This Fridea is not only timely, it’s timely. And timely.
I think it was a Passion conference where I first heard the appeal for Christian college students to get their passport – even if they presently had no plans to go overseas. That appeal makes all the sense in the world, for both practical and spiritual reasons:
- It keeps legal barriers from standing in the way if & when an opportunity to go overseas comes. Since regular processing time is 4-6 weeks and expedited is still 2-3 weeks, it’s wise to be ready. (Details here.)
- This is a step toward global awareness. And it actually helps that it’s a little costly – both in effort and money. Once students have actually spent something, their own global awareness and openness to God’s call will likely increase.
- This also encourages openness to any call God might give and presents a (small) crisis of faith. For some students, getting a passport might be a scary step – since it implies they might indeed serve overseas at some point. That’s a good thing for students to face, right?
So that’s this week’s Fridea: Organize a passport drive.
I mentioned above that this is timely. Why? Not only is it a good idea to help college students apply for a passport well before summertime, it’s also a great idea to do it before the upcoming GIANT RATE HIKES. As reported here by CNN, substantial fee hikes are planned for both first-time passports and renewals – but, says the article, the earliest they would take effect is probably April.
Timely reason #3: March 27th is “Passport Day in the USA.” While I don’t completely know what that means, you can read about it here. That fact might increase the opportunity to get those outside your ministry involved.
(Passport issues are also on my mind as I locate my own passport to check the date! More details on that situation to come – but it should be my very first international college ministry exploration…)
Some thoughts on the Why and the How:
- This would be excellent to do within your ministry, especially combined with a talk or other activity on God’s global interests (whether that’s missions, social justice, or something else).
- But there are lots of opportunities to connect campus-wide on this one, too, in an emphasis on global concerns. Social justice? Various ethnic identity or international affairs clubs? Certain majors?
- While you can’t complete the Passport process on-site, you should be able to… (1) Provide filing forms, (2) Help students understand requirements and fees, (3) Offer photocopies of necessary ID documents (using a printer with copy capabilities), (4) Provide passport photos (possibly – be sure to follow the rules). All those steps are explained here.
Also, remember that a passport is now needed to travel anywhere outside the U.S., including Canada, Mexico, or the Carribean. (There are special passport cards for such nearby places, but why limit yourself?)
If anybody has any tips on doing this, please let us know!