FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What’s included in the listed cost?
For most of our group trips, the cost listed includes just about EVERYTHING it takes to get you from your home airport to the destination you’re going and all the way back home. For our open trips (for individuals) and tours, the listed cost typically includes all costs to and from the listed city of departure.
All items such as lodging, meals, clean water, airfare, visa and country entry fees, ministry supplies, expedited passport help, pre-trip resources for training and fundraising, and all needed insurances. We also recruit (and in some cases pay) for translators, so that’s included too.
Who do you partner with in-country?
All of our short-term mission trips seek to serve long-term workers. Bethany International has more than 100 long-term workers in more than 25 countries. We are also a part of GlobeServe, an international network of like-minded Gospel workers seeking to engage and serve unreached people groups. Our short-term teams are designed to serve alongside a long-term worker within our network; typically a long-term worker that has established missions training school, involved in church planting, and/or has established a strong mercy and justice ministry in their communities.
What size group can participate in a mission trip?
Just about any size mission team may participate! We have groups from 6 people up to 250 people. Our average group size is 15-20 people. Some destinations have group size limitations.
What types of group can participate?
We can serve just about any type of group. We have planned and facilitated trips for youth groups, church groups, college campus ministries, schools, medical teams, and even families. We’ve even had some of our global partners host teams of firefighters to train emergeanncy personnel and teams of teachers to train educators. There is really no limit.
Why should I pick Bethany over just doing it myself?
Sure, you could certainly consider going at it on your own. Many churches and groups have access to missions opportunities all over the world that would make for great trips. However, there are a few things to consider first:
Why should I pick Bethany over other organizations?
There are many great missions agencies and sending organizations; we’re never going to pretend like we’re the only people who can get the job done well. But not all organizations are not created equally.
Our team’s experience sets us a part from most organizations. We have planned so many different types of trips and we have worked with so many different churches and groups from all different sorts of denominational backgrounds and socioeconomic backgrounds, we feel comfortable that we can serve you with the utmost of excellence and guarantee the best possible missions experience for you and your team.
Is Bethany a faith-based organization?
Yes, we are! All of our staff members are professing evangelical Christians, our team unashamedly embraces the Bible as absolute truth, and one of our greatest goals as an organization is to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ with as many people as possible.
Do I have to be a Christian to go on a trip with Bethany?
Great question! The answer is: “it depends on which trip.” For most of our mission trips, in order to accomplish the goals of the trips, all of the participants ought to be Bible-believing Christians (but not necessarily “evangelical”). There will certainly be an allowance for exceptions on a case-by-case basis if our leadership team feels that a particular participant would be a great fit for a particular team, even with a lack of faith (but it is important to note that those such cases will be rare). Also important to note, each and every participant is required to follow all rules set by the Bethany leadership and all participants are expected to seek to honor Biblical morality and uphold Christian ethics, regardless of the participant’s profession of faith (or lack thereof).
Will our group be split up?
This depends on the destination you select. We will always try to get your mission team to serve together on a mission project. Groups are not typically mixed together with other groups unless you want that to be the case. Sometimes larger groups may split into smaller teams to work on multiple projects. We will go over those sorts of details before you ever commit to a location.
If I go on one of your Open Trips, who will I travel with?
Our Open Teams are made up of people from all over North America, people from all sorts of different background, but everyone is united with one mission. These trips tend to be very popular and add a unique element to the missions experience.
Do you have your staff on the trip?
You will always have someone with our organization with you; sometimes it will be one of our local pastors on the ground, other times it will be one of our American staff members. It’ll depend on the type of trip, the location, and the size of your team.
However, if a group leader requests an American member of our staff team, then we’ll definitely send someone. Making this decision is a part of the collaborative process; together we’ll determine whether or not you’ll need an American staff person with you.
For our Open Teams, there will always be an experienced American staff person traveling with the team.
Is insurance required for a mission trip?
Yes. The good news: We take care of it for you! All international trip participants are required to have an international insurance policy that covers medical, travel interruption, and emergency extraction. We will purchase this policy for you. The anticipated cost of insurance is already built into the listed costs of trips.
What type of insurance is required?
The types of insurance policies we purchase for our trip participants (both for mission trips and tours) covers overseas medical expenses, any expenses related to any travel interruption, reimbursement for last-minute travel-cancellation, any unanticipated expenses due to travel delays or lost baggage, and emergency extraction in the cases of medical issues, terrorism, or natural disaster.
Who provides transportation?
What types of ministry will we do on our mission trip?
Bethany is a very relational ministry so you will spend your time building relationships with the people you are ministering to and a sharing God’s love through those relationships.
Most trips have a specific purpose set forth, however in many cases you will have additional ministry opportunities to participate in including children’s ministries, feeding programs, community outreach events, door-to-door evangelism, sports ministry, light construction, and prayer walks. We try to meet the needs of the community as prescribed to us by the trusted local churches we have partnered with.
Where will we be staying on our tour?
Lodging and accommodations can vary, but typically we stay in hotels. In some rare cases, we chose to stay in a hostel or a “bed-and-breakfast” style inn because in some cases that is a better option than a local hotel. We will always notify you with all accommodation information long before the commencement of your tour, so you can be fully prepared.
Where will we sleep on our mission trip?
Lodging will vary greatly on mission trips, but we will send you all accommodation information before your travel. In some cases we stay in hotels, sometimes we’re in a camping situation, and other times we stay with host families. You may even be lodged at a school or church facility.
We recommend every person bring a sleeping bag, pillow, and/or twin air mattress (if applicable). Males and females will be lodged separately. Shower facilities will be available for all groups (hot water is not always guaranteed).
Can our youth bring their cell phone, iPod or other electronic devices on a mission trip?
Yes, but we will have very strict rules about when they can and cannot be used. We always challenge students to evaluate the reasons for going on a mission trip; which is to minister to people and to develop a deeper relationship with God. Often times iPods and other electronic devices can become a huge distraction for trip participants.
What is the dress code?
This may vary from trip to trip dramatically. Before your trip (both for mission trips and tours), you will receive a full packing list from us, long before the trip start date, so that you and your team can be well prepared.
In general, we ask teams to be modest, but of course the idea of “modesty” can vary in its meaning greatly depending on your context, but we encourage people to be more conservative than whatever your typical North American attire might be. A good rule of thumb is simple: “when in doubt, don’t bring it.”
Depending on your location’s cultural norms, we may need to adjust the dress code from our standard expectations. In some cases, trip participants may need to be prepared to cover up tattoos and even remove piercings if the host culture finds them offensive.
How safe is the mission field? What security measures are taken?
Bethany stays aware of the political situations in and around our project locations. We also partner with local ministries to ensure the safety of our ministry locations in country. Every leader is always well aware of the locations of the nearest hospitals, police, and US embassies.
Bethany would never send a team to a location if we felt it put our participants lives at risk, and we never send you to a location too far from a hospital unless we have medical professionals with us. We do not allow participants to go anywhere alone or without a leader while on the trip. We strive to ensure safety on all of our trips, and while we cannot control all situations, we have thorough safety protocols and emergency extraction plans in place.
Will we be able to wash our clothes?
You will be able to hand wash your clothes. Please bring small travel laundry packets for laundry. As for laundry services, it will vary from trip to trip. In some cases there will be laundry services available, but in some cases it will not be available. A team member can advise you if your trip will have it available.
What shots do I need to get for the trip?
Occasionally, we may travel to a nation that requires certain shots before we travel. In those cases, Bethany will indeed require you to get those shots before you can travel with us; otherwise you may not be admitted into that nation. However, required shots before travel is a rare requirement; most nations have no such restrictions.
With that stated, we are not doctors so we are not qualified from a medical perspective to advise you or your group as to whether or not you should or should not get certain shots. We suggest that participants determine which shots he or she may need by visiting the CDC website and consulting with your physician.
You may or may not elect to receive all the immunizations recommended by the CDC or by your physician(s), this is a personal decision you and your team must make. We will not require any persons to receive any shots, but our refusal to require shots should not be interpreted as an ideological rejection of vaccines or immunizations.
We do not reject the use of immunizations or vaccines at all, but we also do not endorse them. We remain neutral on the matter. We do not give any recommendations on this matter whatsoever.
Some of our staff have received many vaccines while others have elected not to do so at all, at their own risk. Again, this is a personal decision that each participant must make on his/her own. Our only advice is that you consult both the CDC website and your family physician.
Should our church focus on one region or more?
There are two approaches to international ministry: “The Shotgun” or “The Rifle.” The Shotgun scatters resources and energy to a variety of areas. The Rifle approach focuses the energy and efforts into a limited number of areas. There are pros and cons to each method, but we prefer and recommend The Rifle approach.
Prayers, resources, and time are then invested with strategy and purpose. The resources then to be far more efficient when invested in this manner. In addition, your local church will build relationships with a local church abroad, which will make for a much more meaningful experience.