Friday, June 08, 2012

Leaving on a Jet Plane... getting ready for your short-term mission...

All your bags are packed and you’re ready to go… 

Or are you?

As we head into summer, thousands of people from the US will leave our shores on what has become some sort of Christian passage, the short-term mission trip.

Perhaps the destination will be some exotic locale like Fiji or Papua New Guinea.  Maybe they’ll be headed somewhere in the 10-40 Window, or perhaps, they will be driving across the country or even across town to serve.

But no matter the location, far or near, there are some important things short-term missionaries need to make sure they have safely tucked in their bags before they leave.  

1. Get some insurance. 

I recently met with someone who shared that one of the largest ministries working across the border does not provide medical insurance for short-term missionaries serving with them. 

When I asked him what they do in the event of an accident, he told me they just drive back across the border to the US.

As a short-term mission leader myself, this lack of foresight is stunning.  As a parent, it is frightening.  What if, God forbid, the worst happened and a short-termer died?  There would be no way to guarantee the safe, legal, quick repatriation of the body. 

For just a few dollars a day, leaders, churches, and families can get a policy that covers medical emergencies, baggage loss, and even a flight for a parent to be with their kids in the event of a major accident.

Do not leave our shores without mission trip insurance!

2. Get your Culture Gram.

For just a few dollars, you can get a real understanding of the issues in the country you are serving, some cultural clues, tons of demographic data and even on diet and holidays.

The Culture Gram is an invaluable tool that can really help you go better prepared to where God is sending you!

3. A list.

Make a list of the people who have supported you and enabled you to take part in your mission.

This will help you better pray for them and remember them when you need to pick up that something special to say thank you for participating in your ministry.

You do not want to get home and suddenly remember that you forgot to get a scarf or something for Aunt Lucy simply because you did not have a list of your supporters.

4. A bible.

This may sound incredible, but I have had a number of people serve with me who got to Mexico and realized they had no bible.  Don’t forget your bible and better yet, make sure it is bi lingual.

5. Additional memory sticks for your camera.

Let’s face it, you’re gonna take a lot of pictures.  You are part of the Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter/Instagram generation.  Be prepared!  Take more memory then you think you’ll need and while you are packing, make sure to put your charger and cable in the bag too.

6. A copy of your passport.

If something happens and you lose the original, a copy makes that replacement process so much simpler.  Now I know your leader is supposed to have a copy safe and secure from all alarm for you, but don’t rely on that.

Your passport, your responsibility!

Finally, take a couple of books.  I cannot imagine traveling without something to read.  The amount of time spent waiting for planes, trains, and automobiles will pass much more quickly if you are into a good book.

Besides, you won’t typically have a cell phone data plan in the country you’ll be visiting, so why not read?  it's certainly better than playing Angry Birds for hours on end.

There you have it.

7 things every person serving on short-term mission must have in their bags when they leave home to serve on short-term mission.

Like the old American Express commercial used to say… don’t leave home without ‘em!

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