Missionary Trip Destination Checklist
Missionary work can be risky, rewarding, and often difficult. A lot of the difficulty that comes with working in an impoverished or politically turbulent region has to do with the culture shock of entering a foreign place with little background information. Wherever you're going, doing a little pre-travel research about your destination will help you enter the country more confident in your interactions with locals, more comfortable with the local culture and politics, and more aware of the environment.
Before missionary trip travel, work your way through this checklist and leave on your mission trip educated and well prepared.
Language - Try to find out what languages are commonly spoken in your destination and learn some basic phrases.
Do not assume that everyone you meet will speak English. Make an effort to pick up some of the local lingo before you leave.
Geography - Learn about major cities, the size of the country, and where specifically you will be spending your time. Also, research the landscape you can expect to encounter.
How big is the country you are visiting? How many states or provinces are there? Research and learn about your specific destination in relation to other areas and major cities. Have you thought about accidents that could happen to you on your Mission Trip to Asia? Check out our infographic on accidents in Asia.
Politics - Read up on the government and the political situation in the country you are visiting.
What kind of government does your country have? Learn a little bit about who is in charge and what role the people play in their government. It is crucial that you understand any political struggles in order to keep yourself removed from it while on your missionary trip.
Currency - What kind of money will you need?
You will need to know not only the currency, but also where you will be able to change your money from your currency to the local currency of the missionary trip site. It is always good to see if there is a fee for changing your money also.
Insurance – What happens if you get sick on your Mission Trip?
If you have reviewed the list of common problems encountered on mission trips, you realize that many things can change your plans while on your next mission trip. Try not to be unprepared to deal with a potential medical emergency while on your next overseas mission trip. Consider purchasing missionary insurance before you go so you are covered for any medical problems you encounter while abroad and in case emergency medical evacuation becomes necessary.
View of America - How do locals typically respond to American visitors?
If you are heading for a common missionary spot, try to connect with others who have been where you are going. Find out how the locals there view your culture, and how best to interact with them.
Religion - Identify the major religions common to your missionary trip destination, and learn a little bit about each one.
It is important to be respectful of the religion or religions common among people living where you are going. Try learning a little bit about the practices you might observe as a way of familiarizing yourself with what is common and acceptable with the locals.
Dress Code - How do the locals dress?
Whether it is for religious reasons or because of the climate, the locals will know best how to dress where they live. Looking into what is normal will help you fit in socially and stay comfortable.
Calendar - Take a look at the calendar for your trip's timeframe and figure out if there are any special holidays or celebrations scheduled in the country.
You researched a bit about the culture where you are going, but there is no telling how a special holiday observance can change what is normal. See if there are any special dates on the calendar while you will be abroad and prepare yourself accordingly.
Common Foods - What do the locals eat?
You might be offered food that is very different from what you are used to eating. If you are a vegetarian, you might not have many options in certain communities where meat is scarce and is offered to you, the guest, as a special gift. Know what to expect and start hardening your stomach now!
Climate - Beyond learning the temperature, dig in and learn about weather patterns typical for the time of year.
Is it going to rain the whole time you are gone? Then pack a poncho! If it is going to be dry, you can leave the poncho at home. Either way, know what to expect at your missionary trip destination.
Wildlife - What kinds of plants and animals can you expect to encounter?
Cute animals and beautiful plants might be easier to spot if you know what to look for. On the other hand, some of the wildlife can be dangerous. Learn about what risks there are and how the locals handle attacks or poisonings.
Transportation - How will you get around?
Some countries have better public transportation than others do. If you are not sure how you are going to get around at your destination, learn everything you can about the different modes of transportation available. Plan all transit well to make sure you get where you need to go. Get a good grasp on maps and timetables for public transportation.
Embassies - Where are the Embassies, and how can you reach them?
In the case of an emergency, you might need to contact or visit the U.S. embassy. Make sure you keep the number with you at all times and learn how to get there if necessary. If you are a U.S. citizen, you can find the location of a U.S. embassy on the U.S. Department of State website. If you are a citizen of the U.K. heading out for missionary work, you can find a local embassy on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's website.