Why serve on a short-term mission team?
Because you may experience God’s call on your life more deeply than ever before, while at the same time being the hands and feet of Jesus to people in desperate need.
Since 1983, Forward Edge has mobilized more than 16,000 volunteers to serve in many parts of the U.S. and 33 foreign countries. With more than 30 years of experience in short-term missions, we’ve learned the importance of doing things with people, not just for them.
And we know what it takes to make a mission trip meaningful—not just for those who go, but those they go to serve. Significantly, the programs our mission teams support are designed and directed by local Christ-followers, so their activities align squarely with the vision of their in-country hosts.
Join or send a mission team with Forward Edge, and experience the joy of living your mission as you empower the poor, vulnerable, and forgotten to live theirs.
The recent “normalizing” of relations with the U.S. has provided a historic opportunity to support the work of the Church in Cuba. For more than 50 years, Cuba was officially off limits to U.S. travelers. But that is changing. Now YOU can be part of what God is doing there!
For most of the past half-century, Cuba was officially an atheist state. In 1962, Cuba’s government seized and shut down 400 Catholic schools, and many church leaders, including pastors and priests, were sent to labor farms for “re-education”. While both Protestant and Catholic churches remain restricted in their activities, they were never outlawed altogether. In 1984, Catholics and Protestants were allowed to conduct mass and worship services respectively. Since then, the growth of the Church inside Cuba has been phenomenal. By 2004, almost 20% of all Cubans were attending weekend religious services, compared with less than 1% in 1984; a growth rate of 1,960 percent!
Since personal income is regulated by the government and ranges from $20-$50 a month, most of the country suffers from extreme poverty. In keeping with its primary mission, Forward Edge teams to Cuba focus primarily on supporting church-run children’s programs. Additional ministry opportunities include construction or renovation of church buildings, reconstruction of homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, relational evangelism, and training of Cuban church leaders.
The 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010 killed more than 200,000 people, and left countless children orphaned. Many displaced families still live in tents or damaged sheet-metal homes.
Forward Edge teams to Haiti get to work with a local pastor to help rebuild homes and serve at a local school. They also get to play with local children in Forward Edge’s children’s program, Nouvo Lavi, and distribute food to their families.
In the mountains about 50 kilometers northwest of Nairobi is a town called Kijabe. Due to the staggering amount of orphans in the area, many are without access to adequate food, safe water, and a secure place to live.
Forward Edge teams to Kenya get to share Christ’s love with impoverished children, including many AIDS orphans, by serving them food, administering medical care, and renovating schools to improve their learning environments. Many of these children come from Mama Beth’s, Forward Edge’s children’s program in Kijabe, and visiting teams spend much of their time serving, playing and praying with them.
Mexico’s southern state of Oaxaca is home to one of the largest concentrations of indigenous people groups in the world. It’s also one of the poorest regions in North America.
Teams to Oaxaca get to help feed and tutor more than 100 children at Trigo y Miel, Forward Edge’s children’s program on the outskirts of Oaxaca City. They also get to help repair the homes of needy families and engage in other community-related projects.
Nicaragua is second only to Haiti as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Children and families served by Forward Edge teams to Managua come from extremely impoverished and dangerous environments, including life inside a city dump.
These living conditions often leave children severely malnourished, neglected and abandoned, with a high risk of physical abuse, sex trafficking, rape, and teen pregnancy.
Forward Edge teams to Managua work on projects at schools and churches in poor communities, serve at feeding programs, and pray with suffering families. They also get to stay at Villa Esperanza, Forward Edge’s home for at-risk girls.
Baltimore is a city that statistically ranks high among U.S. cities for issues of drug use, child poverty, violence, gang activity, sex trafficking and teen pregnancy. Forward Edge teams are partnering with a local ministry to help meet these pressing needs through serving the hungry, poor, the addicted, those who have an educational deficiency and those living without a spiritual compass.
Baltimore Trip Details
Tornado Relief – Moore, OK
The tornado of May 2013 left unprecedented damage in Oklahoma, damaging more than 12,000 homes and affecting more than 33,000 people. Forward Edge teams to Oklahoma get to help tornado survivors rebuild their homes and lives.
Oklahoma Trip Details
Flood Relief – Baton Rouge, LA and Pinch, West Virginia
On August 11, 2016, Baton Rouge, Louisiana was hit by a storm of unrelenting rain that displaced more than 40,000 people. It was the largest disaster since Storm Sandy in 2012. Floods had never reached anywhere close to these levels, so only 12% of the people residing there had flood insurance. Experts say it will take years to rebuild. You can be the answer to someone’s prayers by lending a hand to help them rebuild their homes and lives.
Louisiana Trip Details
On June 23, 2016, a series of storms through West Virginia dumped 10 inches of rain in only a few hours, causing 23 deaths and massive flooding, and qualifying it as a 1,000 year event for the region. In this mountainous area, less than 2% of local victims had flood insurance, leaving thousands of people without the means to rebuild. You can help them by building a team to go serve them.
West Virginia Trip Details
“For almost a decade I’ve relied on Forward Edge and have never been disappointed. Forward Edge is first-class in vision, purpose, equipping, support and connecting the body of Christ with the mission of Jesus on a worldwide scale.” – Pastor Chris Campbell from Bridgeport, WV
It’s our desire to see churches flourish when they partner with communities in need. We’ve seen great fruit in churches that have taken on “church-to-community” partnerships in our locations around the world. The impact of such a partnership will not only change the lives of those you serve, but will also transform lives within your congregation.
How partnering with Forward Edge can bless your church:
- Serving a community in need creates tremendous unity within a church body.
- People who serve on mission trips with Forward Edge most often return with a passion to serve in and through their home church. Our programs help you cultivate and guide those passions.
- We offer various levels of involvement that can cater to different types of people in a congregation. (i.e. prayer, child sponsorship, long-term projects, etc.)
- We welcome creative new ideas the Holy Spirit may give your congregation to help serve a community.
- We offer a turn-key mission trip program that takes the logistical load off of your church and frees them up to focus on what God wants to do in their hearts through the experience.
College and University students are ideal short-term mission trip members. They are on the cusp of their futures, and we provide opportunities for them to launch into those futures with unique mission trip experiences. These young adults have a passion to serve, and to be the catalyst for change as they live their mission. We can often create opportunities to serve that aligns with their degree programs, which deepens their understanding of the field they are pursuing, and provides a cultural experience that enhances their course of study.
Students will join with their classmates to become a team that works together as servants. As a team, they are immersed into the culture, and as they put their faith into action, they obtain a deeper understanding of what servanthood is and how it applies to their own lives. With opportunities to build relationships with the local people we serve, they develop life-long friendships and a sense of community on a global scale.
Practically, Forward Edge ensures a consistent mission trip experience, regardless of where they serve, through complete logistical and practical coordination from start to finish. The location may vary, but the key components of devotions, debriefs, relationship building, and serving will be present in every trip. Each team will have a unique mission trip experience based on where they serve, but the foundation will always be solid, and the team can be confident that they will have the spiritual and logistical guidance necessary to ensure an amazing mission trip experience.
Our mission teams typically consist of 10 or more volunteers. If you know 10 other people who want to serve on a mission trip, you have a team! If your church, small group, youth group, family, group of friends or business wants to form a team and serve together, we’ll help you make it happen on dates that work best for you!
The first step is for your group to decide where you will serve. Many groups decide based on passion for a certain location or a certain cause. Do you want to help vulnerable children? Do you want to help disaster victims? Do you want to serve people in Cuba, Haiti, Kenya, Mexico, Nicaragua or in the United States? Check out our mission trip opportunities and connect with one of our Team Coordinators. They would love to help you plan your trip!
If you’re an individual and not part of an existing team, no problem! We have a number of open teams designed with you in mind. Check them out in the list below! We’re committed to making sure everyone with a heart to serve has that opportunity.