What I'm Doing on My Summer Vacation: Teen Missions International

June 23, 2013

This week, we're interviewing Sydney and Ally Richardson, 13 and 12 respectively, who are headed to far-off lands for missions trips through Teen Missions International. They're giving up the better part of their summers off from school to do so, time that they would normally spend visiting family in Montana and North Dakota, getting visits from other out-of-state family members, hanging out with friends, and being in the outdoors.

What are you doing? Where will you be, and for how long?

Ally (left) and Sydney (right) Richardson
Sydney: "I will be in Malawi, Africa, for four weeks traveling to AIDS Orphans Rescue Units and villages where I will work with other missionaries as I distribute eyeglasses to those who need them. We will be sharing the Gospel to people who otherwise would not have listened. I will also have the opportunity to share the love of Christ to people who come in need of basic first aid. And every now and then we will have opportunities to go and evangelize through puppets, songs, and drama. Before Malawi I will be in Florida for 2 1/2 weeks of intense training, and afterwards, coming back, I will spend less than a week back in Florida to avoid culture shock and to learn how to go home and be able to share what I did (with) others."

Ally: "I will be in the Dominican Republic for three weeks at the CEF camp where I will be painting, pouring sidewalks, and landscaping. I will also be sharing the gospel and encouraging the children that go to the camp. I will also be evangelizing to them. Before the trip I will also be in Florida in order to get ready to go; I will be there for a little over a week. I will go back to Florida afterwards for 4 days to debrief."  


Is this your first trip? If not, tell us about the other ones you’ve participated in.

A picture from Sydney's last trip
Sydney: "I went on a trip when I was 11. I went to South Africa on an evangelistic team. We had a special printer and ink to print scripture on bread. We handed it out and it was edible so after they read it they could eat it. We evangelized to children that came to our sites."

Ally: "I stayed in Florida for 10 days when I was 10 and made cookies and brought them to local military bases in Florida.

How did your involvement in this organization come about? 

"Our parents have both been on trips through this organization; our mom has gone three times and our dad once."

Why is this trip important to you?

Sydney: "I feel this is important to me because I want to help people that aren't as fortunate as us. They don't get most of the stuff we take for granted everyday. It will help me see the realities of the world for them and help me to be more grateful for everything I have."

Ally: "This is important to me because I want to grow spiritually and learn more about God. I also think it will be a great experience."

What are you most looking forward to? What, if anything, are you most nervous about?

Bread printed with edible ink
Sydney: "I am looking most forward to helping open all the eyes of people who have lived a blurry life. I think helping them see physically will help to have more of an open mind and heart about God. What I am the most nervous about is just getting through the training in Florida. The training we have to go through isn't an easy thing. It's one of the hardest things mentally and physically I have done, but while we are there is a big part of the spiritual growth and where the team members get really close, like family."

Ally: "I am most looking forward actually leaving to the Dominican Republic and helping the people there. I am most nervous about leaving Minnesota to Florida.

What can we (as readers) do to help? 

"We both have all of our funding covered but if we could get prayers for while we are over there that would be terrific."

If you'd like more information about trips like Sydney and Ally's, you can check out Teen Missions International's website. The organization has been around since 1971, and has sent more than 40,000 youth on missions trips in more than 110 countries around the world. That's amazing! I love how Sydney and Ally's desire to go on missions trips was fueled in part by their parents' experiences - hopefully my kids will one day be able to say that their attitude of giving to others is something they learned from their parents, too. :)


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