Serve Asia is our programme for anyone wanting to experience and work in Asia short-term. It is integrated with our discipleship programme designed to help equip and encourage you to be at the forefront of mission in East Asia.
We’ll support you beyond the time spent on a trip. Through Orientation and Debrief weekends, conferences and small groups we seek to invest in you as you progress on your mission journey.
Who can go on a short term Serve Asia trip?
As an evangelistic agency in fellowship with local churches in many countries, we are called to be a worshiping, praying, caring fellowship committed to worldwide evangelism. We rejoice in our partnership with local churches on all continents, and pray that God will make us a humble, vigorous, attractive fellowship, bringing the good news especially to those who have never heard of Jesus Christ.
If you share this vison, we would love to hear from you.
What is OMF International’s relationship to the UK church?
Mission is the responsibility of the local church and OMF International is committed to serving and equipping the local church to help it fulfill its God-given mission. Team members are not sent without the support/endorsement of their local church here in the UK.
How do short-term workers fit into OMF International’s long-term work on the field?
You will build relationships with people and be involved in ministries and projects for which the long-term workers need help. Your assistance helps the long-term workers extend their “reach” in the community and form more relationships where they are serving. Serve Asia also often sends people on “vision trips” if you are considering going long-term. A vision trip would still include serving the long-term worker as needed, but we will try to incorporate experience in the field you are interested in long-term.
How long does the application take?
Normally 3-5 months. The minimum is 3 months, unless you are Serve Asia alumnus in the last 3 years. If you require a DBS (working in hospital, with children and vulnerable adults),it can take up to 4 months. There are other variables, like how long referees take to send references, medical clearance if you have underlying conditions. The earlier you apply the better.
Are there opportunities other than during the summer?
Yes, while most teams go during the summer, there are a few exceptions. Partnership teams, individual placements and even some National teams are possible throughout the year depending on field availability; contact the Serve Asia coordinator about this via the enquiry page, or email/telephone for more information.
What is included in the price?
The price quoted on the website covers your travel insurance, accommodation and transfers in Asia. Meals are budgeted for and you will need to pay for them out of that budget that you will hold whilst you and your team are out in East Asia. Clear guidance is given about how much to spend on meals etc. In cases where a Serve Asia worker is staying with a host family, meals can be arranged prior.
Orientation and Debriefing weekends are covered in the cost – however travel to and from venues is not.
NOT included in the costs of your placement: transfer to and from your airport of departure, visas, personal spending money, vaccinations and anti-malarial tablets, pre-placement medicals if required, drinks, meals, personal protection equipment, optional excursions, airport taxes, and border taxes. Please see Terms and Conditions.
Do you ever cancel trips if there aren’t enough people?
Yes – however you will know well in advance if this is going to be a likely scenario. Some teams are only viable with a minimum number of Serve Asia Workers to run a program, deadlines for applications are in place to ensure adequate numbers.
What training do I get before and after the mission trip?
We require all national and church team participants to receive some cross-cultural orientation and spiritual equipping by attending an Orientation weekend prior to you leaving for your designated country. The costs of training and debriefing are included in your overall program cost. If timing does not allow you to attend Debriefing (e.g. you went to Asia in the autumn or winter), we will debrief you with your Area Mobiliser.
What if I am interested in more than one Serve Asia trip?
We appreciate flexibility. If you cannot decide, please just list your top three desired trips on the application and a member of our team will be happy to help determine which trip would be best for you.
When will I know if I am accepted or not? What are the reasons people are not accepted?
When we have received all of your application documents, including the application fee and reference, we will set up an interview for you with an OMF staff member, most likely to be local to your area. After the interview, Serve Asia coordinators will determine your acceptance, pending medical clearance (if applicable). The UK coordinator will let you know whether you were accepted and send you acceptance via email or mail.
People may be denied because of medical issues, personal issues, poor fit with the ministry or issues regarding emotional, mental or spiritual health. The well-being of both the applicant and the long-term ministry are paramount to us as we thoroughly screen each application
If I am not accepted, will I be reimbursed for the application fee?
We are not able to reimburse an application fee, as this covers the administrative and staff cost of processing the Serve Asia application. Please see Cancellations in Terms & Conditions
Where do Serve Asia workers go? Is it safe?
We send Serve Asia workers any place OMF International long-term workers need short-term help. We have long-term workers in every East Asian country, although not every country needs short-term workers at any given time.
Field workers deliberately assess the safety of any situation where Serve Asia workers may serve and make plans for short-term workers accordingly. Some countries in Asia do not allow the gospel to be preached openly and we explain the guidelines for each country to our short-term workers.
Where do we sleep and what do we eat?
This varies depending on country and ministry. Most Serve Asia workers stay with a family or in a guest home owned by OMF International. Eating arrangements will probably be a combination of eating out and eating at the place where you are staying. In most circumstances, we and your field host expect you to graciously eat the food that is offered, even if it seems strange to you. If you have any food sensitivities or aversions and are concerned about that while on your trip, please talk with the Serve Asia program coordinator.
What travel health and safety precautions does Serve Asia implement?
We give immunization recommendations (it’s your responsibility to carry out our recommendations) for all participants and require basic medical screening for all Serve Asia workers. Workers are given emergency contact information before departing for Asia including insurance information.
Working with the UK Serve Asia team, the field host/ field Serve Asia Coordinator would help arrange evacuation plans in the event of an emergency. The insurance which is part of every Serve Asia sponsored trip includes evacuation assistance/repatriation. All participants are required to have our insurance, which is included in the participant’s budget – unless you have exclusions to our policy which will mean securing appropriate cover.
Are there any language requirements?
Language skills for destination country are not required for some Serve Asia opportunities but are usually a great asset. Serve Asia participants are placed in various language settings. You will always be placed where there is long-term work going on, but you may or may not always have a translator. Both cultural and linguistic barriers are taken into consideration, but the short-term worker should expect to work hard at communicating and being flexible.
Can I go with OMF International if I am not a citizen of the UK?
Yes, you can go with Serve Asia (short term) without being a citizen of the sending country. This may imply extra costs if visas are required.
Can I give to the work of Serve Asia?
Yes, please visit our Giving page