Answering frequently asked
questions about Serve Asia.

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.

Does the planned work involve violating any local laws, customs or taboos?

Our long-term workers and field hosts will not ask short-term workers to engage in activity that would harm the nationals living there or the long-term ministry. Nor would they put them at odds with the local governments.

What health and safety precautions does Serve Asia implement?

We give immunization recommendations for all participants and require medical screening for workers going longer than six weeks. Workers are given an emergency contact sheet before departing for Asia that contains all important contact and insurance information.

Working with the U.S. Serve Asia team, the field host 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. All participants are required to have our insurance, which is a very low per diem rate and included in the participant’s budget.

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.

Does Serve Asia train and debrief participants?

If you are accepted, we send you an acceptance packet with books and preparation materials pertaining to your service country. We require all national team participants and most individual placements to attend Pre-field Training over Memorial Day weekend in Colorado and we require all summer participants to attend Debriefing in California upon return to the U.S. 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 fall or winter), we will debrief you remotely or train your mission mentor (team leader) to facilitate Debriefing with your team.

What is included in the program cost?

Our trip costs vary, usually between $2,500 and $4,500 for summer programs. Included in the cost:

  • Training/acceptance materials.
  • Pre-Field training.
  • International airfare (Serve Asia purchases flights through an experienced travel agent).
  • Travel insurance.
  • In-country costs (food, accommodation, travel).
  • And Debriefing if attending.

Expect to pay domestic airfare to and from Denver for Pre-Field Training, immunizations and sometimes visas separately. You have the option after your trip to submit receipts for reimbursement if you have received sufficient donations.

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.

Do you organize trips for church or school teams? For youth groups?

Yes, we routinely partner with churches and schools to send teams to Asia. Unfortunately, we are not able to send youth groups to Asia because our minimum age requirement is 18 years of age.

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.

Can I go with OMF International if I am not a citizen of the U.S.?

Yes, you can go with Serve Asia (short term) without being a citizen of the sending country. However, if you are planning to go for longer than one year, you must be a U.S. citizen or have a green card. The reason for this is because by law, we cannot receipt funds on your behalf as an employee of OMF International unless you are a citizen. Check with your OMF International mobilizer more about possible sending countries.

Are there any language requirements?

Language skills are not required but are usually a great asset. Our Serve Asia participants are placed in various language settings. You will always be place where there is long-term work going on, but you may or may not have a translator. If you come to our training we do teach you how to find cultural helpers which can also be helpful, especially if you don’t have a translator. Both cultural and linguistic barriers are taken into consideration, but the short-term worker should also expect to work hard at communicating and being flexible.

Can I do an internship through Serve Asia?

We have many people fulfill their internship requirements through Serve Asia. However, we will need to know the internship requirements and ask field approval before we can promise that it will be able to be fulfilled.

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.

Can someone other than my pastor fill out the Pastoral Reference?

We will accept a reference from any spiritual mentor who has been intentionally discipling you, unless the field requires otherwise.

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 a Serve Asia staff member or your team’s Mission Mentor. After the interview, Serve Asia coordinators will determine your acceptance, pending medical clearance (if applicable). The coordinator will let you know whether you were accepted and send you an acceptance packet in the 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.

Can I donate to Serve Asia?

Yes! Please visit our DONATION PAGE to give toward a certain Serve Asia participant or to the U.S. Serve Asia ministry.