Mission Trip or Pilgrimage: A Definition

Short term missions has become big business. Wonder Voyage started twenty years ago because, at the time, a good number of trips through mission organizations were being carried out in ways that were were unnecessary, unethical, and in bad taste.

The only pilgrimage offerings, at that time, were from travel agencies that booked a local guide who may or may not have led the trip with a spiritual focus.

Wonder Voyage was created to clarify, improve, and redefine the art of pilgrimage and to create a new way of carrying out mission trips. When booking a trip with us you might wonder what the difference is between them. While mission trips and pilgrimages are similar in many ways, there are also subtle differences that will help you determine which one to go on.

On mission trips… the emphasis is on service. When we arrive at a location to serve the first thing we say is, “Give us the job no one else wants to do.” We do not go with the attitude that we are going to change lives within a week. Instead, we go to serve and partner with organizations and people that are working 24/7 to bring change to their part of the world. We also include elements of exploration to allow each team to fully immerse themselves in the culture and learn from their surroundings. Our ultimate goal is to teach participants how to serve with a missional heart at all times, no matter where they are in the world.

On pilgrimage… adventure, cultural immersion and exploration are integral because we understand how God can meet us in unexpected ways in unexpected places. We ensure every place we go has opportunities for the open-hearted participant to meet God face to face. There can be elements of mission because we believe true pilgrims leave behind a legacy of sacrificial love and service in some capacity on their journey. Overall, we seek to teach each pilgrim that pilgrimage continues beyond the bounds of the trip.

At Wonder Voyage, we take the best of mission trips and pilgrimages and marry them into one seamless experience. Although they have specific attributes, each is a journey of the heart. We have created a new way for groups to engage in trips that honor the people and places they visit. Whether pilgrimage or mission trip, each experience offers the possibility to change perspectives, challenge motives and open hearts to wonder.  Learn more about our Pilgrimages and Mission Trips.

After a decade working in parish youth ministry Shawn started Wonder Voyage Missions. Over the last 15 years, WVM has led thousands of pilgrims to over forty countries. Shawn is a storyteller and an award winning filmmaker. He is an author who brings the gift of engaging narrative to our journeys. Shawn is dedicated to creating voyages that give people abundant opportunities to encounter God.

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