenge, it was if other people would be on board to help us serve overseas for God. Raising money to build a family seemed more relatable and convicting, than missions, or so we thought!
We were lead to create and sell t-shirts via CustomInk/Booster. We sold 28 shirts over a course of 30 days for $25 each. We raised $720 total including the 28 t-shirts and love donations given out of the generosity of our family, friends, and even some we don’t know. Expressing and displaying our excitement for the t-shirts also helped drum up support and purchases. We purchased our own shirt to show us supporting our own cause.
We utilized social media, mainly Facebook to promote our fundraising. With the help of some pretty cute and charismatic kids, we made several videos and used the “Live” features. The videos helped us to explain the reason for us choosing missions, where we were going, when we were going, and how much we needed. I created a separate facebook group to keep those that wanted to support and follow our journey updated. This also helped me to promote our need publicly without opening up my private page.
Pick-A-Number Donation Board
Thank goodness for Pinterest! I did a search on creative fundraising efforts and ran across this one. It’s called Donation by the numbers. You create a board labeled with numbers in numerical order(i.e. 1-100). You post this board and ask people to pick a number. The number that they pick will be the dollar amount that they will donate(i.e.#1 =$1). If you choose to go to 100, then the total sum of potential donations is $5050. The key is to be persistent, diligent, and creative with your updates. Our kiddos would make special “thank you” videos for those that donated as well as shared what their favorite numbers were, which people quickly chose. Who can resist 3 cute kids, right?!
Use your God given Talents
If you have a talent or hobby, don’t discredit what God has bestowed on you. Market your skills and services, you will be surprised how people will support your efforts. I have learned that a lot of people like to get something for their hard earned money. It is also rewarding knowing that you are not idly sitting around waiting for donations, you are actively raising funds for what God has called you to do! So whether it be cleaning someone’s home, babysitting, running errands, cutting grass, you can help to raise the funds that you need!
I have been blessed with the ability to style people’s hair. I love doing hair and it’s always been a hobby of mine that lately I have been perfecting. I am often asked who styles my hair and 99% of the time, it’s me. With the encouragement of some friends, I took a leap of faith and advertised my services and it was a great success. I accepted donations only and allowed our supports to pay what they felt led. Most were very generous and in total we earned about $500-600 that was applied to our missions trip cost.
We are blessed to have friends that are entrepreneurs and creatives with amazing hearts.
Our friend, Moniek with FitWhileBrown was so gracious to hold a fitness bootcamp in our honor. She charged $10 for the tickets and all the proceeds went towards our mission trip fund. The hidden blessing of this event and others like this, is that it helped to spread the word about our cause while helping her to market her business.
Another fundraiser we had was to host an online LipSense Party. We had an amazing lady named Kyla Cress, who has become a friend! She donated a part of her proceeds from the sales towards our missions trip fund.
We also had a friend that sells LulaRoe that was willing to host a fundraiser for us however we raised our needed funds much quicker than expected!
Consider partnering with any of your friends/family that own their own businesses that would be willing to contribute a portion of their proceeds to your mission trip fundraiser. You will be surprised how much people will support you when you are literally on a mission for God!
Part-Time Jobs for a Full-time Mission
Time is precious, I know, trust me. Working one job or taking care of kiddos full-time is hard enough, trust me, I know. However consider taking on a part-time job, even if it’s just for a few months. My husband took on a part-time job prior to us deciding that we were going on this mission trip, but it was a blessing that helped us to fund some of our trip. I also had a part-time job that I worked from home that also helped towards some of the fees due. Be resourceful, time efficient, and creative for a season while you raise funds- it will be worth it, I promise!
Having 3 kiddos, I have to be organized and have somewhat of a plan. Going out of the country, this instinct kicked into high gear. I had to be cautious and purposeful to not let my prepping and planning turn into anxiety and being overwhelmed. I asked around to other parents that traveled with young kids, did some research online, and prayed about the rest. Here’s my final result that I felt worked best for us:
- Pray for the guidance and discernment from the Lord regarding your needs and peace about this new adventure.
- Make a List of “To Do’s” and a “Packing List” tailored for your family needs
- Start educating the kids on their own development levels about the where, who’s, when, and why’s of your upcoming Missions. We utilized YouTube and the library to discuss plane rides, possible sounds on the plane, expectations for traveling, and how fun it will be!
- Start buying toiletries, travel items, supplies, and snacks in advance so you don’t feel financially stretched at the end.
The preparation stage honestly can be overwhelming, because after all you are prepping so you will have all you need while you are out in the missions field. This next post will go more in depth about what our prepping looked like!
Thanks for hanging in there, I know this is a lot of information. I hope that doing this in parts helps to break it up and keep it easy to follow.
You Got This! If we could do missions with 3, 3 and under, so can you! ~Chantal