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There you are, trying to raise a young person who is responsible, doing all the right things in their life, hoping they'll go on to be a pillar in the community, and all of a sudden they come home saying they want to go on a missions trip. They want to spend the summer in another nation where the people do not speak English, and you have never left the country yourself!

Perhaps your young person is asking your permission to go to another country, maybe one that you have never heard of. They saw a video or got excited at a conference, and now it's all they can talk about. As parents, we tend to think it will blow over - it will pass.

What's a parent to do?

It's not as strange as you might think for your young person to want to do something like this. In fact, thousands of young people every year are going on missions trips all around the world because God has touched their heart and given them a desire to go.

It would be wise for us not to dismiss it as another teenage-hype experience, but to find out what we might do to encourage them to go. God has laid missions on the hearts of young people all across the nation.

"Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves" (Luke 10:3).

Jesus sent His disciples out on short-term trips, sometimes for a week, sometimes for a couple of weeks. Someone who goes on a short-term trip can be an asset in ways that people who do long-term missions work may not be. If Jesus sent His disciples on short-term trips, surely He would know whether it is a valuable and credible way for a young person to spend their energy.

Sometimes we think, "Why do they need to go while they are young? Why don't they wait until they are a little bit older?" Jesus called His own disciples lambs. They were not even sheep yet, they were lambs. They were young. They were wet behind the ears. They did not know how to do very much. They were not very talented, and they asked a lot of stupid questions.

Maybe you feel your young person is a little too immature or not very strong in the Lord. Maybe they haven't been a Christian very long.

It is exactly that youthful zeal that Jesus wants to harness and use to change the world. The fact is, an experience on the mission field during the teenage years could dramatically affect the way your teen spends the rest of their life. They can see God's hand directly involved in their life, using them to minister to people who have never heard about Jesus.

If your young person even has a little bit of an inkling to go, let them go while it is on their heart. You do not know if the desire will always be there. Seize the moment. The older they get, the more distractions there are - cars, clothes, jobs, and relationships. If your teen has that desire to go when they are young, let them go and God will do something in their heart that you could never do.

Every summer, we at Teen Mania Ministries take thousands of teenagers on mission trips with us all around the world. We have seen literally thousands of people won to the Lord as a result of young people reaching out with their faith. I have had countless parents tell me things like, "Thank you so much for doing in my young person what I could not do as a parent. I did everything I knew to do, but having them go on this mission trip completed everything!"

Do not be like that one parent who prayed, "Oh Lord, please do not let my young person go on a mission trip. I want them to be a success in life." The Lord wants to use them in a mighty way.

Send them out to the mission field while they are young - it keeps them from getting into trouble in the summer, and it will plant in their heart a vision for God to use them for the rest of their life.

Source: Rescue Manual For Parents by Ron Luce.
Excerpt permission granted by Albury Publishing

Author Biography

Ron Luce
Web site: Ron Luce
Ron Luce was the co-founder's and president of Teen Mania Ministries from 1986-2015. Ron and his wife Katie dreamed to raise up young people who would change the world.

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