At the beginning of this December we asked our friends and travelers to tell us how they were giving back this Christmas season, and we also included the offer to nominate an organization or ministry that means something to you. At Joshua Expeditions, our “Christmas Present” this year is to donate $1000 to one of those organizations.
At the heart of what Joshua Expeditions does throughout the world is the idea of spreading biblical JOY. Oftentimes when we think about the world at large, especially in light of darker world events that seem to have a monopoly on our news and media coverage, we think that the world is hopeless, lost, and distraught. What we have found though, is that regardless of where our student groups travel, where Jesus is, Joy is found. These are the experiences that we pray for with our trips, and the cultural understanding that we hope our student travelers return home with. We believe that God is good, that Jesus came to give us life abundant, and we are proud to be able to partner with ministries around the world who are spreading the Joy of Christ in practical ways.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
That verse from Romans 15:13 is our prayer for every interaction we have on our trips. From Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Belize, to Romania, Italy, France, and Spain, and even our ministries here at home in rural Appalachia, LA, and New York; we are confident that God can use the simple gestures of joy and hope to allow the Holy Spirit to work in people’s lives.
We hope you’ll join us in prayer during this season of preparation as we work towards another big travel season in the spring. As we work out airline contracts, schedules, meals, and vendor details join us in praying for opportunities to spread Biblical Joy.
Visiting Our European Missionaries and Vendors
Recently our European Coordinator, Jon Dooley, and our former European Coordinator now Senior Class Trips Specialist, Mario Mammina, headed across the Atlantic to begin preparations and networking for the upcoming travel season. An important part of what Joshua Expeditions offers is our extensive network of vendors, ministries, and local guides, and even though Jon and Mario are in contact with our European friends all year long, it’s nice to be able to talk in person a few times a year.
So, today we’ll hear from Jon and Mario about this trip, who they were talking to, what kinds of things they are looking forward to this season, and where their personal favorite destinations are.
Ministry Opportunities in Homestead, Florida
Joshua Expeditions has been taking short-term mission trips to Homestead, Florida for many years. The warm weather, the clear water, and the missions opportunities make it a great trip for any occasion. We are particularly fond of the children that we have the opportunity to serve every year in the Children’s Centers in the area. Homestead is at the northern beginning to the famed U.S. Route 1 that takes sun-hungry travelers all the way to the Florida Keys. The weather here is warm almost year-round, and the scenery is beautiful. Because of the warm weather, and perfect growing conditions, Homestead is surrounded by agriculture. The children that we serve in Homestead are the children of migrant farm workers who spend their afternoons in these balmy fields.
At the Children’s Centers, JE groups have the opportunity to share God’s love through games, crafts, and music. The children eagerly look forward to JE groups arriving, and are always sad to see them go. One of the best parts about returning to the same Center’s year after year is that we have the opportunity to see these children grow up, and express their love for Christ.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Serving children is always a reminder of the character of a God who said that “the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these”. Their joy, enthusiasm, and inexplicable trust is overwhelming. Every year we learn something new from these kids, and return home with our faith strengthened.
If you are looking for a meaningful student mission trip close to home this year, check out our South Florida Mission Trip. You won’t regret it.
p.s. we can also add some fun activities like snorkeling, or this crazy airboat ride that takes off through the alligator infested everglades!
Where do you stand?
Everyone has a favorite “Big City” in the U.S. Sure, there are other big cities worth considering like Chicago, Miami, and of course we are quite partial to Dallas, but really it always comes down to New York and Los Angeles. West Coast versus the East Coast. Two completely unique cities in two completely unique places.
We like hearing from our travelers about the destinations and places that interest them. So, let your voice be heard! Would you rather take a student group to Los Angeles or to New York City? Let us know by clicking on the Facebook post below, and leaving a comment with your pick.
First things first. There were many beautiful submissions to the 2014 JE Photo Contest, and it was truly hard for us to decide on our favorite photos. This year we had more entries than any year before, and it was our privilege to see all of the amazing photos that were submitted from JE Tours around the world. We had photos from Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Florida, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Belize, Romania, England, France, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and more! Great job to all of the student photographers out there, and thank you for submitting!
What we look for in a great JE photo is hard to describe. Going on a Joshua Expeditions tour is a unique experience. Having the opportunity to travel, see new cultures, experience history and education, and serve on mission trips is a hard thing to try and capture in one photo. The three photos that we have awarded with Grand Prizes this year are photos that we feel tell a story. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then these photos are telling captivating stories with those words. Congratulations to student photographers Leigh, David, and Mele on capturing unique moments from their trips. Here they are.
2014 JE Photo Contest – Grand Prize Winners
3rd place photo was taken by Mele G. on her Haiti Mission trip.
2nd place photo was taken by David C. on his Washington, D.C. trip
1st place photo was taken by Leigh M. on her Ecuador Mission Trip.
We know that you have a lot on your mind. Starting a new school year can be really exciting and fun, but we also know it can be extremely hectic. So, when you decide to lead a student trip on top of all your other duties, we know that it might start to stress you out a little bit.
We are here to help. If the idea of taking your students outside the classroom (wayyy outside the classroom…) makes you nervous, you aren’t alone. Hundreds of teachers and administrators take advantage of the benefits JE offers every year, and one of the main responses we hear from teachers is that using JE gave them the opportunity to actually enjoy their trip, rather than stressing out the whole time.
So, if you are ready to take the first step towards planning an amazing student trip this year, AND you actually want to have a good time doing it, here is our guide to getting started the right way.
Part 1 of our look at the Celtic Lands tour showed the group as they traveled through London, and up to the Lake District of North West England. While that part of the tour is beautiful, the second half of the tour is arguably even more beautiful and historic. Days 6 – 10 take the group through Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, Newgrange, and Dublin.
Around the JE office there are two main things that inspire us. Those two things are:
- The Lord
We have weekly devotionals to keep us focused and reminds us as to why we do what we do, but sometimes the weeks wear on, and we need to be reminded again. This Pinterest Board is a go to place of inspiration for us. The scriptures, and the travel quotes reinforce what we believe in around here. Student Travel can be a means to change the world.