Spiritual and Practical Preparation for a Mission Trip

Spiritual and Practical Preparation for a Mission Trip

By: Cole Yarbrough

Cole in Thailand, Copyright 2014, used with permission by Cole Yarbrough
Cole in Thailand, Copyright 2014, used with permission by Cole Yarbrough

SPIRITUAL

Be in Prayer: Praying is the best preparation for anything you do. 

That God would use you in any way possible
Things that you can pray for before you go on a mission trip:
The country you are going to—government, weather, lifestyle, etc.
The team members that are going with you
The people that you will be serving or ministering too
The type of ministry that you will be doing there

Come in Carrying Something More than Your Suitcase: Ask God to give you a vision for the trip. 

In life we tend to naturally envision how things should go, or what results WE want. That is why it is imperative that we ask God what HIS will for the trip is, and that we run with His vision and not our own.

Prepare Your Testimony: It is always good to be ready to speak.
There is a high probability that while attending a service, some members of your team will be asked to speak or share their testimonies.
How to make a quick testimony:
Start with how things used to be
Mention how you met God
Explain how your life has changed
(The emphasis should always be on how God changed your life, and how now you are a new creation).

Spend Time with God DURING Your Trip: He wants to spend time with you.
It is easy to forget about God in the excitement and anticipation of a new place. Stop, and spend time with Him. Some of the most memorable moments that I have ever had in my walk with God were when I was on a mission trip. You are in a new place, with a lot of unknown situations and people, and there are usually no distractions—therefore, it is a perfect time to grow with God.
What does that look like?:
Time- carve out time in your day to be alone. It can be 10 minutes or it can be an hour, it is up to you!

Bible- it is a tool God uses to communicate with us. Use it!
Pen & Journal- whether you like to write or not, it will help you remember what God is teaching you.

If you are trying to grow in a specific area, any book on spiritual growth or even a daily devotional is great!

PRACTICAL

Cole at the Dream Center, playing with the kids, Copyright 2014, used with permission by Cole Yarbrough
Cole at the Dream Center, playing with the kids, Copyright 2014, used with permission by Cole Yarbrough

Research: Learn as much as you can about what you are getting in to. 

You will want to know things like where you are going, culture, climate, religion, language, currency, etc.

Over Pack: You will not regret it!
You never know exactly what serving you will do, so be prepared for everything. One thing I do know, it is never fun to re-wear dirty clothes. I recommend overpacking:
Under garments such as socks and underwear.
Clothes to get dirty in—either through sweat or dirt, you will go through these
A jacket or hoodie—even in warm places you never know when it may get cold
Shoes
After you see how people are living, you might even have a desire to give them a bunch of your clothes and shoes.

Rest: At least the week leading up to the trip.
This is necessary because depending on where you go, there may be a time change. Then you would have to deal with time schedules changes and jet lag. Also you want to make sure that your health is at 100% before you leave the country.

Come with a “Ready-for-Anything” Attitude: It will make the experience more enjoyable.
Most of the time even your leaders won’t know what the plan is. So be prepared for anything. Know that plans could change at any moment— you will save yourself a lot of grief and stress with this. Punctuality and schedules are not always as precise as they are in America. This is especially true in third world countries.

Get International Data or Service on Your Phone: Emergencies, social media, communication and more.
At some point you will be wanting to show a picture with the world, or connect with friends and family. This is also good if you need to reach a team member or in the case of an emergency. Wifi can be found in most big cities these days, but you might still want some access to the rest of the world.

Seek Family and Friends for Support: Up to this point they probably have already invested in you, whether financially or in prayer. Just ask them for one more thing.
On longer mission trips you can tend to get worn down and discouraged especially if you don’t see the results that you were expecting. Ask your friends and family to write you notes (maybe one for each day you are there). These notes can be encouraging, spiritual, or even they can just be a joke to get you in a better mood.

Learn Some Basics in the Language: No need to become fluent unless you plan on living there.
Simple phrases and words will work, like hello, thank you, please, goodbye, and where is the bathroom?

Cole in Panama, with one of the villagers and some team members, Copyright 2015, used with permission by Valerie Garza
Cole in Panama, with one of the villagers and some team members, Copyright 2015, used with permission by Valerie Garza

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