Commonly Asked Question from Parents
What is the difference between a student missionary and a task force worker?
Student missionaries (SM) serve outside of the North American Division. Task force workers are also student missionaries, but they have chosen positions within North America, serving in academies, camps, or in other capacities. Task force workers have an awesome responsibility and the opportunity to use their Christian characters to touch the lives of others.
How much does it cost to be a student missionary or task force worker?
There is a processing fee of $300 for every student missionary or task force worker. In addition, we currently have a base cost of $3,000. This may increase if a student chooses a location where living expenses are higher. This amount includes airfare, insurance, living expenses, visa expenses, etc. These funds must be raised before ticketing.
How do I get started?
Go to the Phase One section of this website and follow the instructions. myaccess.southern.edu/mvc/student-missions
Do student missionaries receive any scholarships?
Upon your young adult's return to Southern to complete their undergraduate degree, they will receive a $1,500 SM/TF scholarship.
They must meet the following requirements to qualify:
• Complete the NOND-099 Student Missions Orientation Class
• Attend the Exit and Re-entry Retreats in their entirety
• Attend and participate in the SM Dedication Vespers Program
• Complete at least 6-12 months of service
• Complete required reports while serving
• Attend college prior to serving as SM/TF
*If you are a transfer student and served through a sister university, please come and see us in the SM office.
My young adult is just a student. How can they be qualified to do the work they are
We are constantly amazed at the way the Lord works. Our students are given a large variety of responsibilities and have very little, if any, training for their particular job. Yet over and over we see these young adults rise to the occasion. They give God this year of their lives, and He fills in the cracks.
Isn't it best for my young adult to wait until after graduation?
Usually not. After the sophomore year seems to be the best time for them to serve. Most graduates want to get on with their lives once graduation comes, and then they miss the opportunity. We also cannot defer loans once they graduate with the BS/BA degree. Students with an AS degree can still have their loans deferred. Most nursing students prefer to go after graduating with their ASN and before returning to complete their BSN.
What about my young adults student's loans?
A student who is still an undergraduate can enroll for 6 hours per semester of general elective credit, which is enough to satisfy the loan companies to defer their loans. They will do the classwork for these credits in the orientation class, which takes place before they leave. Unfortunately, once the student has graduated with BA/BS degree this option is no longer available. The school generously charges only 10 percent of the usual tuition fee for these credit hours. You will be billed in the usual way.
When should I check into my flight?
It is important to make sure that you check in to your flight online 24 hours before your departure time and arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight departs. This will significantly make the check-in process smoother and less stressful for you.
What about their safety?
What kind of training will my young adult need to receive?
Here in the Student Missions office at Southern Adventist University, we will attempt to give your child the tools he/she will need to do their job over the coming year. They will attend classes in which we will talk about cultural issues, safe travel, building relationships, resolving conflicts, dealing with crisis and other subjects to help them deal with what might lie ahead. This will also include a spiritual retreat in April, and we hope you will join us for a very special dedication vespers just before graduation.
Who picks my young adults location?
Each young adult picks their own location. We do give them information and point students to websites at which job opportunities are listed along with the description, requirements, etc. Students are urged to ask the Lord to guide them as they check out the websites and do research. Once a student has made a decision, we will apply for the position. If it is still available and the applicant qualifies for the position, they will go through an approval process that may take several weeks. For various reasons, the student may have to go to a second or third choice.
How does my young adult get their plane ticket?
Once your young adult has raised the needed amount of money for your time abroad the student missions office will purchase your ticket to and from your location.
Where does the cost to cover the trip come from?
Most of our students raise their money by sending out letters to family, friends, and church members. All money is donated to the Student Missions program of Southern Adventist University, which allows it to be tax-deductible. (Checks are made out to Southern Adventist University.) The Student Missions Program pays for all the SM expenses.
What about insurance?
Your student will be insured with Adventist Risk Management. They provide us with an insurance package that includes:
A. Accident and illness insurance (this policy does not cover pre-existing conditions or routine
B. Personal loss insurance (i.e., stolen camera, etc.)
C. A small life insurance policy
Who takes care of the travel arrangements?
The Student Missions office makes all travel arrangements and assists the SM with the visa application. Task force workers will make their arrangements with their respective task force locations.
Will they need a passport?
Absolutely. ALL student missionaries who are going outside of the United States will need a passport. (Not applicable for task force). Please make sure the passport is still valid for at least six months beyond the end of their mission service.
Will they need a visa?
It depends on the location. Every country has different requirements and the requirements change frequently. We will assist your student with the visa application if it is needed. We encourage students to take the initiative to research the requirements on the web.
How can we get money to my young adult if we want to send more?
Many locations have ATMs, and if so all that is required is for you to deposit money in their checking account at home so they can access it with their debit cards. For some locations, we can send money to the "mother organization" and they can get the money to the SM. In other locations it gets trickier. Sometimes we have to wire money to them or send it snail mail, which is not the best option.
How about sending packages?
Sending your young adult a package is strongly encouraged. Many young adults find it very encouraging to know that their friends and family haven't forgotten them. The Student Missions office sends out packages on a regular basis and would be more then willing to send out anything you give, as long as it is able to fit in a 8x11 envelope. If you want to send a package on your own make sure to check the UPS specifications before sending the package. Some locations have very strict stipulations on what size packages they can deliver to rural areas. Please be aware that in some locations, people have to pay a fee to RECEIVE a package.
How easy is it to contact my young adult?
That depends on where they are. Most SMs will have Internet access, and we encourage you to subscribe to Skype so you can have regular video visits with each other. Most mission locations will have dial-up access, so the quality of the connection will not be superb. Many locations will have some sort of telephone service, though it is usually quite expensive. The SMs may be able to purchase phone cards, which in many cases is the best option. Cell phones are available in some locations, but there are still a few locations where access is very limited for email and/or land line phone.
May I visit my young adult?
We strongly encourage parents to visit their young adults in their place of service, as long as the location administration sees that there is no problems with schedules and lodging. When parents visit their children it is both a great experience for the young adult to share this with their parents and also just as amazing for the parents to see the work that their young adult is participating in.
May I take my young adult away from the mission location to travel?
That depends on the administration and scheduled program of the mission location. Many of the locations have natural breaks in their schedules. Please make sure that you make proper arrangements, do not take them for an excessive amount of time, and do not assume that this is acceptable. Make sure to contact the location administrator before making plans.
May my SM come home for Christmas?
Some locations do allow the student missionaries to travel home for Christmas though we strongly discourage this if it can be avoided. During this time of the year those in service are just starting to really adapt to the location they are in and when they go home for a month this can cause some backtracking in their adaption process. So this is why we strongly encourage the the parents to visit their young adults instead and see the ministry they are participating in.
What kind of support is available to my young adult when they return home after their
time of service?
Most SMs experience some form of "reverse culture shock" when they return to the USA. It is important for you to listen to their stories, see their pictures, and be there for them as they experience this. When they return to Southern Adventist University, they will attend a "Re-entry Retreat," where we will give the students some tools to help them cope and get back into their normal student life.
Most SMs will qualify for the $1,500 scholarship when they return to Southern Adventist University. Qualifications include:
At least nine months of service
Favorable reports from their mission location
Attendance at the Re-entry Retreat
Completed all reports and journals
Time Zone Map
Use this map to know when to call your Student Missionary.
Call your Student Missionary!
Use the following link to find the country code that will put you in touch with the SM you want to talk to! http://www.countrycodes.com/call.php