RYM 066: Are Your Student Mission Trips Really Helping or Hurting?

For many of us in youth ministry, mission trips are a part of our yearly rhythm. And while these trips seem life-changing on the surface, are they really all they’re cracked up to be? This week, we’re joined by Henok Berhanu, founder and CEO of Carry 117 and host to dozens of mission teams every year in Ethiopia. Together, we discuss the biggest mistake student mission teams make, the importance of cultural awareness, and why relationship building can be even more impactful than financial giving.

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  • Henok Berhanu talks about his work with Carry 117 (1:25)
  • We can maximize our impact on mission trips when we have conversations about cultural awareness and the true intention of the trip (6:11)
  • How to create a great mission trip experience while serving others in an authentic way (7:02)
  • Relationships matter more than funding (10:39)
  • The common mistakes Americans make when traveling on a mission trip (14:41)
  • The importance of cultural awareness (20:17)
  • Focusing too much on team building can be a mistake detrimental to the entire trip (21:57)
  • Avoiding big mistakes while on a student mission trip (27:50)
  • Engaging with those you’re serving in a fun way can help create a better relationship and overall experience (40:18)


Website: Carry 117

Website: YouthWorks

Website: Champions United FC

Website: The 410 Bridge

Orange is excited to partner with YouthWorks to give your students a Christ-centered mission trip experience this summer! Click the button below to learn more:


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CJ is the Managing Editor for XP3 High School at Orange and one of the hosts and producers of Rethinking Youth Ministry, a podcast raising the bar for student leaders everywhere. CJ has been leading small groups for middle school students at North Point Community Church since 2007, which means he’s probably spent more time talking to middle schoolers than adults in his life. He also placed 5th in his 8th grade class field day fun run. CJ and his wife, Teri, live in Alpharetta, Georgia, with their son, Harley, and their robot vacuum, Barbara.


Henok Berhanu is the founder & CEO of Carry 117, which exists to empower at-risk women in Korah, Ethiopia. He is also co-owner of the Light House Guest House.



Ashley Bohinc serves as the Director of Middle School Strategy at Orange, co-host of The Think Orange Podcast, and co-author of The Art of Group Talk. She’s worked with students in public education, athletic, and ministry settings since 2005. Ashley is most passionate about resourcing the local church, communicating onstage, developing leaders, working with students, and engaging in world missions. Additionally, she’s the USA Director of Carry 117. In her downtime, you’ll find her watching Friends, cheering on the Cleveland Cavaliers, traveling, reading, or on one of her Fairytale Friday Adventures.



Tom Shefchunas is the Executive Director of Student Strategy at Orange. In this role, he leads the development and strategy for XP3 Middle School and High School curriculumPreviously, Tom was North Point MinistriesMulti-Campus Director of Transit, their middle school ministry, for 12 years. And before that, he spent 10 years as a high school teacher, coach, and principal. Additionally, he is the co-author of Lead Small with Reggie Joiner. Tom and his wife, Julie, live in Cumming, Georgia, with their three children, Mac, Joey, and Cooper.

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Orange Conference 2018