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John Wooden, one of the greatest coaches ever, was UCLA’s basketball coach who led them to ten national championships. He is the only person inducted into the Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach. He would always tell his players, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” For him, preparation was a key ingredient to the team’s success.

When we talk about preparing yourself for an international trip, we mean you must take the time to develop your heart and mind so that you can serve well. It takes preparation, and just like Coach Wooden discovered, it is your first step for a successful trip. If you skip or rush through pre-trip planning, you are likely to miss the full impact of the trip. The truth is what you sow, you will reap. What you invest into your trip, you will get in return. The seeds you plant today will create the harvest you will enjoy tomorrow.

Abraham Lincoln said, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.” Nothing is more frustrating than chopping wood with a blunt blade, and nothing is more frustrating than going on trip knowing you could have prepared better in order to maximize the experience. It’s in the preparation that most people fail—not the trip.

  • Prepare yourself spiritually by utilizing the pre-trip Go Guide Devotional. Getting spiritually ready is probably the most important thing you can do. Jesus will touch your heart in a very specific way as you serve Him. There will be promptings by the Holy Spirit to make a change or shift in your heart, your thinking or in your approach to life. The goal of this pre-trip devotional is for you to be fully ready for the work that God has handpicked you to do. God has placed your name on a specific work for you to do when you go. In order for you to get ready, we have written a five-day series of short devotions. Please start these devotions five days before you leave on your trip and complete the day you leave.


  • Every person traveling on the trip needs to complete the Trip Participant Agreement and give a signed copy to the Trip Leader. This is important to get everyone going on the trip on the same page. This creates clear expectations for all participants. Getting everyone united creates clarity and focus.


  • Complete the International Trip Release Form and return to your Trip Leader. FCA International does everything possible to ensure that all participants enjoy a safe and life-changing experience. FCA International wishes to inform you that the personal information you provide will be used strictly for administrative and operating purposes. The information you provide will be kept safe to the best of our ability, and we will not release or share your information for other purposes without permission from you.


  • While serving on your trip, you will have many opportunities to share your faith. One of the best ways is to share your personal story or your testimony. Before you share your testimony one-on-one or in front of a group, it is important to prepare and practice. The goal of sharing your testimony is to introduce others to Jesus Christ. Please take time to review the Testimony Guidelines as you prepare your testimony.