Short-Term Trips

We desire that every person at The Austin Stone go on a short-term trip at least once. If you have never done this, it may be the year for you! Short-term trips play a significant role in our spiritual formation, and are strategic for long-term kingdom impact. On these trips, we serve alongside long-term workers who are making disciples and planting churches. Trips are generally seven to ten days in the winter and summer months to regions like Europe, the Caribbean, the Middle East, South Asia, and more.

If you have any questions, please email Robin Ten Eyck.

Lead a Trip

Go on a Trip

FAQ

Trip Information

When are the trips? 

The majority of trips are scheduled during the winter break, spring break, and summer break seasons to take advantage of school vacation periods.

How long are the trips? 

The majority of the group trips are from 8 days up to 2 weeks.  The majority of trips are scheduled to leave on a Friday and return the following Saturday or Sunday so people are missing 5 or 6 total days of work. 

Who can go on the trips? 

You do not have to be a partner or regular attender at the Austin Stone, but we may give preference to partners.

How many people can go one a trip?

Most teams at the Austin Stone vary from 8 to 16 people. 

Who leads these trips? 

Teams are led by partners at the Austin Stone who have displayed leadership skills.  Each of these leaders have been approved and trained by the For the Nations staff. 

How can I lead a short term trip with the Austin Stone? 

Email us to discuss the process for potential team leaders.

Application Process

When will I hear if my application is accepted? 

In most cases, the applications will be reviewed and processed within a week of the application being submitted. You will be notified by email if you have or have not been accepted for a particular trip. 

How do I sign up?

We require everyone who is interested in going on a short-term trip to fill out an application. This allows us to set you set up in our short-term trips process as well as capture necessary information. It’s important to note that applying to a trip does not commit you to going. 

  • Applications can be found at forthenations.org/trips. 

When am I officially committed for a trip?

If you are accepted, we will send you an email invitation to join a trip. You will need to follow the instructions on that email in order to join the trip. This includes signing relevant team member agreement documents and paying a personal deposit of $100.

You have not joined a trip until we send you the invitation and you respond on Focus Missions where you fill out your commitment requirements and pay the deposit.

Trainings

What do trainings look like?

The short-term trips coordinator will lead all the central trainings: prayer, support raising, and evangelism and the trip leader will lead the trainings specific to the team. (Guides will be provided.) These trainings walk through several topics, including God’s heart for and call to the nations, how our church has responded to God’s call with short-term trips and long-term support, and trip logistics.

  • Prayer
  • Support Raising
  • Team Building
  • Evangelism
  • Ministry Support
  • FISHing
  • Trip Logistics

What if I can’t make it to the training meetings or the trip timeline doesn’t work for me? 

Attendance at training is necessary for the equipping and bonding of a team.  If the trainings or trip dates conflict with your schedule, email the short-term trips coordinator to discuss the options and it’s a possibility, you should consider joining a team at a later date. 

What is involved in the prayer training?

We want prayer to be the foundation of everything that happens on short-term trips. This is why we begin the short-term trips process with a training that walks through what scripture has to say about prayer as well as some practical tools to engage in prayer as individuals and as a team. 

  • Prayer training will be scheduled for roughly 4 months out from your trip. 

What is involved in the support raising training?

In this training, we will train you on why we engage in support raising, how to raise support, and how to support each other throughout the support-raising process. We encourage you even if you have the financial means to pay for this trip to enter into support raising as it brings opportunity for those who aren’t going to be a part of what God is doing as well as getting to see God’s provision and faithfulness.

  • Support raising training will be scheduled for roughly 3 months out from your trip. 

What is involved in the team building training?

This training date, time, and location will be set and communicated by the trip leader. This training will be a time for the team to get to know each other, spend time reading God’s Word together, praying for the trip, and going through some trip expectations. 

  • Team building training will be scheduled for roughly 2 months out from your trip. 

What is involved in the evangelism training?

The purpose of this training is to offer a guide for equipping participants to do the work of the Great Commission, that is, declaring the gospel. The goal is to help every believer grow in their confidence and competence to make disciples both here in Austin and overseas. 

This training is not exhaustive. We are continually learning. We listen to God through prayer, move as He directs, and set an example for other believers. As the Holy Spirit teaches us from the Word of God, we continue to seek His wisdom, asking, “What did Jesus do? What did He tell His disciples to do? What did they do?” 

Jesus is our Lord and Strategist. The Bible is His plan for telling the world who He is and what He has done. 

  • Evangelism training will be scheduled for roughly 1 months out from your trip. 

What is the trip logistics training? 

This training date, time, and location will be set and communicated by the trip leader. This will be a time for the team to go over important trip logistics.

  • Trip logistics training will be scheduled for roughly 2 weeks out from your trip.
Travel Logistics

How are flights booked?

  • In order to get the best rates possible, we book your flights after the first training. We will send out communication beforehand with the information needed to purchase the tickets and the date that tickets will be purchased. 
  • We will buy your ticket individually, which means the ticket will be in your name.
  • If you decide to drop from this trip after tickets are purchased, you will be responsible for the non-refundable costs associated with dropping the flight minus whatever funds you have already raised. ex: If the non-refundable cost for your flight is $1000, and you have raised $500 so far then you will be responsible for paying the remaining $500 of the flight.

We have a frequent flyer program. Can we use those miles to cover my or my child’s ticket?

Unfortunately, no. Team tickets are reserved and purchased through a partner travel agency in order to receive the most discounted rate.

How are visas handled for international trips?

Only a few of our trips require teams to get visas. In those cases, the participant will receive specific visa instructions during training. All visa costs are covered by raised support funds. 

What are the passport requirements for international trips?

If you do have a passport, check to make sure it does not expire  within 6 months of the RETURN date of the trip and the passport must have at least 2 blank pages available for a visa and/or stamp. 

If you do not have a passport, the process can take 10-12 weeks so it is a good idea to get one as soon as you’re accepted on a trip. If you are applying within 3 months of your trip date, we strongly recommend that you rush your passport to ensure that you receive it in time.

Visit the U.S. Department of State site for more information.

Trip Preparations

Where will we be staying?

Accommodations all depend on the trip. Most teams stay in hostels or hotels near the long-term team or ministry. You will get more details during your team trainings. Email the short-term trips coordinator with any questions. 

What if I have food allergies?

It is difficult to ensure diet-specific foods internationally. Please reach out to the short-term trips coordinator with questions. 

Will there be time for shopping or leisure excursions while on the trip?

Vacation or leisure activites are never guaranteed ona trip. Participants should not expect to split their short-term trip between service and vacation, as this expectation has proven quite distracting in the past. Moreover, in order to preserve our non-profit status, no short-term trip funds may be used for non-ministry related activities. Therefore, participants are welcomed to bring personal funds in the event that their team has any time for non-ministry activity. 

What immunizations should I get?

Only a few countries that we visit have required vaccinations, but it is a good idea to make sure you keep current with your basics.  Visit http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/contentVaccinations.aspx for information regarding travel vaccinations. If you need a travel clinic, see the list below for a few options here in Austin. 

  • Austin Diagnostic Clinic North (512) 901-1111
  • Austin Diagnostic Clinic South (512) 334-2400
  • Austin Regional Clinic (512) 346-6611
  • Austin Travel Medicine (512) 459-0672
  • ProMed (512) 336-2727
  • Travel Clinic (512) 346-6611
Finances

How do I pay? 

Each trip participant has the opportunity to personally contribute and raise his or her own financial support in order to go on a short-term trip. While this task may seem difficult, it is a unique opportunity to see God provide in ways that will strengthen the faith of those going on the trip. Each person will be equipped and trained in how to raise support. This is typically done through writing letters and asking people to contribute toward the trip. 

Are there scholarships available? 

We have found that trip participants that send out support letters in a timely manner usually are able to raise the full amount of the support necessary to participate in a short-term trip.  If a trip participant is in need of extra support, they can email the short-term trips coordinator. We review these requests on a case-by-case basis. 

What happens if I raise more money than required? 

Due to IRS regulations, all donations belong to the church, not to an individual trip participant or a team and are non-refundable. We generally allocate any extra trip participant funds to supplement other teammates that might be in need and the need will be determined by the For the Nations team. Any extra funds would then be used for other ministry efforts in the area. You may download our Short-Term Financial Agreement to read these specific policies in more detail. 

What happens to my money if I can’t go? 

If any trip participant must cancel prior to the date of the trip, he or she will be financially responsible for any amount of funds that have been spent on his or her behalf in the arrangement of the trip.  

What does the money I raise cover?

Everything that is needed for a short-term trip is covered by the funds that are raised. Costs include travel requirements (airline tickets, health insurance, visas, etc.) training materials, costs for while on the trip (lodging, food, transportation, etc.), and anything else needed.

Safety

Is it safe? 

We have taken every precaution possible to mitigate unnecessary risks involved with our short-term trips.  We continually monitor the personal, social, political, and environmental factors that might heighten the security issues of our teams and consider the security of our teams very important. However, we cannot guarantee complete safety because Jesus Christ has not promised us safety during our time on this Earth. 

What if there is an emergency? 

Trip participants and family are provided with contact information in the event of an emergency either here in the U.S. or abroad. We also have contingency plans for each location should the need arise. 

What if something happens to me while on a trip?

We purchase supplemental health insurance for all of the trip participants that travel on our international trips. If something were to happen while out of the country, you would be covered under this policy. MissionSafe supplies our health insurance so if you have further questions, check out their website (https://www.missionsafe.com/) or email the short-term trips coordinator.