Youth Worker Testimonials

Here’s what youth workers have said about their Youth Cartel Missions experience:

It was great to both experience a custom trip for my group as well as connect with other youth workers and to see them interact with their groups; and to do so during an international mission trip created the a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Serving alongside these other groups during the day and worshipping together at night…NO ONE wanted to go home even after an exhausting week. It truly was an amazing experience!

Dave Hubbard, Moorpark Presbyterian Church, Moorpark CA

This was an amazing trip! My students had the opportunity to connect with students from all across the U.S. The worship was moving for everyone. My students are in withdrawal, wanting to return immediately to be with the children in the schools and people in the infirmary. They were so touched and received so much joy from this ministry. One of my older (73 yrs old) chaperones has been on many mission trips throughout his life, and ranked this one the TOP mission trip he has ever been on. He was touched by the work AND the worship. All of us were!

Kathy Jackson, Lane Memorial UMC, Altavista VA

This trip was beyond impactful for me and the students I get to serve. Our lives are changed for the better because of this experience! Honestly, it was the best youth missions trip I have ever been on. If you are on the fence about a Youth Cartel Missions trip, please call me at (818) 802-0891 so that I can personally change your mind.

Joel Dunn, Malibu Presbyterian Church, Malibu CA

Everyone on my team made significant breakthroughs in their faith during this trip. I was so impressed with all aspects of this trip, from the coordination of our mission work to the worship and even the food was fantastic. All of my expectations as a leader were surpassed by the combination of the Youth Cartel and Praying Pelican Missions. This trip was a major blessing to all of us and we would absolutely recommend it to other groups.

Joanna Capps, Grace UMC, Greensboro NC

What role will PPM play, and what role will The Youth Cartel play?

Praying Pelican will handle all logistics, in partnership with you and your specific interests. They’ll arrange transportation, accommodation and meals, worksites and relationships, and schedule. One of their staff will work with you prior to the trip to customize your experience to your desires (experience, interests, etc.), and one of their local staff will be with you during the day while your group does whatever your group is going to do!

The Cartel plays a supporting role. Our staff person on the trip (Marko or Adam) will be a resource to you. And, the Cartel will take leadership of the evening large group gathering, including bringing some excellent challenge and encouragement to everyone at that week’s trip.

Why should I consider one of these trips rather than all the other short-term missions options?

Certainly, there are plenty of other great options out there (and some less-than-great options also). Do your homework and ask pointed questions. We genuinely believe that these trips are serious cut above most of what you could find elsewhere. But, hey: if you’d prefer an experience that’s more like tourism, or more like summer camp, or if you’re convinced that God isn’t actively at work in other cultures and it’s your job to “bring God”…well then, these trips might not be a good fit for your group. 

Transportation on International Trips

Transportation in country is covered for all international trips. Typically, teams arrive, clear customs, and you’ll meet your trip leaders just outside of customs at the airport. All other ground transportation is taken care of for you. Just get to the airport and you’re good to go!

For trips in Northern Mexico and Tijuana: If you are arriving by air we will arrange to pick you up at the San Diego or Tijuana airports… pick whichever one is more convenient for you.

If you are driving we can arrange for you to leave your vehicles somewhere secure on the U.S. side. While not iron-clad, we’d much prefer to hire local drivers for transportation whenever possible rather than run the risk of you getting lost, in an accident, or deal with several hours crossing the border. We’ll provide instructions for when, where, and what to do while crossing the border. Having you walk across the border is very easy and will save you tons of time!

What is the $500 group registration fee?

The group registration fee is not a deposit. It’s a one-time fee to lock in your group and cover basic expenses of getting your group set up. We chose to go this route rather than a higher per-person rate and a deposit. This registration fee covers your group no matter what size it is (even if you don’t know what size your group will be when you register).

What does the per person fee cover (and not cover)?

The per person fee is all-inclusive, including ministry money, once you arrive. For all the international trips, this means all costs are covered once you land in the country you’re traveling to.

What’s not covered: Airfare to the country you’re visiting (international trips) or transportation to Chicago (domestic trip). Oh, and souvenir money (which in most cases, shouldn’t be more than about $20 – $40, but is totally optional).

What will be unique about Cartel Mission trips?

First, make sure you read Our Opinion on What Makes Praying Pelican Missions Unique (and Trustworthy), as that covers quite a bit about what makes these trips unique. But there’s more than that: these trips give you the best of what PPM has to offer (which, as we’ve said, is the best starting point), combined with some Cartel-y stuff from us – mainly an evening speaker from The Youth Cartel. Plus, if you resonate with who we are and what we value, you’ll be sharing your trip with other youth leaders that have a similar outlook.

The Youth Cartel is going to add some little perks for you, the leader (ooh, mystery!).

And PPM is adding some awesome perks for these trips:

  • All of our international trips have upgraded housing, so leave those air mattresses at home.
  • All of our trips include ministry money, which will be used to bless the community you’re working in by meeting some tangible needs.

Our Opinion on What Makes Praying Pelican Missions Unique (and Trustworthy)

This isn’t copy lifted from a Praying Pelican Missions website page; this is the opinion of The Youth Cartel, after a few years of careful observation. Marko and Adam have met with the leadership of PPM countless times, getting insight into their values, their missiology and their character. We’ve been on trips with them to Haiti, Jamaica, Belize, Nicaragua, Cuba, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. We’ve interviewed local pastors in these countries, without PPM staff present, to get unfiltered feedback and evaluation. In short: we’ve done our homework.

You know this: there are plenty of mediocre short-term missions opportunities out there. Some of these are mediocre for your group, as you get herded into a one-size-fits-all experience. Worse, some of these trips are just bad missions, disconnected from long-term relationships and potentially doing more damage than good (often ignoring that God is already at work in the contexts we visit).

Praying Pelican Missions is, in our opinion, the best of what youth ministry short-term missions can be: a great experience for your group that truly serves the indigenous local church. PPM has a number of distinctives (really, commitments) we’ve observed:

  1. PPM serves the local church on all their trips. They don’t presume to tell local church leaders what’s needed (or bring a cookie-cutter, pre-determined ‘program’), but submit themselves to the local church leadership who know their own context, their community’s needs, and their community’s resources.
  2. While your trip might be a one-time thing, it will be set in the context of long-term relationships of trust that PPM has developed over many years. In every country PPM serves, they work over years to cultivate relationships with indigenous leaders, churches, and ministries. All PPM countries have PPM staff who are year ‘round residents (not tourists!), and in most cases, more than half of the local PPM staff (who will work with you on your trip) are not Americans, but were born and raised in that country.
  3. PPM connects local needs (under the direction of local church leaders) with the specific desires and capacities of your group. In other words: you get the best customization possible without sacrificing missional integrity.
  4. PPM leaders are mature and wise. PPM trips are not lead by a bunch of summer interns barely older than the teenagers you’re bringing.
  5. PPM doesn’t supplant the local economy, but supports it. We’ve been so impressed by this reality when we’ve observed their trips. (Marko wrote about his experience of this truth in this blog post: Haiti Does Not Have a Shortage of Construction Workers.)
  6. PPM knows their stuff, and will create a trip that is as safe as possible and culturally responsive as possible.

A few more selected blog posts from Marko and Adam, from our trips observing PPM:

In Defense of Short-Term Missions (With Pictures!)

Two Ways of Viewing Long-Term Partnership for Short-Term Missions

Aaron and Hur Were Onto Something

You Think the Gospel is Boring? Come Live With Me for a Week

Responsible Short-Term Missions Starts With Humble Leadership

When Helping Helps

The Remarriage of Physical to Spiritual Renewal

A Rant for Those Who Are Against Short-Term Missions

4 Roles of a Youth Worker on an International Missions Trip