At both U.S. and International Family Retreats, families affected by physical and invisible disabilities receive encouragement and care in the comfort of a safe and accessible family camp environment. They enjoy fun and fully-accessible, age-appropriate activities, along with meaningful conversations with families who understand the challenges of life with disability.
Short Term Missionaries (STMs) volunteer and serve families with Christ-like encouragement and friendship.
This is a unique opportunity to let God use your time, your hands and your heart to make an eternal difference in the life of a child, teen or adult with a disability and their families.
You may be a companion to a child or adult with a disability for the entire retreat. If so, it will be your job to be a friend, giving the gift of your time and love. STMs eat meals with their assigned family and join with them in most program activities. Together, you will also enjoy a wide variety of Family Retreat activities – from swimming, boating, and water-skiing, to horseback riding, hiking, zip lines and climbing walls. After some STM free time in the afternoon, you will rejoin your family for the evening meal and activities.
You may also serve in a program area assisting with art, recreation, music or the children, youth or teen programs. Program STMs will serve and/or lead in a specific program area during the day and evening (with an afternoon break).
Through the simplicity of your service, whether you are a family or program STM, you will have the opportunity to build relationships where you can share the gospel and help others find hope in Jesus.
No previous experience with disability? No problem. JAF fully trains every STM before Family Retreat begins – there is nothing to fear!
STM Requirements & Training
Family Retreat STMs must be at least 17 years old. They are committed Christians with a desire to serve families affected by disability. They are flexible team players who are able to offer friendship, support, and general assistance to help families get the most out of their week. STMs must be able to serve the entire length of the retreat and attend training prior to the retreat. (If you are under 17, check with your Retreat Director for other service opportunities.)
STMs do not provide medical care. Families that need this type of care bring their own personal attendant or nurse.
Onsite training occurs before the families are due to arrive. This builds a team atmosphere and helps STMs understand their specific roles. Ongoing support from experienced leaders is available throughout the retreat.
We recommend applying as early as possible. We accept STM applications until all STM positions are filled for the retreat, or up to two weeks before the retreat begins.
Choose a Retreat and APPLY as a STM Today!
The cost to be a STM varies from retreat to retreat. Our current schedule provides retreat costs and contact information. The cost includes lodging and meals from the time STMs must be at the retreat site until the time STMs must leave. STMs are responsible for their own transportation costs.
Although some STMs pay their way personally, many raise financial support and find that their own church is willing to support them through their missions, local outreach, or disability ministry programs. STMs often send letters to friends and relatives explaining what they are doing and giving them the opportunity to support the ministry by helping financially. Whichever approach you choose, we give you the tools you need to help with raising support.
If this ministry sounds like it’s something you want to be involved in, great! But if you’re thinking, “I’d love to do something like that but can’t this year because of ____,” you can still be a part. Maybe you have a grandchild or some other person in your life who you could encourage and support in serving as an STM. If you want to help send someone, and can’t find anyone, please consider sending me! I hate to ask for money, and maybe that’s in part why I haven’t sent out the usual support letters, but if you WANT to help, I want to give you opportunity. God has always provided, He will provide again if it’s His will!!! If you can’t support financially, PLEASE PRAY! That’s what keeps us as STMs going… Your prayers and the grace of God! Thank you. Elizabeth