1. How safe are the mission trips?
Awe Star’s first priority is the safety of everyone involved in a Global Passage. Therefore, before travel occurs, we constantly communicate with our contacts and missionaries in a country, as well as embassy and transportation officials, to evaluate the political and physical environment carefully. Awe Star refuses to take a passive stance on safety and has at times closed country options or moved students to ensure safety. In addition, Awe Star takes a personal interest in safety since members of our own staff (and often their spouses and children) participate on each Global Passage.
2. Does the organization provide overseas insurance for my child?
Overseas medical insurance is included in the cost of the Global Passage. Awe Star uses Seven Corners Insurance, one of the industry’s most experienced group travel providers. The insurance policy for your child includes medical expenses, emergency medical transportation, medical assistance with worldwide medical emergencies, property insurance, disability income benefits, and coverage for accidental death and dismemberment.
3. Does the staff have any medical training?
Awe Star mandates that all in-country leadership receive CPR and First Aid training. Two full-time Awe Star staff members are certified by the American Red Cross as CPR and First Aid Instructors, and they train the in-country leadership each year.
4. How does the staff make medical decisions?
Each Awe Star missionary is enrolled in the Seven Corners Assist program. Seven Corners Assist specializes in overseas medical care and orchestrates the course of action concerning medical decisions. It is a network of thousands of international doctors and hospitals and 24/7 emergency assistance. If a medical problem should arise on the mission field, an Awe Star staff member will contact the Seven Corners Assist medical advisers. These advisers consult with the attending physicians to make sure your child receives correct medical care. If more sophisticated treatment is deemed necessary by Seven Corners Assist—treatment which may require evacuation to better medical facilities—arrangements will be made for land and air transportation including passage on either a commercial or chartered air ambulance with in-flight physicians, paramedics or nurses, and in-flight equipment. In addition, Seven Corners Assist handles all family arrangements as well as immigrations and customs details. (To read more about the Seven Corners Assist program, see https://www2.sevencorners.com) You should never send your child with a mission organization that does not have this kind of medical care in place.
5. Who leads the organization?
Awe Star Ministries Inc., a 501(C) 3 non-profit organization, is under the leadership of Dr. Walker Moore, Rev. Chad Thompson, and a board of directors who oversee the operations of the ministry. Dr. Moore, who has been working with students for over 30 years, founded and continues to preside over Awe Star. A leading speaker and author, his teaching touches thousands of homes each year, and he travels frequently to preach in churches across the country. He is the author of You Wanna Pierce What?, The 923 Call, Rite of Passage Parenting and his newest book Escape the Lie. His weekly “Rite of Passage” column in the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger reaches over 300,000 homes each week. Dr. Moore has been featured on the 700 Club as well as Trinity Broadcasting Network.
Rev. Chad Thompson joins Dr. Moore as Awe Star’s Vice-President of International Operations. Chad interacts with missionaries, nationals, and team leadership to put details in place months before a trip occurs. He has a heartbeat for missions and a passion for students. Chad has been a Student Pastor for almost 10 years. He has experienced what Awe Star Ministries and the “Rite of Passage” teaching does in students lives and how transforming it is to a student’s ministry. With Chad’s passion for global outreach he is committed to see the next generation take the Gospel to the world.
6. What is the leadership structure of the organization?
Awe Star installs team leadership to provide maximum safety and ministry. Each Global Passage has one male and one female Country Coordinator who work directly with the national pastors, missionaries, and translators. Country Coordinators also manage finances, handle medical emergencies, and guide the other in-country leadership. The next level of leadership consists of one male and one female Team Director. The Team Directors watch over the safety of your child and lead the visits to ministry sites. The team never leaves for ministry without the Team Directors. Finally, Awe Star uses MOMs and POPs, one for every four to five students on a team, who are with your child 24 hours a day and disciple them on the field. Awe Star does not permit your child to travel without a MOM or POP.
Awe Star is very selective and meticulous about the people we place in leadership positions. We examine age, experience, and maturity as well as leadership and decision-making skills. We also look for a passionate relationship with Jesus Christ, servant’s heart, character, and integrity. Potential leaders are screened through an application process and attend intensive cross-cultural, counseling, and worst-case scenario training before the trip.
7. Will my child be in an environment where he/she can grow spiritually?
Awe Star ministry focuses on two things: discipleship and evangelism. Therefore, on each Global Passage, Awe Star implements a four-tiered discipleship program. First, Awe Star resources feature pre-mission training. When your child receives his/her Missionary Kit, he/she is asked to watch a video and read a booklet outlining basic biblical concepts that will be reinforced throughout the mission experience. Second, at Awe Star University mission training, your child will continue the discipleship process alongside other students who make up his/her mission team. The three days of intensive training in cross-cultural principles and language also includes an emphasis on evangelism training, developing ministry skills, and worshiping God as the Lord of his/her life and of this world. Third, your child is discipled in-country. This phase of discipleship is vital to the growth of each student missionary. As your child ministers daily, his/her walk with the Lord will be stretched. Knowing this, Awe Star feeds your child spiritually by centering each day around the four “Awe Factors” taken from Acts 2:41-43: teaching, evangelism, worship, and prayer. Fourth, debriefing is one the most critical aspects of the discipleship process. During this time, your child is taught how to move what he/she learned on the mission field to become part of his/her everyday life. Each child is taught how to discover his/her mission field, share what God has done in his/her life, and to be a window for others to see what God is doing around the world.
8. What kind of rules does the organization have in place?
Every Awe Star rule falls within one of three categories. First, we have rules that ensure safety. These rules help us provide a safe trip for your child. Second, we have cross-cultural rules. These rules keep our teams from offending the nationals with whom we work. Frequently, there are gestures or distinct mannerisms that Americans use that other cultures consider offensive. At Awe Star University missions training, each student missionary attends classes on cross-cultural rules for his/her country. Third, we have rules in place that enable us to conduct effective ministry. Because we represent Christ, we do not allow smoking, pornography, alcohol, etc. We outline the Awe Star rules and regulations in detail in a packet sent to the home of each student missionary.
9. What kind of experience will my child gain on the mission trip?
Awe Star is structured to allow your child to experience a Rite of Passage into adulthood by providing him/her with knowledge and skills for adult living. One-half of the trip is designed to impart knowledge, and the other half imparts practical skills in handling communication, finances, leadership, ministry, problem-solving, and more. Awe Star intentionally places your child in supervised situations that allow him/her to try these newfound skills.
10. Will my child have any fun?
Definitely. But Awe Star believes in something even more fun than fun: joy! You child will begin to discover the joy of doing a job well done. He/she will experience the joy of working together and seeing God use the team to do incredible things. Your child will laugh and play with the team. Student missionaries will go shopping in marketplaces or play along the beach on their day off, but Awe Star’s goal goes far beyond a fun experience to the discovery of joy. Long after the fun is over, the joy remains. In fact, both elements may last even longer than you expect. Several Awe Star missionaries have formed lifelong friendships during Awe Star Global Passages.
11. Has your organization ever sent anyone home from the mission trip?
Yes. The safety of the Awe Star team and the integrity of the ministry are essential. Before your child participates in an Awe Star Global Passage, we ask him/her and the parents/guardians (if your child is under 18) to sign the Awe Star Rules and Regulations. This document lists circumstances that would lead Awe Star leadership to send a student missionary home. An Awe Star missionary will not be allowed to jeopardize the safety of his/her team, himself/herself, or the purpose of the ministry. If the need arises to send an Awe Star missionary home, the parent/guardian will be notified and the situation will be discussed in detail. The total cost of the trip home will be the financial responsibility of the missionary or his/her parent/guardian.
12. What does the cost of the trip include?
The base cost of an Awe Star Global Passage includes Awe Star University missions training and debriefing; missions materials; drama costumes; flights or other transportation to and from the mission field; and all meals, lodging and ground transportation at Awe Star University missions training, debriefing and in-country ministry. In addition, the base cost covers all administrative expenses: leadership; preparatory trips; and all communication via calls, letters, and faxes to overseas contacts.
The cost does not include airfare from your home to Awe Star University missions training, passport, visa costs (if applicable), U.S. Customs departure taxes, or souvenir money. In addition, any costs incurred due to a serious violation of Awe Star rules or a family emergency are not Awe Star’s financial responsibility.
13. Is there financial benefit to me, as a parent, for my child to go with your organization?
Glad you asked! Hannibal-LaGrange College in Hannibal, Missouri offers a minimum $3,200 scholarship to any student who has participated in a one-term Global Passage with Awe Star. The scholarship can be as much as $8,000 if your child plans to go into ministry and majors accordingly. This scholarship may also be added to others your child receives. Hannibal-LaGrange College is an accredited Southern Baptist college dedicated to training students to live the lifestyle of a missionary no matter what their vocation.