Christian mission trips can be of great benefit for all involved, the Rev. Billy Graham writes.
Graham, a 97-year-old Baptist minister, wrote in a post for the Kansas City Star that parents should encourage their children to partake in international mission trips, as they are extremely beneficial for those giving and receiving the charitable services.
Mission trips can be one of the most "memorable and significant things" a Christian does, Graham contends.
"Christians in other lands often have very little, and they may feel isolated and wonder if anyone really cares about them. But having a group of enthusiastic young people care about them and help them can be a great encouragement to them," Graham writes, pointing to the biblical story of Timothy traveling to visit isolated Christians to help strengthen their faith.
Along with the obvious benefit of helping the needy, mission trips can also provide insight and a richer perspective for those giving their time.
Christians who choose to embark on these trips "may never have been outside the United States; they probably have never seen the poverty and struggles that people in less developed countries endure," Graham writes.
Graham says he hopes such a trip will allow Christians "to see the world the way God sees it."
In recent years, several popular young reality-star Christians have embarked on mission trips, including Sadie Robertson from "Duck Dynasty" and Jill Duggar from "19 Kids and Counting."
Robertson traveled to Guatemala earlier this year to donate hundreds of rainboots to children in need through her collaboration with the Roma boot company.
Jill Duggar and husband, Derick Dillard, traveled with their infant son Israel last year to partake in missionary work in South America, announcing last October that they felt it was God's calling for them to work abroad.
"God has put a desire in our hearts to serve Him internationally for longer than the typical short-term mission trip [...] It's something we've prayed about together in an effort to seek God's plan for our lives in His service," the couple wrote on the Duggar family website last year.