Here are some common questions we’ve encountered in the past. Feel free to contact us with any other questions you may have!
WHY SHORT-TERM TRIPS?
Short-term trips provide a hands-on opportunity to help those who are in extreme need through a variety of means. When done properly, these trips have a lasting impact on individuals as well as communities. In addition, volunteer teams often gain a new perspective as well as a strong sense of purpose and accomplishment through the experience. Service projects take on profound meaning as our trip leaders highlight a series of biblical life application principles which greatly improve perspective and strengthen the participant’s commitment to their personal goals and life purpose.
Benefits for field partners and the less fortunate
- For all those who follow Christ, we have a biblical mandate to go to all nations and make disciples. We also have clear instructions to assist the poor, the widowed and the orphaned. Therefore, participation in short-term trips is in alignment with our calling.
- There are urgent physical and spiritual needs around the world. Through our field partners, volunteers are able to make a real difference in the lives of those who are materially, socially and sometimes physically less fortunate. We do this in obedience to the biblical command to love our neighbors.
- There are urgent physical and spiritual needs here at home. Short-term service in a different context provides deeper insight and motivation for assisting the less fortunate in our own communities.
- Participants not only have the opportunity to sharpen and invest in others on the team, but also to support and encourage our field partners. Lasting relationships are often developed, providing ongoing accountability and inspiration.
Benefits for participants
- Reel Life trips provide an excellent opportunity for spiritual growth and personal development.
- Volunteers are able to spend time focusing outwardly rather than inwardly. In doing so, meaningful life perspectives are gained.
- Trips provide an opportunity for participants to “sharpen the saw.” Several days away from the busyness and distractions of everyday life allows for a time of renewal and an opportunity to examine the direction and course of our lives.
- The lives of volunteers are enriched, enabling us to live more intentionally and effectively upon returning home.
Ultimately, our time away is an investment in the kingdom as well as an investment in ourselves.
WHAT WILL WE BE DOING?
Our time is spent serving alongside our field partners and the local church in ministry and humanitarian projects to benefit orphans and impoverished families. The itinerary and specific projects are determined by the needs and desires of our local field partner, so we will not always know the type of projects we will be asked to do until close to departure. In addition, our host often determines our projects based on the skill set of the team. Typical projects include joining locals in construction projects, facilitating medical clinics, sports ministry, VBS for children, water filtration, etc. The team also spends time each day sharing and studying our “Exploring the Point” devotional series. Trip leaders highlight a series of biblical life application principles which greatly improve perspective and strengthen the participant’s commitment to their personal goals and life purpose. The final day of the trip is typically reserved for some form of local recreation, helping the team debrief while deepening relationships.
WHO ARE THE FIELD PARTNERS?
Our trip leaders coordinate with local field partners who are evangelical Christian individuals and organizations operating in our target area. These partners are involved in highly successful, long-term projects to create sustainable assistance for orphans and impoverished families. These individuals are also familiar with hosting visitors and work closely with our leaders to ensure the safety and comfort of each participant.
CAN I BRING THE KIDS?
Our trips are family-oriented, suitable for men, women and mature children. Accommodations are typically comfortable and participants are able to work at their own pace. Families with children are not only welcomed on most of our trips, but encouraged to join us. It is recommended that children be at least 10 years of age, depending on the location, and have the maturity necessary to contribute to the team’s selected projects.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE TRIP COST?
The all-inclusive cost generally runs around $1,000 plus flight, and includes all materials, food, lodging and ground transportation. Participants will need to bring extra money for souvenirs and possible recreation. Exact cost will vary depending on destination, length of stay, number of travelers, etc.
HOW DO I MAKE A PAYMENT TOWARDS MY TRIP?
You can pay by credit card or PayPal online on our DONATIONS page; Simply note which trip you are joining on the Paypal payment page. You also can send checks made out to Reel Life International to PO Box 661105, Birmingham, AL 35266. If you need to pay in any other way, such as by cash, please contact us to make arrangements.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I PAY MY DEPOSIT AND END UP NOT BEING ABLE TO GO?
Funds donated towards a cancelled trip may be carried over for a different trip anytime within the following year if the participant is unable to go due to one of the following reasons: Unexpected injury, sickness, or personal or family emergency situation.
CAN I RAISE MONEY FOR A TRIP?
Absolutely! We have materials available ready to assist you, as fundraisers are encouraged to help with the cost of travel. Trip expenses are tax-deductible (other than general purchases, souvenirs, and recreational activities). Please consult your tax advisor for details.
ARE SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE?
Yes, we have a scholarship program available to provide assistance in covering travel costs. Please contact us for details.
HOW IS THE TRAVEL ARRANGED?
RLI will coordinate travel, accommodations, and all activities, providing each traveler with a detailed itinerary and information packet prior to travel. This information will include estimated cost, packing list, and contact information. Trips are typically scheduled 3-6 months out, so there is plenty of time to plan and prepare for an incredible adventure!
DO I NEED A PASSPORT AND/OR VISA?
All international trips require travelers to have a passport, while only some of our destinations also require a VISA. RLI will let you know what is required in plenty of time to assist you in preparing for travel.
DO I NEED CERTAIN SHOTS?
We ask that all participants have an up to date tetanus shot. Other shots or vaccinations depend on the destination and time of year. We will let you know if shots are recommended, but it is always best to consult your personal physician. For more information, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/.
WHAT TYPE OF LODGING SHOULD I EXPECT?
We will be staying in modest but comfortable housing, similar to what you often find at “summer camps” or inexpensive hotels. The rooms typically have air conditioning and hot water. We could easily stay at a local resort, but the experience is much more meaningful when we are able to sacrifice some of our luxuries during our stay.
WHAT ABOUT MEALS?
The food that will be served is freshly prepared and should be safe for consumption. Plenty of purified water will also be available, as you should avoid drinking any other water, including ice which may not be made from purified sources.
WHAT ABOUT SAFETY?
There is a certain degree of risk which is inherent with international travel, and this risk is elevated when travelling to third world countries. While we cannot guarantee the safety and security of our participants, we have a great deal of trust in our field partners and their knowledge of the local community. We take the safety of our teams very seriously and work together with our field partners to make sure that reasonable precautions are taken to ensure the safety of our teams.
DO YOU PROVIDE HEALTH INSURANCE?
Yes. We provide supplemental health/emergency insurance for each person. In addition, each person is required to have their own medical coverage. Please check with your insurance company about overseas coverage if you are unsure. Please make sure we have your insurance information and a copy of your insurance card.
CAN WE ADD OTHER TRIPS TO OUR SCHEDULE?
Absolutely! If you have a team or would like to recruit a group to travel with us, please let us know. Depending on host availability, you are able to choose your own dates and location.
HOW CAN I STAY UPDATED ABOUT FUTURE TRIPS?
Stay updated by signing up for our newsletter, as we regularly send our trip invitations and updates to our email database.