Frequently Asked Questions for Family Members

Photo by Andrew Nicodem / ITeams

A member of your family has expressed interest in serving in another culture for an extended period of time. This may usher in a range emotions including pride and anxiety, excitement and concern. We can assure you – all of those feelings are normal! We want to help answer some of the questions you may have and provide practical ways you can help your family member have a healthy transition to cross-cultural living. We also recommend that you check out the National Network of Parents of Workers and the book How to Thrive and Stay Connected When Your Children and Grandchildren Serve Cross-Culturally.

We are so excited that a member of your family is interested in serving with International Teams and we believe that your involvement and support are a vital part of this ministry. If you feel like God may be tugging on your own heart regarding cross-cultural service, please contact us about next steps. Our Mobilization Team would be thrilled to talk to you about how your unique experiences, education and skill set could be used to served the oppressed and advance the Kingdom.

Who is International Teams?

Founded in 1960, International Teams is committed to continuing the work that Jesus started and brings people together to help the oppressed in order to meet the spiritual and physical needs of the whole person. We partner with churches, businesses and schools to send workers to serve on multicultural teams throughout the world. We want to continue the work of Jesus by bringing hope, dignity, and wholeness to victims of economic, physical and spiritual oppression. We want to see lives and entire communities transformed by the power of God.

Is ITeams affiliated with a denomination or faith tradition?

In its early years, International Teams was connected largely with local churches of Plymouth Brethren heritage. Today, as an interdenominational organization, we are not solely aligned with any particular faith tradition, but serve numerous branches of Christ's church. To learn more about what we believe, see our Statement of Faith.

How does health insurance work with ITeams?

All workers serving with ITeams, whether short-term, mid-term, or long-term are required to have valid health insurance coverage for the duration of their time of service. If your family member does not have adequate coverage, our Benefits Administrator will work with him/her to arrange for the most beneficial coverage from our health plan options.

What plans are in place for medical and political emergencies? Natural disasters?

ITeams takes very seriously the possibility of medical, political and natural emergencies. Though we do not want to live in fear, it is our intent to be adequately prepared for such situations, however unlikely. All full-time workers serving outside of the U.S. are eligible to enroll in our group insurance policy. This includes provision for medical evacuation should it be deemed necessary to receive medical attention outside of the worker's place of ministry. Additionally, we are equipped to activate a Crisis Management Team in the case of a political or natural emergency. We also have a Security Advisor on staff to assist us with such matters. If you feel like a family member is in danger, you can contact our office at 847-429-0900 with your questions or concerns.

Why do your workers ask people to support them financially?

We believe that all of God's people are called to participate in His transforming work by going, giving or sending. When our workers share the vision of what God has called them to do, they give others an opportunity to participate in the ministry through their prayers, financial and other support. Both the giver and the receiver are called to live by faith, trusting in God's provision. Asking people to give financially is merely one aspect of what we hope will be a long-term partnership.

What happens with the financial support that's raised? Where does it go?

Donors make tax-deductible gifts to ITeams for the ministry of International Teams. For long-term workers, donations are allocated to the worker in the form of one-time set up costs and a monthly salary. For short-term and mid-term workers, those donations are allocated to the worker in the form of a monthly stipend. In conjunction with our HR/Finance Department, each worker/worker family that serves with International Teams creates an individualized budget that is determined by the location of service, the type of ministry, the housing and transportation needs, etc. of each worker or worker family. Based on this approved budget, the worker receives a salary (stipend if short-term or mid-term) to cover the aforementioned expenses. A portion (15%) of the financial support that has been donated is allocated to a general ministry fund called the Global Service Fund (GSF). These funds are designed to contribute towards the administration of the global ministries of International Teams. The worker is responsible for raising the full budget amount before leaving for the field. International Teams is a member of the ECFA. Please contact our Finance Department at 847-429-0900 if you have further questions.

Can our family member come home while he/she is serving cross-culturally?

The amount of vacation time allotted to each worker will vary depending on the length of the worker's assignment with International Teams. It is up to the individual worker to decide how they would like to spend their vacation time, based upon personal funds available for travel and approval from the team leader.

Can I visit my family member while he/she is on the field?

Most locations are happy to host family visitors and short-term teams from the worker's home church. This is a great way to get a better picture of the life and ministry of your loved one. Please make sure to clear all personal visits in advance with the team leader in order to come at the most convenient time for the team and the ministry. Also, all short-term teams should coordinate their trip through our Short-Term Teams Coordinator, Daniel Kinnaird (daniel.kinnaird@iteams.org).

What can I do to help my family member while he/she is on the field?

You are an important part of your family member's support team while he/she is on the field. There are a number of things you can do to help your family member recognize that he/she is not forgotten. Don't forget to keep in touch – call, email, video chat and ask if your family member is able to receive packages. Be an advocate for your family member in your local church encouraging people to continue to pray for and give towards his/her ministry. You may also be a catalyst to lead or organize a short-term team to visit and encourage your family member. Above all, ask your family member what he/she would appreciate.

Who will be helping my family member with logistical matters, and caring for them while they are on the field?

Part of the ethos of International Teams is sending workers to work on teams. Therefore, all workers serving with ITeams report directly to a team leader. The team leader will be the primary on-field contact for your family member prior to his/her departure (unless another team member has this specific responsibility). The on-site team will arrange for transportation and housing upon in-country arrival and help the new worker with on-field orientation issues and logistics. We believe that the spiritual and emotional support of each worker should come from a combination of the local team and team leader, the home office and the supporting churches and individual supporters of each worker. If you or your church would like to know how you can be more supportive of your on-field worker, please contact our VP of Ministry Development, Scott White, at scott.white@iteams.org.

Who should I contact if I have questions while my family member is serving?

If you have any questions related to your family member or his/her support, please contact our office at 847-429-0900. Our receptionist should be able to direct your call based on the nature of your inquiry. You can also email info@iteams.org if you have a general question. We're happy to help in any way we can.