A small group traveled to Guatemala in 1988 to meet sponsored friends and see our work firsthand. The program continues today, coordinating trips to 15 countries for nearly 1,000 travelers a year.
By Jordan Kimbrell, writer/editor for Unbound
After 35 years, we have a lot of stories to tell. As we lead up to our anniversary on Nov. 20, we want to tell you a little bit about our history. We hope you’ll learn something new about who we are and how we work. So far we’ve shared about one of the ways we connect with the church community and how our headquarters used to be a bowling supply company.. This week, we’ll learn about Unbound’s awareness trips which give travelers the chance to witness the work we do firsthand.
One of my favorite stories I’ve written about awareness trips started with a quote from Jesse Fabian, a traveler who didn’t really want to go. He thought it was going to be just another mission trip where they, “put a lot more religion down my throat”, but his wife insisted on going to visit their sponsored friend. And, according to Jesse, that trip to the Philippines in 2010 ended up changing his life.
Though, initially, he may have been more reluctant than others who travel with Unbound, Jesse’s experiences on the trip gave him a better understanding of the work we do and a better connection with his sponsored friend, something we hope all awareness trip participants go home with. But he’s not alone in having misconceptions about what an awareness trip is all about.
Unbound has been providing sponsors and other travelers with the opportunity to see our work firsthand since 1988. That first trip included a group of seven sponsors who accompanied our late co-founder Bob Hentzen to Guatemala so they could meet their sponsored friends.
Today, hundreds of individuals travel with Unbound to 15 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Some countries, like Guatemala, have multiple trips a year, while other countries only have trips at certain times of the year or every other year.
You can visit unbound.org/trips for our full schedule.
Awareness trip participants visit the home of a sponsored member in Guatemala along with local staff members.
Sponsor Jesse Fabian is greeted by children sponsored through Unbound on a visit to Guatemala.
After returning from his first awareness trip, Jesse told his wife it was the best trip he’d ever been on.
“I said, ‘I could not go to a five-star hotel and be fulfilled as much as I am now,'” Jesse said. “I went home, I looked, and things were different. I had much more appreciation for what we had.”
Traveling with Unbound, you’ll gain new insights into the realities of sponsored friends and their families around the world. Returning travelers often share stories of something they learned, even if they’ve been on awareness trips before.
You’ll also have the chance to immerse yourself in the local culture. That can mean seeing wildlife in Kenya or learning a new dance in Colombia. You’ll see beautiful landscapes, try local foods and visit the homes of sponsored friends while learning more about how the Unbound program works from our local staff members in each country.
Traveling internationally can be expensive, but traveling with Unbound is one of the more affordable ways to experience another culture. Fees are $650 for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, $800 for South America and $1,200 for Africa and Asia. This covers meals, lodging, activities with sponsored friends, interpreters and in-country ground transportation for one person. Airfare is not included.
It’s your turn
Our 2017 schedule is starting to fill up, so make sure to contact our trips team at [email protected] or (800) 875-6564 to get on the list to travel or request more information.
Check out unbound.org/tripstories to read more travelers’ experiences.