Check List for Missionary Travel Preparation
1. Setup A Prayer Network
We at Christian Vision Alliance have always stressed the need for Missionaries to be well connected and serving in their own local church, so asking those you have been serving to pray for you should be a basic function of your existing relationships.
You can then expand that foundational group at your local church and develop an email list, social media postings, and mailers to other local churches. Getting organized with your ongoing communication is essential to developing a network of prayer support.
2. Verify Your Passport Status
This may seem basic, but many people delay updating their Passport until it becomes a crisis. While they only need to be updated every 10 years, and the U.S. Passports and International Travel Department has an additional expedite fee of $60.00, it is far better to update your Passport well before your schedule travel dates. You will need a Passport photo, your citizenship paperwork, and the application. The process is detailed on the U.S. Passports and International Travel Department website.
3. Research The Requirements and Necessities of Your Destination
Most foreign countries have online websites that can educate you on the basic requirements for entry. These requirements will include purchasing a Visa, the need for Exchanging Currency, and if your lodging needs to be officially monitored and or protected by the local government.
You should also verify what cannot be brought into the country and plan your packing accordingly. Some conservative Muslim countries have bans of some items that extend even to personal belongings.
4. Get Your Vaccinations
Consult the CDC and a travel doctor on any known contagious disease issues for the country you plan to travel to and any layovers (a stop prior to your destination). You should receive all the vaccines your doctor recommends. Some of these require multiple shots over time so do not wait. This process should be started at least 2 months prior to travel. Should you become what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call “Last-Minute Travelers,” you can consult them for the best vaccination procedure.
5. Learn The Most Important Cultural Behaviors
Learning the culture of the place you are planning on serving is essential to the success of your mission. While trying to assist a foreign people group, many people with the best intentions have offended their hosts by a lack of cultural understanding. Some good cross cultural study material has been produced by the church and is often available to missionaries for free. Here is a list of Christian Missionary Training Websites;
https://www.mti.org/compass/ Practical Training. Learn what you need to know to navigate make or break issues faced by cross-cultural messengers of the Gospel …
https://www.mti.org/ Mission Training International has been developing and equipping cross-cultural messengers of the Gospel through training and debriefing since 1954.
www.missionarytraining.org/mt/index.php/missionary–training…/cross-cultural-skills Though we live in an increasingly multi-cultural world, many missionary … Also, though many Christians grow up speaking more than one language, often their …
www.askamissionary.com/resources/courses.php List of mission events, courses on world missions, support raising training, and … Ask aMissionary.com – Q&A on Long Term Christian Mission Work … online mission training course designed to provide a foundation for cross-cultural services.
www.missionprep.ca/ MissionPREP is committed to preparing Christians for effective cross-cultural … training programs for the whole family in three areas: cross-cultural life & ministry, language acquisition strategies, and debriefing the missionary experience.
globalfrontiermissions.org/missionary–training/ GFM has several different missionary training options to prepare people for … Do you want to earn a Bible degree while actually doing cross-cultural missions?
Also, many colleges that offer a study abroad program have excellent resources for students going to a foreign country for their education.
6. Research The Airline Baggage Requirements
Recently, airlines have place additional restrictions to size, weight, and contents of traveler baggage. Your airline will have a page on their website with all of the details you need for packing your luggage. If you are going for an extended stay, you should also find a good shipping company that serves your destination country.
7. Make Sure Your Credit Card Does Not Charge Foreign Transaction Fees
While this practice is not as common these days, some credit cards will still charge you a foreign transaction fee when using your card in a foreign country. Find out what your credit card company charges if any, so you can apply to a company that does not charge for these and other services.
8. Get Your House in Order Before You Leave
Prepare a Last Will and Testament with a service like LegalShield or some other inexpensive legal service. This is very important especially if you have children under the age of 18 and would like to designate who would care for them should something happen to you.
Put your mail on hold or submit a temporary change of address during the duration of your mission. If you have a support team you could have your change of address go to them and they could process your mail for you and let you know of any urgent matters needing your attention.
9. Verify Your Phone Plan Services and International Charges
Many travelers use their phones while outside of the country only to find out there are roaming and international phone charges they were not aware of. Often these can be much more than anticipated. If you phone plan does not have an inexpensive option for international travel you can purchase a temporary phone after you arrive that is much less expensive than using your own phone. Also, with newer WIFI phones, you can connect to a wireless connection and make calls for free. Just make sure you put your phone an airplane mode before making the WIFI connection as the service will often switch back to your service without you knowing it and the charges will be incurred.
10. Verify Your Meal Plans and Medication Supplies
There is some amazing international cuisine that only travelers get to experience. But there are also foods you are not familiar with or have a strong dislike for that are normal for the country you are going to.
Be prepared to by asking people who have been to the country you are going to. Or ask those people you know who are already there. Bringing a supply of granola bars will help offset the first few weeks of acclimating to the new diet and keep your nutrition up with transitioning.
If you require medication, make sure you plan in advance with extra supplies should your travel plans get changed.