Essential Apps for Your Expeditions Trip

You have been planning and preparing for this trip for quite a while and now the time has finally come.  You’ve checked the packing list and somehow managed to get a week’s worth of gear into one suitcase.  Will it make weight?  Hopefully…time will tell.  You’ve confirmed your flights.  No schedule changes at the moment.  All looks good!  Your carry-890fb97c-c2da-4487-a0ab-ab0edf76c108on is ready to go.  Printed e-ticket…check. Bible, journal and pen…check.  Neck pillow…don’t be that guy.  Book or magazine for the layover…got it.  Candy…check.  Water Bottle…empty until you pass through security. Passport…absolutely. Printed permission slip yep. Phone…of course. Wait a minute…should I bring my phone?  Are there helpful apps out there that might come in handy while I’m traveling?  You better believe it!

A couple of things to keep in mind when it comes to your phone or iPad:

  1. Don’t let it distract from the experience.  Keep your eye on the prize here! Let’s not forget why you are going on this trip.  You should only bring your phone on this trip if it won’t become a distraction.  You are going to connect with people and take part in an exercise in generosity.  Don’t let Candy Crush or your Snapchat streak keep you from the great big beautiful world that resides three inches above your screen.  Hang up and hang out!
  2. Recognize the risk.  Understand that traveling with a cell phone, an iPad, an insanely nice Nikon D3400, a GoPro or whatever puts you at risk for theft.  If you choose to travel with such things, for goodness sakes, keep an eye on them!  
  3. Airplane Mode.  As soon as you settle into your seat put that thing on airplane mode.  You can always turn the wifi on while keeping airplane mode running.  Last thing you want when you get home is a cell phone bill that is so big it arrives at your house in box.  Keeping Airplane Mode on ensures you’ll only get online when you’ve found a wifi hotspot.  You might want to check with your provider about international plans that are available in the country you are traveling to.  

OK…let’s check out a couple of Apps

Trip Case: When it comes to traveling, this app has literally saved me more time and headache than any other app on my phone.  It’s as if I am somehow wired directly into control tower at the airport.  It’s really rather simple.  You upload your travel tripcasedetails into the app and if there are any gate changes, delays or cancellations the app will notify you, many times quicker than the undecipherable overhead announcement.  You have friends or family that are stressing about your trip?  They can download the app and follow along from home.  It’s a great app to have anytime you are traveling and…it’s free!

Mobile Pass: Here’s a great app to alleviate some of the stress upon returning to the good 4a6af6dc-5f28-4ed8-8ec1-97c65528c44bOl’ US of A.  You simply scan your passport info into the app from the first page of your passport. Then, rather than hunting down a pen and filling out the immigration paperwork on the plane you do it right on your phone. Once you land and are back on the grid you submit the forms wirelessly to the CPB.  There are currently 20 US airports with a “Mobile Passport Control” express lanes so you can bypass the long lines.  Plus it’s always helpful to have an electronic version of your passport info in case something happens to your physical copy while traveling.

Google Translate:  Quicker than Rosetta Stone!  You certainly want to minimize those “lost in translation” moments during your trip.  Plus folks get a kick out of you 15b8dd97-36ee-4b7f-95f3-059c67fcc111making an effort to speak with them in their language.  I was on a trip to Costa Rica a few years ago and between my host family and myself, we nearly wore the Google Translate out!  Could be pretty helpful if you find yourself in need and don’t hablo, parle or sprechen the language all too well.

YouVersion Bible App: The packing list says “Bible” but you’re not sure which Bible to bible-appbring.  You like The Message but will it throw others off if you’re doing a group Bible study?  Should you bring the BIG family King James version?  It might cause your bag to be over the allotted weight limit!  NIV? ESV? NLT?  Douay-Rheims 1752 version?  Why not bring em all, right in the palm of your hand.  Also, culturally speaking, reading the Bible on your phone might make a little more sense!

Instagram: You’re gonna take some pictures, right?  But you’re gonna be wise about it, right?  Sharing your adventure with others is part of the deal and is there a betterinstagram platform for doing that than on the ‘Gram?  You know your mom is gonna be scouring your feed day and night to make sure alive and kicking!  Have your group come up with a trip #hashtag and be sure to include @YLExpeditions #ylexpeditions17  Just like that everyone has access to all the photos from your trip…and momma’s happy!

Written by: Jeff Tait

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The Last, the Least, the Lost, and the Forgotten

We hope and pray that every single person who serves Young Life cross-culturally will return home fired up to make a deeper impact in their own neighborhood. We pray everyone will have a greater understanding of the heart of God to serve and love the last, the least, the lost, the forgotten, because of how God revealed himself and his work through Young Life around the globe. As you and your team ponder ways to serve more deeply in your own community, we encourage volunteering in your local Young Life area reaching out to teenagers through Young Life, WyldLife, Capernaum, YoungLives and Young Life College and Universities. Volunteers have been the backbone of our 75+ years ministry!

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Photo courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse

We also realize upon returning from an Expedition you and your team may be more acutely aware of people of all ages and walks of life living in the margins of your own community. We offer some key scriptures and ideas as a guide to help you dive deeper into service and live out a life of generosity.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me…Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:35-26,40.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  James 1:27.

“Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.” Zechariah 7:10.

Hunger Relief and Food Insecurity – Every county in the United States has people of all ages without access to the nourishment they need to live the life God intends for us. Find out in your community who are the most nutritionally vulnerable. Are there children going to school without breakfast? Is there a resource for reduced cost food for the working poor that needs support? Are there veterans, seniors, or homeless in need of hot meals?

Vulnerable Children –  There are many ways to care for kids who don’t receive parental support in your community. You could volunteer as a tutor, coach a sports teams, or serve as a mentor or Sunday School teacher.  In addition, every community has a Foster Care system with many needs. Foster children often need pajamas and clean clothes and backpacks with school supplies as they are often quickly displaced from their homes.

Seniors – Volunteering to bring meals to shut-ins, spending time at a local church or community senior center, or driving the elderly to appointments is a great way to serve this treasured population.

Refugees & Immigrants – For centuries upon centuries people have been forced to flee their homes because of violence and persecution…including Jesus and his family. Women and children comprise a huge percentage of refugees today. This population needs our love, attention, understanding and resources.

Prisoners – The United States prison system currently has over 2.2 million adults incarcerated. Scripture calls us to care for the prisoners, yet this is one of the most under-served populations in our nation. Consider a prison prayer or pen pal ministry.

Sick and Suffering –  There are many hospitals and convalescent facilities in your own community wherein countless folks never receive visitors. If you have the gift of music or enjoy reading outloud or playing board games, why not see about sharing your time and gifts? Hospice volunteering is a wonderful way to care for those suffering and in the last stages of life.

When in doubt, look around you! Service does not have to be complicated! Who lives next door or across the street? How can you best serve and love your neighbor? Can you do yard work? Take out garbage cans? Bring a meal?  Invite someone over for dinner? Feel free to add in your suggestions in the comments section of our blog for your ideas on how you serve the Last, the Least, the Lost, and the Forgotten.

Written by: Michele Sbrana