Christian Short Term Missions Travel

Christian short term missions travel is similar to pleasure travel in some ways. Most of us do enjoy our mission trips, whether they be a week long, or up to a month long.

In fact, many working people take vacation time to make short term mission trips. Almost any short term mission trip will include some time for rest, relaxation, and sight-seeing, particularly if the mission team participants haven't been on that field before.

Nonetheless there are important differences as well. The primary purpose of Christian short term missions travel is entirely different than that of pleasure travel.

We go to serve the people of that place, but more importantly we go to serve the Lord. Our enjoyment and pleasure isn't the point of the trip at all.

Usually members of the team have specific skills that are needed by the people, and the Christian ministries, we go to help. In our case, my husband's electrical skills are in high demand. But many different skills might be needed for Christian short term missions.

Christian Short Term Missions Travel
Trip Preparation

We're looking forward to Puerto Rico and its beautiful scenery.

We are currently within one week of leaving for our next trip to Puerto Rico. Anticipation is higher than usual this time, since the last time we planned to go our trip was unceremoniously postponed due to my husband's serious illness.

We are both truly looking forward to getting back, although Dennis is concerned about his ability to work in the heat after losing two thirds of his right lung. His health does continue to improve, but too slowly for his liking, and he is still hampered by shortness of breath whenever he starts working hard for any period of time.

So we are preparing for this trip by faith. We are trusting that the Lord will enable us to go. We trust specifically He will give Dennis the strength to accomplish the installment of the fire alarm system, the switching of all the panels in the building to the permanent power supply, (Yes, God has answered prayer, and the permanent power has finally been connected to the meter) and the many miscellaneous projects that still need to be finished.

We have been making trip preparations for about six weeks now. We bought the tickets, that is the tickets to fly down to the island.

We usually buy round trip tickets so we can lock in the prices, but this time there are many more variables than normal so we decided one way tickets made sense. Additionally buying one way tickets wasn't more expensive than it would have been to buy round trip tickets.

We will decide for sure when we are coming back after a few days on the island when Dennis has a better idea of exactly how long it will take him to get the most pressing jobs accomplished. Please pray with us, that when we are in a position to buy the return tickets the prices won't have sky-rocketed.

We've also cleared our travel itinerary with all the people who will be helping us and housing us during our trip. Instead of visiting our friends, the Attos, on the way down, as we have in the past, we'll be staying with a cousin of Dennis, who lives about an hour away from Orlando.

We plan to leave Indiana September 26th, get to his cousin's on Tuesday, and fly from Orlando to Aguadilla on Thursday, September 29th in the morning.

If all goes well, we hope to be returning from Puerto Rico either the last week of October or the first or second week of November. If at all possible, we do plan to visit the Attos and Gospel Baptist, their church, on our way home.

So this wraps up the preliminary trip preparations. In the next seven days we need to make final preparations, pack, and be prepared to leave early next Monday morning.

Christian Short Term Missions Travel
Packing Pointers

Packing for Short Term Missions Travel is very different from pleasure travel as well. Since my husband declares this is our eleventh short term missions trip, (I lost count long ago) perhaps I might be helpful with the following packing pointers:

Temperatures are very different in the tropics from our home in southern Indiana.
  • Do use lists. Make them as things occur to you, and check them off as they are completed or packed.
  • Be aware of differences in temperatures between where your home is and where you're destination is.
  • Don't be surprised by luggage limitations if you are flying. Check the fine print with the airline your tickets are with. Be sure you're prepared financially for extra charges if you have more luggage than what the airline allows, or if it is overweight.
  • Don't forget to stop papers, cable TV, internet, garbage collection, and any other utilities you can, if you'll be gone for an extended period. There is no sense wasting money.
  • Schedule medical, dental, and hair appointments before you go, or after you get back. Double check to be sure you won't be inadvertently missing one you set up months ago.
  • Make packing lists for the following items:
    • clothing you'll need
    • nutritional supplements or prescription medicines you need
    • food items not available, or incredibly expensive you don't want to do without.
    • tools, specialized equipment, or materials you'll need to accomplish the ministries you have planned. For example, my husband takes some electrical tools, and I try to make sure I have plenty of Spanish tracts available.
      Winter weather will be a possibility when we return

    • Appropriate clothing for seasonal changes if your trip will span a season change. This trip we will be leaving in early autumn and returning in what could easily be winter weather. If we don't have a heavier jacket and the weather has turned cold early, we could be very sorry!

  • Either stop the mail, or make sure you've made arrangements to have it picked up, and kept, while you are gone.
  • If there are bills that will come due while your gone, be sure you have them on auto-pay, or that you'll be able to pay them from the field you'll be on.
  • If you're traveling during spring, summer, or fall, arrange to have someone take care of lawn services and pick garden produce if you do any gardening. If the trip is during the winter, be sure snow will be taken care of.
  • If possible, it is a good idea to have one light come on via timer so an dark house night after night doesn't advertise you're gone.
  • Before leaving, be sure all luggage is packed, all lights and appliances are turned off, and you've left emergency contact information with neighbors or relatives of your choosing.

Christian Short Term Missions
Conclusions

Christian Short Term Missions travel is a tremendous privilege and responsibility. We trust our work will bear fruit for eternity by enabling missionaries and mission ministries to reach more people with the gospel.

Yet I don't believe the Lord is upset if we enjoy our travel at the same time. One of the great things about our trips, has been the opportunity to miss many of the grey days of fall and winter, and replace them with the lovely climate of the tropics.

I trust these pointers will serve as a blueprint to help me pack efficiently, for our upcoming Christian short term missions assignment, and help others make effective travel preparations as well.

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