Modern mission trips blend service with adventure for an unforgettable experience.

Julie Hoover-Ernst

Julie Hoover-Ernst

From pilgrimages and retreats to adventure excursions and mission trips, interest in faith-based tourism continues to rise. However, it is a blend of the last two types that has caught the attention of Faith Travel Association. While about two million Americans embark on short-term mission trips each year, there has been increased interest lately in combining the mission with elements of fun and adventure.

Arranged by missions-oriented ministries, travel agencies, tour operators and even suppliers, these combined trips allow individuals opportunities to make a real difference in the world by working on a range of projects—from construction and home repair to disaster relief, food and water supply initiatives, and, of course, outreach and education—while also offering participants fun outings and activities that capitalize on the destination’s best features.

Adventure Serve Ministries, based in Wilmore, Kentucky, is one such ministry. Having started in the early 1980s as a home repair ministry in poverty-stricken Appalachia, the organization today works closely with group leaders to develop custom tours lasting one weekend to one week. The mission portion involves home repairs, clean-ups and sometimes disaster relief. Most trips—even those that are just a weekend—combine the mission with an outdoor adventure. The staff sees these adventures as an extension of the lessons they teach about serving others…

By Julie Hoover-Enrst

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