Gary and I recently returned from a trip to Paris. We got home on Sunday night before the terrorist events happened on following Friday. The first thing on our minds were what if we had been there. Then we began to think about what if we had a team there when these events took place. There have been so many changes in the way we do mission trips because of these types of events that can take place at anytime and anywhere. I have always struggled with adding so many items to our applications that make you feel like you are signing your life away. But I have come to appreciate the changes we have made to address these types of issues in our present mission trip application.
When we first started taking mission trips years ago, we simply had a one page application. It was basically your name, address, medicines you are taking, any medical issues you have and emergency contact information. As the years went by we began to use this application to get to know each team member better. We added information like tell us your salvation story, what are your strengths and/or weaknesses, do you speak a foreign language, have you ever traveled out of the country, etc. The last few years, under the advice of our attorney, we have made even more changes. Some of them I never thought we would need to add to an application, but in light of what just happened in Paris, I am understanding more and more that we need to have these items in our application. We know include an assumption of risk form that outlines the risk of the potential of these situations happening.
We would never take a team to a place that we knew was unsafe. However, there are very few places to travel to that don’t have some kind of issue going on that someone feels is unsafe. Before we take any trip we pray for peace to make the decision to go, especially if there is any type of issue going on. We also seek out the advice of those on the ground to give us direction as to the risk involved in traveling there, including our missionaries and organizations we work with. We are always honest and open with our team about the possibility that something could happen while on our trip. However, we also know that we are not in control! Any type of terrorist act could happen right here in the US as well as overseas, so we take every precaution we can when traveling.
When making these additions to our application, we sought out other churches who take mission trips and asked to see their application and policies. That helped us tremendously as we put ours together. I have attached a copy of our application to this email if anyone is interested. Please feel free to email us if you have any questions, or would like more information.
Click here to see our Mission Trip Application
Gary and Lisa Wilson
Missions and Outreach Specialty Network