​7 Essentials Before You Pack for a Mission Trip


God has called us to change the world. There have been many forays into changing our world through humanitarian efforts. While each have their positives, they only change the present without an eternal perspective. Feeding the hungry, cleansing the water of the thirsty and repairing the huts of the homeless are wonderful and heart-warming. But, if we don't take the Gospel, what change has really occurred?

A few years ago, while organizing an overseas trip I became aware of all the fine details of travel. Nehemiah went through the same ordeal as he prepared to travel out of country to go to Jerusalem. As we boarded each flight, we produced the necessary documents. As we arrived in country, we had several documents to show in order to go through customs and be allowed entrance to the country. Without the proper documentation, we would have been stuck and likely been sent away or detained!

If we, as followers of Christ, are going to be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission we are going to have to travel internationally. Over 6,000 people groups have yet to adequately hear the Gospel. If we don't go, then who will?

What do you need?

  1. Passport: You can apply for one here. Consider your timing. Acquiring a passport does take a little bit of time. Anywhere from two weeks to two months. In addition, your passport may need to acquire a visa into countries where that is required. This can also take two weeks to a month. The sooner you get one, the better.

  2. Money: Trips to South America will run $2500-3000. Trips to another part of Africa will be $3000-4000 and take two weeks. Who wants to travel that far and not stay longer? I have a buddy in Hong Kong who tells me you can get there for a 2-week trip for less than $2500. The point is that you need to plan on spending money, sometimes sacrificially, if we are going to worship God through missions.

  3. Sending Church or Church Group Going: Those in their twenties are really interested in changing our world in a variety of ways. Unfortunately, the involvement in local churches is dwindling in some cases. I firmly believe that anyone can go on mission, but it is best to do so through and with a local church that you attend, support and worship with regularly.

  4. Flight: I know this seems obvious, but if you are going a long distance and do not like to fly then you need to ask God to intervene in your phobia or choose a closer destination. Flights are a necessary component these days, but also open up areas of the world never know before! Check with various websites like Kayak or Expedia to get the best rates. Consider different airports in your region. We drove an extra hour one trip, but saved $400/person.

  5. Visas: These take time and are required. Search for their embassy website for here in the U.S. for information regarding a visa. This document allows you to enter the country for a period of time. There is an additional cost and is different from your passport. Passport allows travel and gives identification. A visa allows entrance.

  6. Shots: Different regions require different shots to enter the country. Check with your local health department for more information.

  7. Register with State Department (depending on country): For safety reasons, registering allows you to have updates and security from our government in case of political chaos.

So many other things will be taken, but are mostly for comfort. If you want to seriously go, get your passport today!

Summers is the lead pastor at Coulter Road Baptist Church in Amarillo, TX. He and his wife, Dulcie, have two children: Samuel and Isabella. To read more from Summers, please visit his personal blog, The Intersect, or follow him on Twitter @aaronwsummers.

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