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Mission trips are the best! Unless they end up being the worst. We have made more than our fair share of mistakes over the years. Here’s a little list of fantastic mission trip mistakes you need to avoid…that we didn’t:

• Drinking the water. Never drink the water.

• Getting to the ticket counter about to leave for a trip to Africa and having a student whose passport was about to expire so the ticket lady wouldn’t let him on the plan. He joined us 24 hours later after literally walking his passport renewal through the renewal office.

• My (Josh) wife accidentally knocked a sink off the wall while shaving her leg. Cut herself so deeply she needed stitches.

• Did I (Josh) mention my wife was a nurse and stitched it up herself?

• When the host Pastor says, “You MIGHT preach tomorrow”, actually believing it is only a possibility! “might preach” means “will preach”.

• Leaving a student behind at a truck stop.

• Allowing a student who I (Josh) knew shouldn’t be on the trip on the trip. And had to send them home early. Saw it coming, but didn’t have the guts to disciple/coach him beforehand.

• Offering to split the money with everyone who shows up to the fundraiser. Next time, say, “to everyone who shows up AND WORKS at the fundraiser.”

• The water. Seriously, don’t.

• Wait, we’re out of money already? It is day 2!

• Driving the church bus (Kurt) down a highly crowded one way street in Tijuana, Mexico.

• Getting pulled over by local police for driving the church bus down a highly crowded one way street in Tijuana, Mexico

• Handing out a schedule of activities to the students. This only causes mass confusion when (not if) the schedule changes!

What’s the worst mistake you’ve made on a mission trip?

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

8 COMMENTS

  • Damon says:

    Practicing a puppet show for weeks…then realizing the puppets were left at the church just as kids are gathering for the first show.

    Not enough sunscreen…and zero aloe vera.

    Looking at the gas guage of a van you’ve never driven before and believing you can wait to stop at least one more exit…

  • Scott Uhlinger says:

    Let everyone know, on live radio, about the trip . . .the pastor and elders found out about the trip that night, on live radio also. Let’s just say the trip didn’t happen. Back off . . . . I was a rookie!

  • Josh Griffin says:

    @Damon those are painful! Hahahah

  • Josh Griffin says:

    @Scott No way! I did something similar once, too. SO PAINFUL! Hahah

  • Aaron says:

    Taking the church vans from eastern Pa to Texas. Broke down in the middle of nowhere Tennessee on a Saturday when no shops were opened. A man stopped offering help and took us down some one lane, horror-movie like roads, to his “backwoods” shop. He offered to fix our van in exchange for the use of our group to pick his bean fields. Our choices were limited! Let’s just say we got home only a few hours later than expected and some farmer had his fields picked days sooner than expected.

  • Josh says:

    @Aaron … no way! That’s incredible … glad the story had a happy ending! Hahahah

  • Jeff says:

    I have left an adult leader at a gas station in the middle of nowhere. Good thing she grabbed her cell phone before getting off the bus. We only made it two miles down the road before she was on the phone yelling at me.

  • Josh Griffin says:

    @jeff hahahah love it …. thank God for cell phones!

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