FAQ

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between guest house and floor stay options?

Guest house: We use a variety of lodging options ranging from guests houses to local camps and sometimes hotels. You can expect 3-4 people per room with plenty of bathrooms and showers. Housing will be close to the ministry site.

Floor stay: You’ll sleep on the floor in a church. Bathrooms and showers will be available; bring your own air mattress and pillow.

What are the maximum and minimum group sizes?

The minimum size to sign up is eight, though for a private trip you’ll need a group of 16 or larger.

What are the mission trip prices?

$950 for a floor stay 8-day trip (Saturday to Saturday).

$1,100 for a guest house/hotel stay 8-day trip (Saturday to Saturday).

Tell me more about the church partnerships in Alaska

Each group traveling to Alaska with Thirst Missions will be partnered with a local church. We believe the local church is God’s biblical design and want each team to be an encouragement to the church partner. Our church partners are small but healthy churches doing God’s work in difficult conditions.

Based on the ministries you select, your overall trip goals, and your denomination we’ll match you with an Alaskan church partner. Churches in Alaska are surprisingly varied with everything from black gospel churches you’d expect to find in Chicago to Spanish-oriented churches like we’re accustomed to in Belize.

Is Alaska safe?

Yes! Even though there is a lot of poverty and need in Alaska, and it’s a long ways away, it is one of our 50 states! Great health care and modern conveniences are only a short drive away most of the time. We have staff members guiding the trip and are experts when it comes to local knowledge and ministry leadership. Safety is our #1 priority on all trips, and it’s not just lip service, we practice what we preach.

What denominations do you work with?

Every year we work with a wide variety of denominations from teams in the US and Canada and our base of church partners in Alaska is varied as well. We strive to match the team with an appropriate church partner. All churches are vetted ahead of time and sign a statement of faith.

What is the trip length?

Trips to Alaska are 8 days with the team arriving on a Saturday and departing the following Saturday. Trips run from June through August.

Do I need to take any medical precautions?

Though it’s 3,000+ miles away from the continental United States, Alaska is part of the US and no special precautions need to be taken in the form of immunizations or prescriptions. The greater concern is to dress appropriately considering the wide variability of summers in south central Alaska, which can range from 45 degrees up to 85 degrees and see frequent short rainy spells.

What travel documents do I need?

If you’re traveling from the United States to Alaska you only need a driver’s license. For adults traveling with minors who are not their children (i.e. youth leaders and youth groups), it’s a good idea to have the youth bring whatever ID they can along with a letter of consent to travel that is signed by both parents. If you’re traveling from Canada (or elsewhere in the world), bring a passport.

Is airfare included in the trip cost?

No, but the cost per person/day is all-inclusive from the time you arrive in Alaska until you depart. We partner with MKI Group Travel and highly recommend them as they can find and secure excellent prices, reserve flights with a small amount down, and they are extremely helpful if you need logistical support while traveling. For rates and inquiries contact Mike Snyder at mike@mkigrouptravel.com.

Can I make contact with my loved ones while on my trip?

While Alaska is in the United States and many cell plans will have at least some coverage we strongly recommend that calls home be placed only in case of emergency. Regular social media updates will keep loved ones back home apprised of the team’s activities, and the choice not to call home helps mission team members focus on the ministry and absorbing everything they can from their experience.

I have special dietary needs. Can these be met?

Yes! We will do our very best to meet the dietary needs or any other special needs of anyone attending our trips. Just communicate these needs ahead of time on your registration form.

Is the $400 registration fee deducted from my final payment?

No, this is a registration fee to guarantee and reserve your trip that is paid in addition to the per person cost for every group.

How do I select the ministries we will do?

Each group leader will have a missions consultant from Thirst Missions assigned who will go through ministry opportunities in detail. All group leaders have 3 scheduled conference calls to discuss the trip and are welcome to contact their trip consultants about any other questions that arise.

What can I expect for our team’s transportation?

The workhorse of our Alaska mission teams is the 15-passenger van. We will also do some walking so bring good walking shoes.

Are ministry materials provided?

Ministry materials are up to the teams to provide. Examples would be curriculum for VBS, sports equipment for sports outreach, and so on. Alaskan churches will have some resources that the group can use on a case-by-case basis.  Most ministries require little in the way of materials. You can ask your missions consultant about suggestions for materials and ministry plans. Examples of ministry materials include VBS curriculum and supplies, sports equipment, and Bibles.

Are construction supplies included in the cost of the trip?

$40 per person will be set aside by Thirst Missions toward construction costs. Your missions consultant will give you some project and cost options—if you want to stay within the funds set aside you can, or if you’d like to do a larger project you can donate extra. All the money for supplies will be used to purchase materials which will be onsite when the group arrives.

Are there any additional costs?

The only things you’ll need money for are souvenirs, church offerings, extra snacks, and money for meals at the airport. If you wish to do the glacier cruise, there an extra cost of $100 – $150 per person (depending on the cruise chosen) to cover the ticket.

How do we pay for recreation?

Payment and reservations for the glacier cruise are made on the final invoice and not paid for or reserved in Alaska.

Can you tell us about the food provided?

The food provided will, for the most part, be food Americans and Canadians are quite familiar with. We’ll have healthy breakfasts provided in the guest house, lunch most days will be a bagged lunch on the go, and dinners will be hearty meals served at the guest house, at the church, or at a local restaurant.

Can I stay in contact with people once I return home?

Yes! Please stay in contact with your new friends in Alaska. Facebook is a great way to do so, skype, or just calls or texts are a great way to do so.

What are some outreach ministry ideas?

Movie nights, worship celebrations, community meals, or sports tournaments are good outreaches. If you have good outreach ideas we are certainly happy to help you make them a reality! Check out our blog for more outreach ideas.