1. Having a fun day gives your students something to look forward to after working hard all week.
- I always ask my students to give 110% on each mission trip. I want them to go all-in every morning they wake up until that night when they fall asleep. I’ll often say, “You can rest at the end of the trip! Now, I want you to give everything you’ve got.” Students always seem more motivated and pour out more each day. Phrases like “Come back empty. Let God fill you up tonight. Go back out and lay it all out” resonate with students. (Side note: This only works if your fun day is at the end of the trip…which is my suggestion anyway.)
2. Having a fun day(s) allows your students a healthy point to disengage from the mission culture.
- Even though student culture shock doesn’t look like culture shock for full-time missionaries, students go through their own version on short term trips. Having a time at the end of the trip for them to start transitioning back to their home culture is not only healthy but prepares them to interact with others.
- Students need a time to process the past week and everything God has done in their lives. Students need to learn and practice telling their stories in 10, 5, and 1 minute times. They need to be able to sum up in one sentence the most important thing God did on the trip. Having a time at the end of the week or a “fun day” allows them to work through this outside of their newly established mission routine.
- I would argue that if students don’t have this time, then they will return not fully ready to interact with others. They’ll hog others’ time, force their stories on everyone, and judge everything their home culture does negatively. While some of this may still occur, having a “transition” time for them at the end of the trip helps them adjust.
1. Plan it towards the end of the trip.
2. Give them time to have fun, but structure the day. It might look like this:
- Wake up
- Morning Devotions
- Leave for activity
- Arrive (spend 2-3 hours having fun)
- Break for lunch (transition to a more intentional time)
- Have each person write the most important things down from their trip.
- Have each person sum up those aloud with the group
- Challenge them to pick one of those things as their MOST important and share that with the group.
- Talk about what life will look like when they return. Remind them that not everyone will want to hear their whole story and that’s why it’s important to represent the trip well.
- Break for supper
- During supper share funny memories from the trip.
- That night after everyone has showered, have everyone gather for a time of prayer. Pray for each person as they return to their family and friends. Pray that what God has done will not be forgotten.