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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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: