We required that every son go on a mission trip before graduating high school. It is a cliche to say that those who go get more out of it than those who are theoretically being ministered to.
Here's an overlooked example that will appeal to parents.
Suburban children often grow up more fussy about their food. Children often have difficulty with the concept of foods mixing together, as in a sauce, or even touching each other. Further, items such as onions, mushrooms, and all manner of vegetables may be meticulously picked out of dinners. That is, when the dinner is not rejected entirely. All children do this, suburban children are worse.
Foreign missions in high school have a salutary effect on this. When Concord Christian visited a Jamaican orphanage, made heroic efforts to eat everything put in front of them, and still saw the orphans leap for the inedible parts tossed in the garbage, it made an impression.
The two Romanian sons, who spent much of their early childhood eating lard spread on bread augmented by whatever fruit they could steal, needed no curative in this regard. When they came to America they developed preferences and even things they would rather not eat, but when the chips were down, could deal with anything. Ultimately, they could say "Dude, it's food. Eat it." Chris even went off on his lunch table in high school always complaining about the food at one point. A sternish lecture on what food reality really was. When Chris sent MRE's from the Marines to his brother, in fact, John-Adrian never figured out the part about how the heating pack was included. Ate the meal anyway, though he confessed he didn't like it much.
Ben, by far our pickiest eater, found Jamaica and a summer working in Romania quite curative. Which worked out well, since he moved to Texas. Kyle...well, let's not pick on Kyle yet. His background was fast food or frozen prepared foods heated up, so he's still adjusting to the idea of food that people actually cook.
But Jonathan's mission trip was to a drug rehab in Chicago. It worked out well, as he met someone he admired from Asbury, where he, his wife, and Ben eventually went. But Chicago food doesn't stretch the suburban palate much. His toddler daughter was over for dinner tonight, identifying the spinach as "grass," and turning up her nose at Swedish meatballs. And he, foul parent, is not providing a good example.
We should have sent him on two trips.
This is the good stuff from Romania, BTW. Really.
Vinete, an eggplant salad (Vee-neyteh)
Mitetei, a tiny sausage. (Mee-tets)
Sarmale and mamaliga
Mamaliga, egg, sour cream, God-knows-what.