Short term missions trip to Phuket

This is a guest post by Darren Nelson. Darren is the young adults director at Santa Rosa Bible Church located in Santa Rosa California. Darren recently co-led a group of young adults who participated in an FFI exposure trip to Phuket, Thailand. 

Sitting on that beach I felt, more than ever, the contrast between beauty and brokenness.

We were sitting in a circle on beautiful Patong Beach with amazing scenery in front of us

and almost unreal depravity behind us. We had just finished walking down Bangla Street,

seeing the center of Phuket’s sex industry and the bondage that exists there for tourists,

locals, and those who have been exploited. As Darren Herbold (FFI’s Director) read

from Psalm 46, I felt God’s Spirit moving on all of us. God was calling us to be a part of

His mission across the world to bring restoration and beauty to the broken places on

God’s earth. Some experiences are quickly forgotten, but coming to Phuket was

different. Something changed. God was moving. And we were ready to respond.

My name is Darren and I had the privilege of co-leading (with the missions pastor from

my church in Northern California) the first team visit for Paul and Allie Beeghly with FFI.

Our trip greatly exceeded all our expectations and solidified for us that a “vision trip”—

where the focus was on learning, growing, and experiencing (rather than doing)—was

well worth it and used by God in amazing ways. We arrived with uncertainty but left

changed and sharing a heart for the beautiful but broken place that is Phuket.

What we did

Most of our days there were spent learning and being exposed to what is going on in

Phuket and how God is beginning to do amazing things there. Our learning, training,

and exposure centered around the themes of culture, mission, and justice. Hearing

presentations from FFI team members, engaging in group discussion on relevant topics,

helping minister in tangible ways, and seeing missions work around the city first-hand

were eye-opening experiences that helped the change begin in us while we were there.

Back at Home

At home now, when I think back on memories of our trip I think of incredibly powerful

times of prayer, of seeing depravity contrasted with beauty, of serving the local people,

of helping send a woman back home who was caught up in the sex industry, and of

being inspired by Darren and Naomi, Paul and Allie, and the rest of the team. When I

think back on these things my heart still feels God using all of them and so many more to

change me and mold me into the person He wants me to be. Thinking back on it

compels me to live with intention every day back here in California—to strive by God’s

grace to live a life focused on bringing the hope of Jesus to those around me.

How We’ve Changed

It has been so encouraging to see the change God is making because of this trip. One

young woman in our group is now volunteering with FFI, using her gifts and talents to

help them fulfill their mission! A young man in our group has interviewed for a new job

with fewer hours so he can spend more time serving the Lord! Our Young Adults spent

last night praying over our own city and is pursuing new ways to serve young people

here! God has honored our faithfulness to go to Phuket by using the trip to make us

more devoted to Him and more like Jesus!


I am so thankful for what God is doing in Phuket and how FFI is making an impact there.

We were changed from our time there and will always have a heart and a connection for

Phuket, as well as a stronger vision and passion to be on mission in our own culture,

halfway around the world.

About The Author


Founder of For Freedom International. Bringing hope & freedom to those without. Passionate about helping people move towards decision and clarity. #Create #Lead #Change the world.

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