Launch of the 2020 BCS Mission Experience Season ~ Coming Soon!

 

BCS is privileged and gratified to offer its students “Mission Experience” opportunities. These “Formational Learning Experiences” represent ongoing relationships between BCS and local ministries around the world. BCS high school students fourteen years and older are invited to take part in these experiences that have the power to truly transform – for those that go, and those we encounter.

 

The 2020 Mission Experiences will be formally announced to the BCS Community in December. At that time, applications will be made available to students. Families are encouraged to begin prayerful discussion NOW about student participation in one of these trips, noting that accepted team members are required to attend twelve preparation meetings, most of which occur in the context of the school day. Planned offering include:

 

 

Country Tentative Dates Approx. Cost Ministry Partner
France June 22 – July 3 $3,500

In Motion Ministries

https://www.inmotionministries.org/

Thailand Dates TBD
June 30 – July 14
July 3 – July 17
$3,000-$3,200 https://newhorizonsfoundation.com/operating-projects/1272
Costa Rica July 21 – Aug. 3 $2,800

Students International

https://stint.com/

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Considering a 2020 BCS Mission Experience?  Here’s a look at answers to questions that are frequently asked about these opportunities.  Preparing a team for a mission experience, whether abroad or locally, includes countless details and a great deal of “behind the scenes” work.  Once our BCS Mission Experience teams are identified, members and their guardians receive needed information and preparation by means of meetings, email communications and the BCS Mission Experience Handbook.  BCS is experienced and intentional in preparing our mission team members and their guardians well for these exciting adventures!  We encourage our students to greatly consider participating in these experiences that enrich!

High school students 14 years of age and older that attend BCS may apply.  Typically, only students and leaders comprise these teams.  The possibility of an adult family member of a student joining a BCS Mission Experience team is considered on a case by case basis.  Interested family members should contact Service Learning Coordinator, Shelli Brasted, at sbrasted@bellevuechristian.org.

Qualified and screened adults serve as the leaders of these experiences. Most frequently leaders are BCS faculty members.  Chaperones work closely with Shelli Brasted in preparation for these trips.

It takes a great deal of sacrifice and investment to prepare adequately and humbly for a Mission Experience.  For starters, it’s imperative that students and parents understand that attendance to every meeting and retreat is mandatory, and an excused absence from one would entail an illness, or a significant family event such as a wedding or funeral.  In the event of a missed meeting, team members are expected to complete work that covers material and conversation that occurred. In addition to attending meetings, team members must submit forms and documents when asked, acquire a passport if needed, fundraise as needed, make payments to BCS, gather needed items, receive vaccinations as needed and more.  Most importantly, team members must be committed to preparing mentally and spiritually.

Teams stay at hotels, guesthouses, or with screened host families.  Whatever the case, housing arrangements are made ONLY after thorough investigation of safety questions and concerns.

Safe food that is frequently different from what students are used to eating.  Most students report loving the ethnic foods they eat on these trips.  Bottled water is purchased and drank exclusively if clean drinking water from the tap is a concern.  Team members are encouraged to pack small snacks to enhance their diet and energy, but are expected to eat the local food that is made available.

Safety cannot be guaranteed in any instance of mission engagement, whether traveling 5 miles away or 2,500, and thus, there are risks associated with these mission experiences.  But, these opportunities are considered to be safe, and have been reviewed and assessed for risk by BCS faculty and administration.

For every destination, care is accessible and available.  Each destination has a high-quality hospital in the country.

Because it is such a vital part of living out the goals of the mission experience, communication with friends and family is intentionally limited for student team members.  More on this subject is outlined in meetings for students and parents.  Leaders traveling abroad will have cell phone plans that work effectively in-country.  All leaders will send email updates to parents during the experience and students may get occasional opportunities to contact their parents as well.  In the event of an emergency, parents will be contacted right away.

BCS has specific learning objectives related to the mission experiences that are shared with team members and their guardians.  These learning goals are used at team meetings and during the experience. Team meetings include teachings related to these goals, as well as time to get to know team members and hear about what to expect, how to prepare, and a picture of what the team will be doing.  With that said, these experiences are meant to be far less about “doing” – such as building this or painting that – and much more about “being” – being in relationship with the people you encounter and allowing God to reveal the best way to honor them, learn from them, serve them, and share God’s love. And of course, the key objective of this trip is that team members would grow closer to and glorify God.

While BCS certainly provides team members a general overview of daily agendas, the reality is that these experiences rarely include days with fully predictable schedules.  In fact, team members are trained to understand that flexibility and a willingness to accept the unexpected will serve them as individuals and be useful to fellow team members.  Here’s a picture of what a “typical” BCS Mission Experience day may include:  visiting with people in a village, playing with kids, working at a ministry site, learning about the people from local pastors, working alongside locals on a needed work project, visiting a local temple or church, spending time in prayer and reflection, etc.

The amounts indicated on the application are only an estimate, but still a good indication of each mission experience’s cost.  This listed amount includes airfare, lodging, food, transportation, a service project fund, and costs for guides and leaders.  The listed amount does not reflect costs associated with passports, immunizations, personal spending money, etc. Once tickets are purchased, hotels booked, and transportation arrangements finalized, families will be informed if the posted cost of the mission experience has changed.

Typically team members take between $100 and $150 in spending money when traveling internationally.  Personal spending money is usually spent on things like souvenirs, food and drink treats beyond meals, airport magazines, given as donations to those we serve, etc.  The amount a student decides to bring for spending money is part of the learning process of a BCS Mission Experience.  A student could bring $500 and thus have a limitless budget for fabulous souvenirs, delicious daily coffees, etc.  But is this amount of money wise to travel with if not truly needed?  And is or should there be any internal struggle in spending such an amount, in the midst of poverty-stricken surroundings?  If so, is that struggle outweighed by the benefit of supporting the local economy?  These are just some of the challenging and interesting questions explored by team members and leaders of BCS Mission Experience teams.

The deadline for donations/contributions for a Mission Experience, in full, regardless of destination, is in early June. All are tax-deductible.  Fundraising support is provided by BCS for team members, including a profitable and simple fundraiser that is exclusive to BCS mission teams.

In the case of the Costa Rica team, travel insurance is purchased on team members’ behalf.  BCS does not purchase travel insurance for team members for the other Mission Experiences. Instead, BCS encourages families to purchase a travel insurance policy by investigating options and making a personal decision as to what policy they wish to purchase.

Flights are usually booked early to mid-March.  Trip itineraries will be sent to team members and their guardians once confirmed.

A thorough list is given to team members in plenty of time to prepare.  Regardless of destination, team members must think along the lines of “less is more” and will only be permitted to bring a large backpack and a regular size backpack as “luggage”. Team members must be prepared to be respectful of and responsive to requests to leave certain items behind and wear clothes that are in keeping with outlined dress codes.