7 Ideas for a Stay At Home Summer Mission Trip

Guest post by Erin Odom from The Humbled Homemaker

Some of my most memorable summer experiences as a teenager involved going on both domestic and international mission trips. Whereas many of my peers looked forward to tanning on the beach or taking a trip to Disney World during our summer breaks, I spent the school year raising money for my next mission trip adventure–whether it be to the inner city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the rugged coastlines of Scotland, or the poverty-stricken villages of Peru.

I couldn’t deny God’s calling to go and serve–and proclaim His gospel to the nations. I met my husband while serving a year-long term in Costa Rica after college. After we married, we spent summer “vacations” in China and Africa. And after our first daughter was born, we spent a semester ministering to refugees in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

When we returned to the States and continued to grow our family, I struggled with how we’d apply our call to missions while living full-time in the United States.

I soon learned that families can minister both internationally and locally from home! Here are 7 ideas for an at-home summer mission “trip”:1. Sew pillowcase dresses together for Dress a Girl Around the World. This ministry collects handmade pillowcase dresses and distributes them to impoverished girls. Even the most novice of seamstresses can sew a pillowcase dress, and your daughters will enjoy learning how to sew for others. Pray over each dress before sending them off, asking the Lord to use the physical need you are meeting as an open door to share the gospel.

2. Host an orphan in your home. New Horizons for Children is a Christian-based, non-profit organization which brings school-aged, orphaned children from Eastern Europe to the United States to share the love of God and a family. You can host a child in your home for 6 weeks for a fraction of the cost of what it would take for your entire family to travel to another country for a week-long mission trip. Several families in my church have participated in this program–and many of the have children come to know Christ during their stay!

3. Collect baby formula for orphans. But isn’t breast best? Well, yes, I’m a huge breastfeeding advocate and even nurse my own babies until they self-wean, but the raw facts are that millions of orphaned babies around the world have no mother to nurse them. There is often a shortage of donated milk for these babies, and without formula, they will die. Brighton Their World is an organization that collects and delivers both infant formula and handmade blankets to these needy orphans around the world.

4. Minister to nursing home residents together. Whether your children are young and can do nothing more than make cards, or if they are old enough to play games with the elderly, a visit to your local nursing home can prove a blessing to the sick and often-forgotten of your community.

5. Minister to a widow–while raising money for an adoption. James 1:27 says that “pure and faultless religion” is to look after widows and orphans. I love how Both Hands is a ministry that combines these. Instead of raising funds via running a 5K, etc., this ministry asks participants to solicit sponsors who will donate money, so they can help a widow with home repairs, painting, etc. The money then goes to a couple who is adopting an orphan. Older children can participate alongside their parents in the home repairs.

6. Send a care package and/or set up a Skype chat with international missionaries. Although it was only for a short time, my husband and I know the loneliness that international missionaries can experience while away from friends and family. Receiving a care package can be a huge encouragement and help renew weary missionaries. The gifts need not be big; most missionaries would be delighted to receive even the smallest of treats from their home countries. Is postage too much? Why not set up a virtual chat via Skype, where you can invite these missionaries “into your home.

7. Host a neighborhood Vacation Bible School. Some unbelieving families wouldn’t dare drop their children off at a church VBS, but they may be more open to leaving them at a neighbor’s home to play games, sing songs, make crafts…and learn about Jesus. Is your house too small? You can always host a one-day event at a neighborhood park. Check out some wonderful VBS materials through Children’s Desiring God.

What are your ideas for a stay-at-home summer mission trip?

Erin is a believer in Jesus Christ and stay-at-home wife and mom of two little redheaded girls (with a third on the way!). She is passionate about Jesus, mission work, her family and researching how to live a healthier lifestyle. She writes for several print and online publications, blogs about natural living and homemaking at The Humbled Homemaker and also edits eBooks.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

19 Responses to 7 Ideas for a Stay At Home Summer Mission Trip

  1. Daniel June 23, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    My church is doing something really cool this year. Over the last 7 years, we’ve developed a relationship with a church in Belize, and our youth group has gone down there several times on week-long mission trips. This year, instead of going there again, our group is raising money to bring a group of their youth up here for a week. They’ll do some service work with our group in our local town. It should give a great experience to the Belizians who may not have another chance to come to the US, and it shows our kids the need here at home.

  2. Pamela October 16, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    What precious ways to shelter others. The “Dress Around the World” project brought tears to my eyes, just thinking how special a dress would make the girls feel. I’m beginning a “Share the Shelter” linky party tomorrow. It’s a take on Samuel Colerige’s poem, “Friendship is a Sheltering tree,” and involves encouraging those around us. I’d be delighted if you would link this post. You’re welcome to link another of your choice, too.

  3. Janis Commentz July 9, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    Just happened to hit your blog- when I looked up the “old fashioned” term homemaking–looking for ideas for my own art blog. When I was in high school we took homemaking or home economics. Today there is no such class; it has been replaced with Hospitality Services. Sad. Great ideas. I love the home missions trip! Thanks! ~Janis

  4. Jennifer Bolt July 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    Our family has welcomed international children into our home for 3 summers and 2 Christmas seasons through New Horizons For Children. Sharing Jesus through our daily living is the easy part – loving the unlovable is in no way easy. However, God’s grace and strength shine through! Our best summers have been the ones we have shared with others! Thank you for your post :)

  5. Leigh Ann @ Intentional By Grace July 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    These are great ideas, Erin! I love the idea of a neighborhood VBS. I will tuck this one into the back of my mind for future reference. :)

  6. Jamie July 9, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    Great ideas! My family does a once-a-month Service Saturday day and you’ve given me some great ideas to plan for in the coming year.

  7. Stephanie July 7, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    I just want to add, verbally sharing the gospel with people :) every single Christian is called to missions. It is wonderful to be able to go to other nations and serve, but we must not forget that a person’s greatest need is salvation. “missions” is seeing a homeless man in my city, giving him a sandwich, and actually talking with him as though he is a real person with a real soul. get to know people that you are ministering to with things like food, etc. care about their souls.

    It’s easy for me to give someone a few dollars and think i’ve done my good deed of the day. Jesus DOES want us to be generous and take care of others and provide for their needs, this is absolutely biblical. But that is the bare minimum. I fail at this every day, but I desire to develop real relationships with people instead of believing I am above them in some way, and verbally share the gospel with them.

    most of the people around you need Christ. every day is your mission trip. :)

  8. Krista July 6, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    Thanks for the inspirational post! I guess I’m kind of selfish in that I use my favorite hobby to minister. I crochet baby items: hats, booties, blankets, etc. for the local pregnancy center. These are placed in layettes for ladies who have chosen life. I have been feeling the desire to step outside of my home, so the nursing home idea has me excited.

  9. Deb July 6, 2012 at 7:06 am #

    Great ideas! I’ve been thinking lately that I need to start ministering in something that I can involve my little boys with. I think the nursing home idea would be great for us.

    Corinne, I worked at a CEF camp one summer when I was a teen! Such a great experience.

    • Corinne July 6, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

      How wonderful! My mother hosted a 5-Day club in our neighborhood when I was a child. I remember it so well. :) When my 3 boys were little, I started hosting clubs. Two of our boys were teen missionaries, with the oldest teaching with the young lady who would later become his wife. As a couple they are involved in their local CEF chapter.

      Our second son has served with CEF for many years, and will work as an intern at CEF headquarters for a year starting this fall.

      Maybe your little guys will one day serve as CEF summer missionaries too! Or, like our youngest son, choose to serve the Lord in other ways; this is his 4th summer working at our church camp. He loves it and desires to go into missions/ministry.

      God bless you as you raise your boys to love, honor and serve the Lord in whatever they do!

  10. Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy July 6, 2012 at 6:22 am #

    These are great ideas! I have been thinking and praying about ways to get us more involved in our community and reaching out to needy people.

  11. Carrie July 6, 2012 at 5:56 am #

    Thanks for the great suggestions!

    I would encourage families to consider donating money rather than sending formula. That way the orphanages can use the money as it’s most needed and make any purchases locally, supporting their local economy rather than ours.

    • Lexie July 6, 2012 at 11:35 am #

      This is a good point, but you also have to consider how much money formula costs overseas. Going through an organization like the one mentions insures that the formula goes where needed. We’ve done this with every child when formula companies send us formula in the mail. You can also donate to a local family you know who has adopted. :)

  12. Gloria July 6, 2012 at 4:58 am #

    Thank you for the inspiration. Great ideas! I cannot wait to start.

  13. Bethany@OurSoCalledLife July 6, 2012 at 4:33 am #

    What great ideas! I used to be a camp counselor at a Christian day camp in our community, and local churches would bake cookies for the kids’ lunches. It was a nice little touch that we looked forward to everyday.

  14. Polly July 5, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    I love these ideas! We have an organization near us called Feed My Starving Children where we go volunteer to pack food to send to nations that are starving around the world.

  15. Leesa July 5, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    My friends and I met together at the park and while the kids played we assembled baggies to pass out to the homeless. So inside of a big clear ziplock bag we put things like- bottled water, a pack of gum, a package of snack crackers, and toiletry items like a travel size toothbrush and toothpaste, comb, and hand sanitizer. We also added one size fits all gloves and a scarf or hat (if cold weather applies), and a little gospel track to share. There’s lots of other miscellaneous items you can add and the items are pretty inexpensive and can be found at dollar stores and places like Walmart.

    You can keep the bags in your car if it’s not too hot and then when you see a homeless person at a street corner or under the overpass and it is safe to do so you can pass one out or have your kids do it if they are old enough.

    I like this outreach because I can teach my kids that there is something they can do to help instead of just passing those person(s) by and feeling sorry for them.

  16. Corinne July 5, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    Wonderful post! Family missions is so important, and you are right, we can do it right from home! Our neighbors need Christ too!

    Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) is a wonderful ministry to children and it is so easy to be involved. Host a 5-Day club in your home, backyard or a park. CEF sends fully trained missionaries (usually teens) to teach a Bible story, missionary story, memory verse, songs and games for 5 days. The hostess’s part is to pray, invite children and provide snacks. Every day the children are given an opportunity to trust in Christ as their savior! The club runs for 1-1/12 hours each day.

    Teens, college students and adults can train to be CEF summer missionaries in their area. It is a wonderful opportunity for teens to get involved in local missions. They learn so much Bible too! All the stories, songs and verses are memorized during the two weeks of training at the beginning of the summer. Each missionary is taught how to lead a person to Christ, which is something we all need to feel comfortable doing.

    I cannot say enough good about this wonderful ministry! Check it out at cefonline.com to find a chapter/coordinator in your area.

  17. Jessica July 5, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Oh my gosh, the dress idea is so wonderful! Thanks for the inspiration!