All Campuses  |  Published on December 31, 1969


Safety & Security

You will be given a Contingency Plan for your specific country before you leave for your trip. This will provide specifics with who to call, where to go, and what to do in case of emergency. Below are some general security guidelines for any and all international travel.

You may be working in an area where traditional missionary work is not welcome. Wherever you work, observe the following guidelines in your communication to avoid compromising the security of local believers and/or international workers who are there long-term.

  • Never identify people overseas by name in a public setting. Such information could be used later to cause problems for those who live and work in security-sensitive areas.
  • Never use words that will raise red flags for eavesdroppers. Avoid words like missionary, missions, evangelism, etc.
  • Never identify yourself with your church or your denomination. Do not wear hats, tags, or clothing with such logos or identification.
  • Never leave written information in your room that could identify local Christian leaders and/or international workers. Hotel housekeepers may have a dual role of cleaning and reporting to the government.
  • Never assume that you can talk freely on the phone or write freely in letters and emails. Speak as if the phones are bugged and write as if your letters and emails are public domain. Communication by foreigners is routinely monitored in many countries.
  • Follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. Use caution with regard to security as you follow the promptings and opportunities the Spirit provides.
  • Share your testimony and the gospel. This is especially appropriate in personal, one-to-one, and small-group settings.

Guide to Traveling Well

Notify your bank:

A debit card may be the safest and easiest way to get local currency in another country. Your bank closely monitors the use of your debit and credit cards. When they see the card used from an international location, they likely will assume the card has been stolen and quickly lock you out of the system.

Easy solution: Call your bank before you travel and notify them of your international travel plans!

International Roaming:

International roaming, data charges and texting charges can cause you to rack up an enormous phone bill when you are traveling internationally. To avoid this mistake, call your cell phone company before departure and make sure you understand exactly what they will charge for using your phone overseas.

Easy solution: You may want to upgrade to a temporary international calling plan, use local wifi and an Internet service like Skype, or buy a local SIM card for your phone.

Fearing the Local Food:

There are two types of food fear for international travelers:

  • Fear of the unknown. Maybe you refuse to eat the local food because you don’t know what it is, you have never seen it before, you have an unusual gag reflex, or you are just picky. Ya know what? You don’t have to love it all, but you need to try it if it is offered to you. Don’t insult local hosts by refusing to eat food they offer. You may even discover a food you really love. And you may earn the opportunity to hang out with your hosts a little longer.
  • Fear of the known. Sometimes you shouldn’t eat certain food because you know what it is and that it will most likely make you sick. This becomes even more complicated (and requires quick and serious prayer) when local friends are serving you.

General rules:

  • Cook it, wash it, peel it, or forget it.
  • Wash your hands. Sometimes it’s not the food that makes you sick, but it’s your dirty hands.
  • Don’t drink the tap water. Bottled water is available.
  • The locals don’t like food poisoning any more than you do. If there is a long line, consider the place fairly safe.

Traveling Comfortably:

  • Get plenty of exercise in the weeks before your flight, avoid illness and stress, and get sufficient sleep.
  • Drink fluids during the flight (especially water) to stay hydrated.
  • Take off your shoes during the flight to periodically flex and stretch your feet and ankles.
  • Walk up and down the aisle, stand for a while, and change positions in your seat to help reduce discomfort and increase blood flow to your legs to avoid blood clots.
  • Set your watch to your destination time at the beginning of your flight to prepare your mind for the time change.
  • Use the time on the flight to sleep or eat if you would normally be sleeping or eating in your destination city at that time.
  • Try to stay awake in your destination city until 10pm on the day of your arrival and then get a full night’s sleep.

Keeping a Journal Guide

One of the best ways to process what you experience each day during the trip is to journal. This also helps you to capture your thoughts, memories, and prayers that you can reflect upon after you return.

Below are a few sample questions that will help to guide you through the journaling process:

  1. What specific ministry did you participate in today?
  2. What new things did you experience today?
  3. What are your thoughts on what you’ve experienced today? How do they make you feel?
  4. What did you learn today?
  5. How did you serve someone today?
  6. Pray for those you met and encountered today.
  7. Pray God would allow you to see others tomorrow as He sees them.
  8. Pray that God would fill you with the fruits of the Spirit tomorrow as you encounter others.
  9. Pray for Gospel conversations tomorrow.

Coming Home: Journaling Debrief

Now that you are on your way home, take some time to look back over the previous week. No doubt, God has both taught you and used you in many ways. It’s important to process through these things. The questions below will help you to share clearly what God has done.

  1. What was the mission on the ground that you were a part of?
  2. What was the result of this mission?
  3. How are you burdened to pray specifically for the on-field partners and their ministry?
  4. Who is a national you met while here that you’ll continue to pray for once you are back home?
  5. What moments do you never want to forget? What moments broke your heart? What moments made you smile?
  6. In what ways are you different today than where you began this journey?
  7. What is one story or interaction that shows: a) what you learned, b) what you did, and c) how people can pray and join the work?

Blessing the Missionary

Our on-the-field partners are vital to the mission of God. Just like us,they may be facing various trials, setbacks, or frustrations. As a part of the body of Christ, we want to be a blessing to them while we are there. Below are some ideas for how to bless and encourage the missionaries and their families while you are there.

Before You Go:

  • Notes
    Get your lifegroup, d-group, and/or family to write notes for each missionary and their family. Even though they may not know them personally, these can be notes of prayer and encouragement.
  • American Food
    Check with the missionary and see what specific things they miss that they can’t purchase where they are (ex. peanut butter, oreos, etc.)
  • Children’s Items
    The missionary family may homeschool, so new supplies and books may be much needed. Also, if there are any toys or gifts they would like to get from the states to give to their children.
  • Special Gifts
    Try to find out something they love or really care about and surprise them with a small gift (ex. sports team merchandise, books, etc.)

While on the Ground:

  • Be humble and trust them.
  • Offer to cook a meal for them or treat them to one.
  • If they have children, offer to babysit for them one night so they can go out on a date.
  • Be intentional to serve them (help them cook, clean the dishes, sweep their house, etc.)
  • Love on their kids, play with them and speak life over them.
  • Know the power of your words. Encourage them.

After You Return:

  • Befriend them on social media so you can stay connected.
  • Ask to be added to their email updates and respond when they are sent out.
  • Be their advocate and encourage others to go there and get to know them.

Packing List and Tips

To avoid any last-minute stress, begin packing now! This means designating an area in your home to your trip. This way, you can pack a little at a time as you think of things you need to bring.

General Tips:

  • Be sensitive to cultural standards of where you’re traveling to. The Gospel is offensive, but you don’t want to be! Dressing modestly is the goal.
  • Travel light. Plan to wear some clothing more than once during your trip.
  • Before packing electronic devices, consider the additional security precautions that may be needed for these items.
  • Research what kind of an adapter is needed for the country to which you are traveling. Universal adapters are very convenient and user-friendly!
  • Check luggage regulations and recommendations based on your team’s airline. If you exceed the allotted baggage amount or weight, you will be responsible for the fee.
  • Place baggage tags and a personal marker of some kind on your luggage for easy identification.

Potential Packing List:

  • For Checked Luggage

    Women: Modest blouses, shirts, tops (no spaghetti straps) ; Long dresses or skirts (if needed for your country) ; Appropriate length shorts, capris and full-length pants preferred

    Men: Polo-style shirts and t-shirts ; Full length pants

    All: Jeans, Shorts (if needed and appropriate), Underwear, Socks, Recreational shoes or sandals, Sleepwear, Light jacket, Rain cover, Sun hat, Small backpack or fanny pack, Swimsuit (if needed), Gifts for host team, Toothbrush/Toothpaste, Deodorant, Shampoo/Conditioner/Bodywash, Razor, Hairbrush
    Personal Care Items: Vitamins and supplements (if needed), Sunscreen, Aloe Vera, Insect Repellant, Pepto-Bismol and/or Imodium, Personal first-aid kit (a large one will be given by LH as well), Travel alarm, Small flashlight, International adapter, Energy bars and/or snacks (if desired)

  • For Carry-On Bag

    Passport (original and photocopy), In-country Visa (if required), Bible, Camera, Hand sanitizer, One change of clothes, Personal care items for first 24 hours, Prescription medications, Mints and/or gum, Energy bars/snacks (if desired), Water bottle/bottled water (purchase or fill up after clearing security), Kleenex/tissues

    • Survival Language by Country

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