Are you preparing for a mission’s trip? Maybe you haven’t signed up yet, but you are thinking about it! If so, it’s important to start preparing as soon as your heart feels a tug towards the mission field. But how do you prepare? We have you covered with three simple things to do before you go on a mission’s trip:
1. Answer your why.
Define the reasons you want to go on a mission’s trip. If you can’t answer your why and have it be a genuine, God-honoring reason, then spend some more time reflecting on your answer. To help you answer your “why,” ask yourself the following questions:
Where is your heart?
What is your purpose?
What is your vision for the trip?
What is your desired outcome?
When you get clear on your why, you can be intentional about how you spend your time on your trip. If your “why” is to gain more experience in the medical field, that will be your focus. If your vision is to have opportunities to share Jesus with those who aren’t able to hear until their physical needs are met, then that will be your purpose and every action you take will be centered around it. Define your why so that your trip can have a clear, focused intention and you can walk away knowing that you gave it your all.
2. Gather prayer support.
Whenever you agree to follow God into a new and uncomfortable situation, you are opening the doors to spiritual warfare. Now, it’s important not to let this scare you because you are already victorious. You have God on your side and there has not and will not be a time He is defeated. However, without being aware of the potential spiritual battles and without calling on God, you alone are left vulnerable. One way to be sure you are preparing for battle is to gather people around you who will agree to pray for you before, during, and after your trip! Prayer is like an armor of protection around you, and it’s important to wear this armor on the mission field.
Here are 7 ways your prayer group can pray for you.
3. Prepare spiritually.
You may be the first and only one to plant the Gospel seed into the people’s lives you meet on the mission field. If this is the case, you must be prepared spiritually. You must know the story of salvation and be able to share it clearly and accurately.
One of the best ways to prepare for this spiritual calling is to get into God’s Word. We must know God if we are going to share Him. And this doesn’t mean knowing him through a third party like a pastor or a devotional book (though that’s important). This means diving directly into His Word.
When going through the Bible, don’t just mindlessly read to check off a “must-do” task on your list. Instead, allow God to use His Word in your life because it is living and active!
In The Gospel Coalition, Professor Matthew Harmon walks us through two simple sets of questions to ask every time we open our Bibles:
Understanding the Bible:
1. What do we learn about God?
2. What do we learn about people?
3. What do we learn about relating to God?
4. What do we learn about relating to others?
Applying the Bible:
1. What does God want me to understand?
2. What does God want me to believe?
3. What does God want me to desire?
4. What does God want me to do?
We hope you will use these tips to prepare for your trip. Let us know how we can be praying for you as you make your decision to join us on the mission field!
We have written a post in the past all about the essentials to pack for a mission’s trip (find the packing list here), but there are some things you may not think to bring but will thank us later, after you read this post!
Here are 5 items you may not think to pack for a mission’s trip:
1. A headlamp
This one was on the packing list, but it’s often looked over or a flashlight is chosen in its place. But there is a big chance that where you might be going, the power is not always consistent. When I was abroad for three months in DR Congo, we would have power working all day and then always lose it at 7 pm at night. I more than wished I had brought a headlamp for hands-free light!
2. A tumbler.
I don’t know about you, but wherever I am in the world, I want to wake up and have my tea. My husband is this way with coffee. A tumbler is great for a mission’s trip because you can make up your coffee and take it to go (wherever that may be). And no matter how much work you have that morning, your morning beverage should stay warm!
3. A bandana
These are multipurpose. Use them as a hand towel, hair tie, or to dip in water and then tie around your forehead or neck to stay cool. Use to filter out water if you are ever in a desperate situation where clean water isn’t available.
4. Duct Tape
I feel this one is self-explanatory. I mean, duct tape fixes everything! Just wrap the tape several times around your water bottle and then peel off whenever you need some throughout the trip! Use it to patch up items that break or tear, hold things together, cover up dangerous outlets, and more!
5. Baby Wipes
As much as you will want to shower, sometimes it’s just not always feasible. Baby wipes will give you that fresh feeling until the opportunity to shower presents itself. Use to freshen up throughout the day or at the end of the day before climbing into bed. You’ll find yourself using wipes more than you imagined and probably lending some out to other participants on the trip!
What extra items do YOU recommend for the trip? Let us know in the comments!
As children of God, we have all been given unique gifts. Strengths are such an important part of understanding a person and the way God created him/her, yet we often don’t take the time to explore our given gifts/strengths. We volunteer for specific jobs or tasks, but they don’t always align with our gifts and talents. If we want to make the most impact in the world, we have to start living in a way that honors our given strengths.
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” –1 Peter 4:10-11
If you are attending or leading a mission’s trip, I challenge you to spend time beforehand really delving into strengths discovery. There is a free Character Strengths Assessment participants can take here. Leaders should have participants send the results to them, and then the entire team can meet together for a debrief to follow. Be sure that everyone attending the trip (leaders included) takes this assessment.
Here are questions leaders can ask during a strengths discovery debrief with the mission’s team:
What surprised you about your results?
What pleased you about your results?
How do you think your results will positively impact the team?
What responsibilities during the mission’s trip experience do you believe would fit well with your unique strengths?
After these questions are answered, leaders should work hard to allocate roles based on the strengths of the team members. Responsibilities should be given to the ideal person for the job based on his/her strengths. And remember, the best kind of team is one that is well-rounded.
“A genius in the wrong position could look like a fool.”
Your vision for your trip will be better accomplished when you include strengths discovery in your preparations. Think about it; some participants have never explored their strengths, so not only will they be able to discover the ways the Lord created them but they will, for the first time, get to live into their strengths while on the trip! This will increase the impact they will make and transform the way they live from then on!
It’s important to be spending time in prayer leading up to a mission’s trip. Prayer is the most powerful tool we have and can completely transform our experience on the mission field. But with all that you have to prepare — fundraising, vaccinations, packing, etc. — it’s easy to put prayer on the back burner and be less intentional than you would like to be.
We want to make it easy and give you seven prayers to pray before your mission’s trip:
1. Pray that you will show up with open eyes.
You will be stepping outside of your comfort zone, so it may be easy to try to shield yourself from the difficult things you will see. Pray that God will open your eyes to see His people through a lens that He sees them.
2. Pray that you will develop a clear voice to speak the Gospel.
God can use us whether we speak well or struggle speaking at all. Spend time in prayer that the voice you use to spread the Gospel will be clear and unhindered. The Lord WILL speak through you when you are open and willing!
3. Pray that your ears are available to listen to the Lord’s leading and the needs of the people.
You will have conversations leading up to your trip and during your trip that you will need to have open ears to listen to. This could be encouragement or advice from those who have gone before you. Or the people you serve may express their needs to you, and, by listening, you can make a deeper impact!
4. Pray that you will learn to give love unconditionally.
Everywhere you go, there are people who are hard to love. You may be serving someone who is completely unwilling to listen to the Gospel or is ungrateful for the treatment you offer. This can be discouraging, but it’s also part of what to expect. Pray that you can love those people despite them keeping you at arm’s length and being ungrateful.
You may even struggle to connect with people on your team, but you must love them as well.
5. Pray for your spirit to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is always willing to take an active role in your life; all you have to do is ask! Begin praying before your trip that the Holy Spirit will fill you with its wisdom. Learn to recognize the Holy Spirit’s nudges and follow His lead! This will be great to practice before you are on the mission field.
6. Pray that you will develop a servant’s heart.
Since you signed-up to attend a mission’s trip, it can be assumed that you have a servant’s heart. But some sign-up for the experience or the volunteer hours/class credit and the serving doesn’t come naturally. That’s okay! You can pray beforehand that you will develop a servant’s heart, if you haven’t already, and watch the Lord grant you this desire!
7. Pray that your heart breaks for what breaks Christ’s.
The Lord loves those you are going to serve. His heart breaks for them! Pray for a lens that allows you to see what the Lord sees and for your heart to break for what breaks Christ’s heart. This will give you a deeper connection to the people AND to Christ.
For those who have gone on a mission’s trip and intentionally prayed beforehand, how do you believe that impacted your trip? Tell us in the comments!
Most of us are caught up on routine vaccinations, but before you go on a mission’s trip, you need to be sure you have the right vaccinations that go with the area you are traveling to.
We want to make it easy and walk through the possible vaccinations that you may need as well as educate you on each disease and virus you can contract if you don’t protect yourself.
Below is a detailed chart of the vaccinations each area around the world recommends before travel:
||Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Malaria*
|Mexico / Caribbean
||Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Malaria*
||Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Yellow Fever, Malaria*
||Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B
||Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis
||Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis, Malaria*
||Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Yellow Fever, Meningitis, Malaria*
Here’s the breakdown of each vaccination…
HEPATITIS B VACCINATION
Especially for those who attend medical mission’s trips, it’s important to get the Hepatitis B vaccine. The virus is contracted through blood or bodily fluids by an infected person. There are not systems in place to protect you from exposure in the hospitals of third world countries the way hospitals are set up in the U.S. The symptoms of Hep B can lead to lifelong health issues.
HEPATITIS A VACCINATION
Exposure to Hepatitis A affects the liver through food or water that has been poorly sanitized. As a result, Hep A leaves a person sick and nauseous for months. At home, you prepare your own food or order food from a restaurant that has preparation health guidelines to follow. But when you are overseas, food is usually prepared for you or is left sitting out without proper precautions. You aren’t always able to control the sanitization of the food you eat, so it’s important to protect yourself.
You’ve all heard of the bacteria Salmonella. It’s the reason we can’t enjoy raw cookie dough as frequently as we like. Well, Typhoid is a fever caused by Salmonella. The same symptoms as Hep A occur as a result of Typhoid exposure. If left untreated, the sickness and fever can be life-threatening.
Another disease that attacks the liver is the Yellow Fever virus. Mosquitos in tropical and subtropical areas of the world like South America and Africa spread the Yellow Fever virus. The symptoms vary but can potentially be dangerous.
You’ve probably heard of malaria, but there’s another disease that can be spread by mosquitos in parts of Australia and Asia. Mosquitos are not only outdoors, they can come inside as well so they are nearly impossible to avoid altogether. Japanese Encephalitis causes mild sickness but in some cases can produce inflammation of the brain and be life-threatening. Contracting this disease is rare, but it’s worth protecting yourself.
You will want to be sure to eliminate the threat of Meningitis. This disease is caused by bacteria that is passed through the saliva of someone carrying the disease. If you contract Meningitis, you can become very sick and even obtain an infection of the bloodstream.
One more thing
Be sure to also get a malaria preventative prescription.
So far, there is no vaccination for malaria, but there are a few preventative prescriptions for the disease that can be taken throughout your trip. Malaria is also contracted by mosquitos and can lead to severe health concerns if left untreated. Ask your doctor for a prescription and talk through the side effects of the medication. To prepare for any side effects, take pills before leaving and see how your body responds. Be sure you have enough pills and can get a different prescription before your trip if needed!
It’s important to take any potential fears out of your mission’s trip experience, and one way to do that is to be prepared with the right vaccinations you need to stay healthy.
Note: Talk with your doctor for more information on these recommended vaccines so you can make the right decision for you!
When you work in ministry, you begin to see the spiritual warfare that surrounds you. There is good and evil in the world and evil preys on the good. When Satan begins to see you and your ministry as a threat, then you become a target. This idea used to make me fearful, but it’s important to remember what God has to say about the battle:
“In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Rom. 8:37
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 15:57
“The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.” Deut. 28:7
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
The best way to battle in the war is to identify the enemy.
Satan likes to stand back and go unnoticed when we are going through difficult times. When he meddles in our lives quietly, we don’t see him and then start blaming our circumstances or even God!
“Spiritual victory is directly connected to your ability to ‘undisguise’ the enemy. To uncover him. Unveil him. Unmask him. That’s half the battle. But it’s the half your enemy doesn’t want you to pay much attention to, because once you do, you automatically begin to threaten his tyranny in your life. The names of the enemy reveal his character, intention and activity.” — Priscilla Shirer [The Armor of God]
If you are considering going on a mission’s trip, we know Satan will do everything he can to convince you otherwise. He knows the good things that would result in this experience and will do everything he can to make you change your mind. But we want you to know that God already has a victory in mind for you. He already has a plan for you once you say “yes!” So though evil may try to enter and ruin God’s plan, it will not win! You will be victorious!
When you are facing confusion and don’t know where it’s coming from, name your enemy! Confusion, doubt, and fear are not from God. He is a God of peace, and He wants you to trust in Him and His word.
To help you recognize your enemy, here is a printable based on Priscilla Shirer’s book: The Armor of God.
Know who you are fighting against and remember that God is on your side ready for the enemy’s defeat!