My mission trip ask letter

John I. Carney
4 min readAug 20, 2019

This is the text of the letter I sent, either on paper or by e-mail, to people who’d supported me on past mission trips, or who’d expressed an interest in my future mission trip travel. I am sharing it here as well. Please feel free to share this link with others.

Dear Friend,

As most of you receiving this know, I went on nine foreign mission trips between 2003 and 2016, serving God (or trying) in Nicaragua, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Sierra Leone and five times in Kenya.

I took this photo in Kakamega, Kenya, in 2010.

All of those trips were taken through a missions group called LEAMIS International Ministries. But LEAMIS stopped doing that type of mission trip about five or six years ago. The only reason we did the Sierra Leone trip in 2016 was that it had been in the works prior to LEAMIS’ re-focus. It had to be postponed several times, most notably because of the Ebola crisis.

My mission trips have meant a great deal to me. I hope that I have been able to serve; I know that I have grown in the faith and in my appreciation of other cultures and in my understanding of the needs of the developing world and how fortunate we are to live in the United States. Through my position at the newspaper, I have a unique opportunity to share my mission trip stories with others, and I have received much positive feedback over the years. People I barely know will sometimes see me out and about in Shelbyville and ask if I’ve been on a trip lately.

I’d been thinking about future mission trip opportunities, but nothing presented itself that seemed like a good fit. I began to feel that perhaps what I was experiencing was just wanderlust and not God’s call.

Then in July, I was a chaperone with the youth from my church at a nationwide youth conference held in Kansas City. While there, I attended a breakout session about Raise The Roof Academy, a Nashville-based not-for-profit which operates a school in Uganda. I was touched and impressed by what I saw.

Raise The Roof Academy conducts a short-term mission trip each summer to its facility in Uganda. I signed up to receive further information, and when I got it, I began to feel that perhaps this was the mission trip opportunity I’d been seeking.

The trip will take place June 24 — July 6, 2020. My last couple of LEAMIS trips were just me and one other person, and so it’s exciting to think about going on a team trip again. I think traveling with a team brings a whole different energy to the enterprise.

You can find out more about RTRA at its website,
Projects during the trip will include the following:

VBS / Rhino Kid’s Camp: This team works with over 1,000 students every day to share God’s love through Bible lessons, games, skits, crafts, music, and sports.

Medical Team: This team attends to sick students and adults from the community, provides dental care, runs the eye clinic, conducts medical checks-ups and provides medicines through the pharmacy.

Skills /Sustainability Team: This team provides workshops that empower people to own the solutions to the needs in their communities. These workshops include leadership development, teacher training, entrepreneurship, skills training, and others.

Construction Team: This team works on various construction/carpentry projects. Possible projects include building shelves in classrooms, building tables, installing solar panels, painting, working on a water solution for RTRA, repairing tables and benches. The nature of the construction projects depends upon the skill levels of the team we recruit.

Child Sponsorship Team: Some team members sponsor children through RTRA to support their education. During this trip, those members will be able to meet their sponsored children and extended families. This team will also conduct interviews and house visits for the incoming sponsorship class.

It would be fun to work with the kids, but the skills/sustainability team ties in with some of the experiences from my LEAMIS trips, so I want to find out more about that one as well.

One of the biggest ways you can help me is to pray for me and my future team members. There are financial needs as well. The cost of the trip, the amount that must be submitted to RTRA, is about $3,500 per person. (I say “about” because I’m working from last year’s literature, and it’s possible that air fares or other things could change. I will keep you informed of the actual number.)

Would you please consider supporting me both prayerfully and/or financially? Monetary gifts to Raise the Roof Academy, with a note asking that they be applied to my trip expenses, are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. You can make a gift on my behalf in any of the following ways:

  • Mailing a check to Raise the Roof Academy, Mission Trip, P.O. Box 92216, Nashville, TN 37209. Please write my name in the memo section of your check.
  • You may also go to to donate with your credit or debit card, or checking account. Please choose “Mission Trip Support” from the drop-down menu and enter my name in the memo section.

If I am unable to participate in the trip for some reason, any monetary gifts raised toward supporting me will in turn be used to support the mission.


John I. Carney

John I. Carney

Author of “Dislike: Faith and Dialogue in the Age of Social Media,” available at