Participating in a mission trip can be a great opportunity to serve another country by providing spiritual growth, labor resources or hunger relief. There are some who have felt the need to do mission work their whole lives and are sure it’s what they’re called to do. Although you might be one of those people, you still need to know how to prepare for a mission trip.
Raising Money for the Trip
Unfortunately, mission trip work isn’t free. You have to pay for what you’d pay for any other trip: flight tickets, lodging, food and transportation. The plus side is that you can raise money by taking donations from your home church and through donations from the community. There are many ways you can successfully raise the money needed for a mission trip.
One way is by asking people in your church to sponsor individuals going on the mission trip. Make sure those who need donations the most get sponsored first. Another way to raise money is by reaching out to the community for donations. A little incentive goes a long way – raffles, bake sales and cookouts have always been tried and true methods of raising money.
Research the Culture
Don’t let your good intentions be overshadowed by accidentally offending someone in the country where you’re traveling. Learn what makes their culture different from yours in terms of dress code, table manners, etiquette and respect. Talk to people whom you have contact with in the mission country and ask them to explain what the group will need to know in order to make a good impression with the locals. Learning the language, or at least the basics, will also help you communicate with people in the country.
Packing List and Preparation
Since the focus of a mission trip is to serve others, pack only the essentials. Clothes should be weather-appropriate and modest – bring plenty of work clothes for construction or housework, dress clothes for church services and a few casual outfits for meals or outings. Pack toiletries, including soap, toothpaste, deodorant and contact solution, in case they’re not readily available at your destination.
Everyone should have necessary documentation – passports, plane tickets and immunization records should be taken with you. Medications, including antacids and other stomach medications, and medical information should also be packed.
Besides serving those in need, safety should be a top priority on a mission trip, especially if there are children or teens traveling with you. Take the same precautions you’d normally take in the U.S., including being aware of your surroundings at all times and never traveling alone at night. In addition, try to blend in with the locals as much as possible: don’t walk around everywhere while looking at your map, don’t wear expensive jewelry or accessories and only ask people for help if necessary. Obtaining insurance that covers missionaries, like atlas travel insurance, will ensure that your group will be covered in case of an emergency.
A mission trip is a life-changing experience. There’s no better way to travel than to be able to help those in need while experiencing life in a different country. Start preparing for your mission trip today and fulfill your life’s calling.