Written by Tony Sheng.
Taking a missions trip is usually a pretty big project. Each trip includes tracking loads of details, lots of dependencies and getting certain deliverables from other people for goods and services. In other words, it’s a big job.
What may prove to be helpful is to break the project down into small segments. For instance, lets talk about pure logistics in this article – logistics meaning getting from one place to another at the right times and everything you need to do that. For this purpose, let’s consider that you have already chose your destination [and I have a lot to say about that idea – but at another time] and you have already chosen your team – both the students and enough leaders.
Here is a quick checklist that may help:
- Mode of transport – flying, driving, rail?
- How soon do you need to buy the tickets – probably the sooner the better and cheaper
- If driving, do you have enough drivers and vehicles and are your drivers old enough for insurance purposes?
Visas, Passports, Shots
- Does your desination require a visa, passports or shots?
- A visa service might be something worth looking into.
- Check with the CDC website and your family physician about shots. You should get your vaccinations between 4 and 6 weeks before you depart.
- Remember passports take at least 2 weeks if you pay for expedited service. Normal service is around 6 weeks.
Packing List – Individuals
- Probably list the standard stuff – clothes, toiletries, Bible, journal, small items of comfort
- Don’t bring anything you can’t live without in case it gets stolen or broken
- Get insurance details, emergency contact numbers and signed permission forms before you leave. I like to make copies of all of it and give a packet of it all to each adult.
- You may want to limit how much luggage each student is allowed to bring.
Packing List – Team
- Any team supplies that need to be taken?
- Anything you can bring to help support the host ministry or host families?
While You Were Out
- Proposed schedule for the team so they have a rough idea of what to expect
- Emergency contact numbers for the families back home
- Get the info about arrival details to your students’ families
- Preschedule a debriefing time after you have been home for a few days.
Mission trips are, most of the time, watershed events for students, even your plans dont go the way you expect. Hopefully, taking care of these logistical details will make for at lot less change in plan when it comes time to depart.
And when you are stuck in the swamp of all the planning details, when your visas are down to the line, when you need another minivan, remember that all the work is worth it. It’s worth it to see your students embrace another culture, when they want to learn another language for fun, and when they leave the safety of their home and communities [like Jesus did] to try and meet the world’s deepest needs.