COST: Grants for Mission Trips

by Mike Frith
Posted on 1st December 2023

Did you know there's a trust that gives small grants to those embarking on mission trips, placements or gap years?

Christians in Overseas Service Trust (COST) was established in 1972 to assist short term volunteers to obtain initial funding, which enables and facilitates them through the provision of monetary grants. COST is open to applications only from Christians who are British nationals.

The Trust was founded by the Bible and Medical Missionary Fellowship (now INTERSERVE) but works with all mission agencies.

In the last 20 years, the Trust has assisted almost two thousand students and other young people. The policy is to provide a grant that is modest but significant. The emphasis has been on assisting gap year students, medical electives and bible college students. This emphasis remains but is not exclusive.

The intention is to kick-start the process of fund raising to help them secure additional funds from other sources. The Trust's grant may be likened to a "pump priming" contribution.

Here are a few extracts from the report of one of our most recent recipients:

In August 2023, I headed off to Papua New Guinea (PNG) to undertake 5 weeks of medical mission as part of my elective. I am a final year medical student at University and I wanted to combine this opportunity to use the training I’ve received so far with mission work. I travelled to a northern coastal town in PNG to work with a Medical Team who travel to rural communities providing primary healthcare being the hands and feet of Jesus. Their goal is to reach the isolated communities in this area by bringing healthcare and the good news of the Gospel.

I was part of the medical team, and we had members join us from many different countries and bring with them different skills. It was awesome knowing that God had called each of us here to PNG for his purpose and that it was no accident. There was great comfort in knowing this. As part of our outreaches, we travelled to many different villages, islands, one school and two rehabilitation centres providing primary healthcare. We were like a GP practice on wheels!

As part of my orientation, I had been briefed on some of the conditions that we were likely to be treating. Some of the most common ailments were scabies, grille, back pain, cough, malaria, malnourishment, wounds, and worms just to name a few with many referrals for cataracts and suspected TB. I had never encountered many of these conditions during my placements in the UK, however, by the end of my five weeks with the team I did feel more confident in recognising symptoms and knowing the best treatment needed.

I was very grateful for the wisdom of the other team members and ultimately for God for his protection to us in our travels and from some of the contagious diseases we were encountering. What I really loved was being able to pray for patients at the end of consultations – something that you could never do in the NHS. I was greatly encouraged by the strong faith of some of the people we met. One stand-out example was a man at the City Mission Centre which is a rehabilitation centre for men who have previously been involved in crime, drugs, alcohol or being homeless and are trained in skills and taught about Jesus. This young man who had been saved since coming to this centre asked for prayer for his brothers at home who are still involved in “bad things” he said. How amazing is the power of the Gospel. Lives are being changed.

The medical work was very diverse and definitely challenging at times, however, I was reassured of the verse in 1 Corinthians 15:58 that our work in Lord Jesus will not be in vain.

My time in PNG was an incredible experience. I grew so much in my understanding of their healthcare, grew in my faith and have left with more brothers and sisters in Christ. I would like to thank COST so much for their very kind donation that contributed to this trip being possible. As we said a lot in PNG: God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good!

If you are planning a trip from the UK to overseas in 2024, take a look at We may be able to help.

Mike Frith is the Founding Director of OSCAR. Prior to starting OSCAR, he worked as a pilot/engineer with Mission Aviation Fellowship where he spent time living in the USA, France, Switzerland, Madagascar and Uganda. He has been involved in working with, supporting, training and resourcing cross-cultural workers for over 25 years. He is married to Cheryl and they have two grown up children, Joanna and Will. Mike is also General Secretary of COST, a trust that gives grants to mission volunteers.