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Looking for a summer "mini-mission"


blooit

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I have a son who is about 14. Besides a testimony of Christ, I've always felt that the single most important thing a teen can be taught is that they are not the center of the universe. :P Few things can teach that better than seeing the real poverty that is out there, and really serving others, not to mention setting him on course to serve a mission. A lot of my evangelical friends send their teens to third world countries on "mini-missions." While I'm pretty sure there isn't much out there officially sponsored by the church, do you guys know of good service opportunities where I can take my son (preferably to Latin America) for 4-6 weeks? Any with groups that I can trust?

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I have a son who is about 14. Besides a testimony of Christ, I've always felt that the single most important thing a teen can be taught is that they are not the center of the universe. :P Few things can teach that better than seeing the real poverty that is out there, and really serving others, not to mention setting him on course to serve a mission. A lot of my evangelical friends send their teens to third world countries on "mini-missions." While I'm pretty sure there isn't much out there officially sponsored by the church, do you guys know of good service opportunities where I can take my son (preferably to Latin America) for 4-6 weeks? Any with groups that I can trust?

The Nauvoo pageant. They have summer service missions from entertainment to those young men behind the scenes, who clean up the grounds to setting up taking down etc. I was very very impressed with them they worked very long hours of course for no pay. It was up at 6:00 and bed about 11:00 sometimes even later (yes there was that much work to do). All of these hard working young men were totally awesome.

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I have a son who is about 14. Besides a testimony of Christ, I've always felt that the single most important thing a teen can be taught is that they are not the center of the universe. :P Few things can teach that better than seeing the real poverty that is out there, and really serving others, not to mention setting him on course to serve a mission. A lot of my evangelical friends send their teens to third world countries on "mini-missions." While I'm pretty sure there isn't much out there officially sponsored by the church, do you guys know of good service opportunities where I can take my son (preferably to Latin America) for 4-6 weeks? Any with groups that I can trust?

14 might be too young, but there are several foreign student exchange programs that operate in Latin America. I was an exchange student in Central America at age 16, and it was an extremely formative experience. So much that I encouraged my children to do the same. They weren't as adventurous, but also showed an interest in "doing something" at age 14, so instead my daughter accompanied family friends to Asia for a few weeks, and I took my son on a 2-week back-country tour in Central America. Both still reflect on seeing how other people live as life-changing experiences. While service is commendable, I don't think it is necessary for developing appreciation for what one has and empathy for those who lack in comparison. In fact, just stepping outside the norm like this may may result (as it did for me and them) in being more willing to serve others anyway: something happens, as you say, just seeing that they, their community or familiar way of life are not the center of the universe!

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The only ones that I've known that are not going to cost you major money are privately organized by families who have made arrangements to take their own and other kids down south to help with a charity organization. You might ask around (perhaps at the local schools as well as at church) and see if there is anyone who has heard of such things.

There are probably plenty of local opportunities to serve homeless and others that would cost you only gas money. Becoming aware of what is going on within our own society is even more important imo than learning what is going on in another country when one is talking about day to day stuff and actually making an impact for most people.

I will admit though that I grew to appreciate the privileges of our Western society so much more having been exposed to a country that didn't have all the "rights" that we are given (both in Canada and in the US in my experience). It has made a great difference to me when I hear people arguing about their right to medical and other things that are lacking in other countries as if they earned them simply because they breathe and walk this earth.

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