Survival tips for missions
By Serene Ng
“Clothes – check
Toiletry – check
Passport – check”
This is probably a must do for most of us when preparing for any trip; business or leisure alike. However, for one preparing to go on a mission trip, the process might be a little more complex. There are several extra factors to be considered thoughtfully. Chorus highlights some of these.
Understanding the culture of the country is crucial in helping one break the ice, to assimilate among the locals, and finally making way for one to reach out to them. A thorough understanding aids the preparation for the trip. For example, in some countries, women are required to dress modestly. That would mean wearing long sleeved blouses, pants or long skirts in spite of weather. Striving to blend in would be an act of love on our part.
Be sure to check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. So rain or shine, activities during a mission trip will not be impeded.
Having prior knowledge of the activities helps one to get ready all the necessary gear. For example, if you are teaching in a church, dressed in a shirt and pants would be appropriate instead of just comfortable shorts and tee.
Snacks like crackers or energy bars may be useful for those with low blood sugar condition. Dried food will be cleared more easily by customs officials than fresh food like fruits etc.
Bottled water and / or Gatorade may be useful in preventing dehydration and replacing lost electrolytes for those labouring under the blazing sun building houses or other infrastructures for the under privileged.
A travel sized Hand Sanitizer is particularly useful when water is not readily available to wash hands. Baby or wet wipes can be used in place of a bath to freshen up. With areas populated by insects or bugs, it is wise to avoid the application of perfume or cologne as they are drawn to the fragrance. Gnats in particular love hair spray.
A pair of slippers is a great idea in shower areas. The risk of being infected by fungal problems like warts will be reduced. For guys, shaving with a razor after a bath is preferable especially in areas with high risk of water borne diseases. Use shaving gel instead.
For ladies, be sure to prepare feminine products as some countries may not carry the same products as those you might be used to.
For one prone to motion sickness, ginger pills or candy will be helpful. Remember to pack the medication in original bottles. This ensures less hassle in clearing custom inspection. A travel sized first aid kit will come in handy when dealing with minor medical issues. Be sure to pack medication like anti-diarrheal, and those for the common ailments. For people with certain health conditions, some form of antibiotics can be a life saver.
Money / Passport
A money belt that can be worn beneath clothes will definitely be useful. Having a duplicate copy of the passport details will come in handy when the passport is lost or misplaced. Please ensure that your passport has a validity of at least 6 months!
Rule of 3
If possible, try to stick to the “Rule of 3” for the following items;
A pair of sandal
Hiking / sturdy closed shoes
Dress shoes for church
(use Skype / WhatsApp / Facebook to stay in touch in areas with available Wi-fi)
A rule of thumb with bags – the fewer, the better. If possible, try to squeeze everything into one bag. If not, either a luggage or backpack with a carry on to hold personal items.
Besides these tips, it is more important to take time to prepare your heart too. A heart that is open, loving and free from prejudices is definitely one God can use to meet the needs of the people.