You are about to embark on a life-changing experience that will not only make an impact on your life but also the lives of the people you will be serving.
The goal of your short-term mission trip is to impact others and share the gospel. You are not going on an annual vacation but on a mission to do God’s work. Packing for such a task might seem daunting, but I am here to make it just a little bit easier.
Prior to your departure, it is important to keep in mind what you will be doing because the sheduled activities will greatly impact the structure of your packing.
Here's a list of five essential items to pack for your trip:
- Bible and journal
The most crucial item you'll need is your Bible. After all, you are going to serve and share the gospel, and the Bible is your number one tool for doing so. It is also important to take a journal with you. On your trip, you will see and experience many cultures and emotions. Capture the moment with words by expressing what you are seeing and how you are feeling. Writing is a powerful tool for personal growth.
Plus, you will want to look back at your adventures down the road and see how God worked through you during your mission trip. Personally, I like to have my Bible and journal with me as a tangible item but others prefer to use the Bible app and notes app on their phone, which work just as well.
- Necessary and appropriate clothing
Chances are it will be hot and sticky where you are going. Make sure you bring light and breathable clothing. It will allow your body to breathe in the humid and musky temperatures.
Make sure all clothing is appropriate, which means no shorts above the knee, no shirts that don’t cover your shoulders, no gym tights and no open-tode shoes. Modesty is key.
It’s likely you will be working several hours outside and will be doing a lot of walking, so make sure you take comfortable close-toed shoes. Please leave any valuable clothing and jewelry at home as it won’t be needed and might get ruined during daily activities.
If you are on your mission trip on a Sunday, you will probably go to church. Most churches in the United States are more relaxed, but in other countries, church attire tends to be more formal. Remember to bring appropriate church clothing – a long skirt with a blouse for women and slacks and a button-up shirt for men.
- Adventure and flexibility
I know this isn’t a tangible item you can pack, but it is important to your team and those being served that you bring a sense of flexibility and adventure. Remember you are in a different country and the sense of time there may be different than yours, so be flexible. You are exploring someone else’s territory, learn, sing their songs and dance to their rhythm.
- Bug spray and sun block
As we work primarily in the Americas and Kenya, we strongly suggest bug spray. We also strongly suggest taking sunscreen. No matter where you go with us on a mission trip you will spend time outside with the sun beating down on you. The last thing you want is for a sunburn to hinder your work on your short-term mission.
If you forget your passport, you will unfortunately be left behind! Make sure there is at least six months of validity left on your passport before your departure date. Along with your passport, it is always a good idea to bring a copy of your flight itinerary just in case you encounter any hiccups when checking in.
Remember this is a mission you have likely prayed about for a while. God has chosen you to be a part of this mission team. Take time to pray for God to use your strengths and abilities to fulfill his calling during your time away. Study your Bible and prepare to dive deep into God’s work.
Written by Charlotte Rovelo, an international missions coordinator for Buckner International, who facilitates life-changing trips for people of all ages. For more information about Buckner mission work, visit buckner.org/missions.