What is the STA program with Journey Missions?
Journey Missions is a ministry dedicated to short term foreign missions within AFLC Missions fields, through short term mission trips and the Short Term Assistant (STA) program. A Short Term Assistant (STA) is a volunteer to the foreign field and missionary.
The STA program give opportunities for volunteers to serve in a number of capacities from preaching and teaching, children’s and youth ministry, manual labor, and anything in between. Serving as an STA is a great opportunity and the goal of Journey Missions is not for attendees to serve internationally and be done. Rather, the goal is for a long term impact. Our prayer is that people will go, serve, and return home with rejuvenated hearts to continue serving in the local congregation.
As an STA looks to serve in our mission field, we desire for them to experience these 4 keys elements:
1. Real ministry: participation in strategic kingdom changing work, not meaningless tasks
2. Discipleship: personal investment and mentoring by missionaries and national leadership
3. Hospitality: warmly welcomed and well taken care of in a wide variety of ways
4. Partnership: meaningful interactions with long-term workers, locals and the national church
How long can I serve as an STA?
Internships can range anywhere from 3-36 months. Typically, many sites have set summer internships for 3-4 months between May and August, which is the most common time frame. We can send STAs to the mission field at any time of the year as it works with their schedule and the schedule of the ministry.
Will I be alone or with a team?
That can depend on the country and the time of year you go. If you are going in the summer, chances are you will be with another other STA and may even participate with a Journey Missions short term team. You will be with the missionaries and/or national leadership even if you travel as an individual STA.
What ages usually participate?
You must be 18 or older to volunteer with the STA program. Historically Journey Missions has sent interns ranging from 18-30 primarily, but are open to working with any adult looking to follow the calling the Lord has given to them. For those who desire to be involved in the STA who are currently in their career or even retirement years, we’re excited to find a great location where they can serve and use their vocational skills.
How much does it cost?
The STA program is an unpaid volunteer program. We do have a general expected field costs per month and can adjust this for the time period in which you will be serving. This monthly amount includes housing, food, ministry expenses, and transportation on the field. It generally does not include your passport, vaccinations, and visas if applicable. However, you can include these expenses into your support raising cost.
How do I raise funds to be an STA?
We encourage our STAs to raise support from family, friends, and their local church in order to pay for their time as a volunteer. Not only is this a huge gift to you, but it gives you the chance to partner with the body of Christ, and bring others in on your ministry. If you have never raised support, don’t worry! We will provide resources and help coach you through it.
We also urge our STAs to invest in their own ministry by contributing from personal savings or working in creative ways to cover some of their internship costs.
Is there training provided before I go?
Yes, we have program of independent training and studying that you will be required to finish prior to your time serving on the mission field. The training is geared to give you a look at various topics like culture shock, the purpose of short term missions, and how to be a good partner while serving internationally.
Can I receive college credit for my internship?
Journey Missions is not an accredited educational institution and as a result we don't provide college credit. However, if you are already enrolled in a university and they require an internship or cross-cultural practicum, we are more than happy to facilitate it, provided that we meet the qualifications of your school. Our missionaries and/or national leaders can mentor you and "sign off" on any requirements necessary for the practicum credits.
Do I need to speak the language?
It is not necessary to speak the language of the country where you are going, but we do highly recommend that you try to learn some of the language before you go. And while you're serving, your new local friends appreciate when you make an effort to learn and use as much as you can!
Is it safe?
Journey Missions would not send you to one of our mission fields if we didn't think it was safe for you to go. Many of our mission fields are in smaller cities and we hear of petty crime among these areas, but if you listen to the missionaries and national leadership you should be fine. We have never had a serious safety incident with any of our mission team members or STAs.
What are the living arrangements?
The living arrangements depend on the mission field. Most fields have housing in either a dormitory, a guest house, or a small apartment. If you are on a team you will most likely be grouped with other STAs, but guys and girls will be separated.