By Kimberly Vogel

I see many families traveling to visit colleges and universities while their children are in high school. Just this morning my parents and I planned a trip for my daughter to visit a university we are considering. What about the child who is not ready to make the jump from high school to college? 

A gap year or trade school instead of a university is becoming more and more common. I have another idea that is gaining popularity, and I must say… it’s my favorite. This option, which is truly life-changing and faith-deepening, is a gap year at a mission center.

Our Family’s Recent Experience
I recently spent the weekend at Twin Oaks Ranch. We stayed in the hotel for a small suggested donation and found the accommodations delightful. While staying there, we were able to take our meals in the PFC and mingle with those who live on base. They even had a free movie night where we watched “Muffy” and ended the night praying for missions. If you are there on a Sunday evening, they have amazing worship and messages at the Family Night Service where all on campus meet together for a message and worship. There is a tour you can take to learn about the schools, and all that is offered right on the base. It’s an incredible community and the messages are life changing!

5 Organizations to Consider for Missions

Mission training for just about anything!
Youth With A Mission (YWAM) has bases around the world and offers many different schools to train students not only for missions but for life and a deeper relationship with God. This is the route we went for our daughter. The school aspect is key to building a strong foundation before sending young adults out to spread the Word. I plan on sharing more about her journey, and what I’ve learned from this experience.

Passion for helping orphans?
Coreluv has three phases
Equip – a teaching and discipleship program which is stateside
Send – the missions program which sends interns on a 5-month mission trip
Defend – full-time missions work with orphans

Interested in relief missions?
Adventures in Missions has disaster relief mission trips around the world. You can find long term, short term, family, youth, or just about any kind of mission trip! They focus on discipleship and are an interdenominational organization.  See what they have to say about taking a gap year!

Looking ahead to college?  
Campus-based organization with mission opportunities for all ages: cru, Formerly Campus Crusade, they are known for their Four Spiritual Laws, a simple and effective evangelism tool. Cru also released the Jesus Film, which has changed lives worldwide.

Don’t forget your local church
Most large denominations have their own missions organization. Check with your local church to find what mission opportunities they support.

When my kids started high school, I was leery of the concept of a gap year. Why not go right to college? Now I see the benefit of waiting. The most important thing is to look at your child individually and decide what is best for them. Doing a gap year to study and share God’s Word will give your child a foundation that is needed to navigate in today’s world. We did it, and it was life-changing for more than just my daughter.

Are you still working on your student’s homeschool high school years?  Looking for some help navigating how to help a struggling learner during their final years of homeschooling?  Make sure to check out the SPED Homeschool’s High School Checklist and SPED Homeschool’s Final Stretch YouTube Playlist .




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