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Short-Term Mission and Global Awareness Trips

Our Approach- About the Trips  -  Sample Itineraries  - Schedule A Trip

Our Approach

Since our founding days, FMS has been committed to proper preparation for mission. Our long-term program provides 14 weeks of full-time training before our missioners depart. Our short-term program will provide pre-departure preparation as well. Depending upon the group, we will either provide materials or guide a weekend preparation retreat. And just like our long-term program, we will offer re-entry materials and/or facilitation to help process the learning after the experience.

Like our long-term missioners, those who go on short-term trips will learn how to share their experience and the social realities of the host country with their own communities upon returning to the U.S. We believe the experience of mission gives all people the potential to transform North American societies and churches and to act as advocates for peace, justice, reconciliation and care for creation.

How is a Mission Trip Different from Travel? We are committed to “treading lightly” in our host country and to approach the people we meet with respect as listeners and learners, as opposed to seeing the negative aspects of the realities we will face and then trying to find ways to “fix” or make them better.

Our intention is to nurture an appreciation of different cultures and customs. Participants will be exposed to the economic and social realities faced by the people by engaging with different ethnic groups, local youth and teachers, fair trade and artisan cooperatives, and human rights advocates. 

Our approach and philosophy is based on the popular education model and the “Pastoral Circle” approach of “see, reflect, act.” This model asks us to be observant, to reflect and ask questions as we face puzzling and new realities, and then to consider how this new information will impact our behavior. Group learning, prayer and reflection will allow for discussion, debriefing and processing. Participants will think critically of their experiences abroad in order to better appreciate God’s work and to better discern their responsibility as Christians in building the kingdom of God on earth.

This group learning and common experience of a mission trip are an excellent way to build community. We look forward to working with parishes, secular fraternities and schools to help them build and strengthen relationships among their members while connecting with the poor abroad.

About the Trips

  • Develop social and cultural awareness/service

  • Grow in faith with a particular understanding of Franciscan charism

  • Learn about mission advocacy Strengthen your commitment to service

  • Build community within your group through a shared experience

  • Deepen your understanding of structural poverty


  • Daily prayer and guided reflection

  • Grow in faith with a particular understanding of Franciscan charism

  • Visits with local people with whom FMS has relationships

  • Glimpses into the ministries of FMS missioners in the area

  • Service opportunities

  • Cultural encounters and opportunities

Additional Support

  • Pre-trip session

  • E-reader with links to articles, books and movies

  • Re-entry materials

  • Fundraising tools

Sample Itineraries

Each trip is custom- planned. These itineraries are merely samples as specifics are scheduled based on availability as well as the interests of the group.

Bolivia - 10 days (PDF)
Blog: Learning to Be in Bolivia
Blog: Discipleship in Bolivia 

Washington, DC - 8 Days (PDF)
Blog: Alternative Spring Break with FMS: Advocating for a New Kind of Service Trip
Blog: Reflections from a Spring Breaker

Schedule A Trip

If you are interested in learning more about our Mission and Global Awareness Trips, please contact Natalie Helfrick at natalie@franciscanmissionservice.org or 202-832-1762.

Franciscan Mission Service
P.O. Box 29034
Washington, DC 20017-0034

T: 202-832-1762 | F: 202-832-1778