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Why I’m Excited About our PPM Youth Leader Trip to Alaska

Marko here. We posted the other day about the second youth leader vision trip we’re taking in September to Alaska, to help people get a sense of both the amazing work of Praying Pelican Missions and this fantastic location. But I thought I might share a bit more backstory and details.

The Youth Cartel has been partnering with Praying Pelican Missions for a number of years, and I’ve been on ten or more trips with them. We’ve tried multiple approaches over the years to figure out how the Cartel can get the word out about this org we believe is “best in class” (and I write that as someone who has been on many, many youth mission trips with multiple organizations). In the early years, Adam and I went on what could be called “blogging trips”: we’d go see the work of PPM in a country, and blog about our experiences. Knowing that PPM’s approach is to develop longterm partnerships with local churches (led by local pastors), and to serve under their authority and on their behalf, I would always pull these pastors aside for private conversations about how they were treated by PPM. Honestly, these conversations are what really sold me.

We’ve tried to do some Cartel/PPM trips with youth groups from the Cartel fam; and while those were great, it wasn’t our strong suit. I’m not sure why it took us so long to remember that a couple vision trips we did for youth workers years ago were the best thing we could offer, and that’s being proved out with these Alaska trips. I mentioned the first trip (September 17 – 20) on my Facebook and Twitter, and we filled it in six hours. So I asked PPM if we could add a second trip a week earlier (September 10 – 13), and they scrambled to accommodate us (props particularly go to the Alaska team for this).

I got to go on a partnership trip with them to Alaska last summer, and honestly, it’s one of my favorite locations I’ve been to. As a group leader, I was stoked to see it has a great combo of factors: less cost than an international trip, but some of the ‘feel’; wonderful ministries excited to receive help, but none of the challenges of passports and immunizations and currency exchange. and it is guh-guh-gorgeous, of course.

I’ve said this before: I think that youth ministry short-term missions can one of the worst things we do in youth ministry (drive-by missions, white savior complex, ministry tourism); but it can also be one of the best things we do in youth ministry, when the context is carefully curated to increase the likelihood that our churches bless local churches and they bless us. When done correctly (as I firmly believe PPM strives to do), we get to participate in partnership with the work of the Kingdom with Jesus who is already present and actively at work in the location where we serve.

SO: I encourage you, youth worker, to consider a trip with Praying Pelican. And I have been so deeply encouraged in the last couple weeks hearing so many stories of Cartel-y youth workers who are going on PPM trips this summer, and heard about them through us.

We’ve limited the size of these Alaska vision trips in order to maximize the experience. And we have about four or five spots remaining on the Sept 10 – 13 trip. You’ll spend a few days with me and a small group of peers. OH, and it’s free (you just have to get to Anchorage). Please feel free to reach out to me (marko@theyouthcartel.com) with any question you might have. Or, get info and register here.

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