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Group Travel 101

How to Plan a Mission Trip

By: Liz Patterson

Often when caught up in the excitement of mission travel, we forget to work out the details in our preparation. The planning of your mission trip is a critical step and requires some serious consideration. However, though the time spent planning and packing seems tedious, it is well worth it in the end.

So let’s start out at the beginning. There are a few questions you should ask yourself. They are part of the planning procedure. First of all is, what kind of work are you interested in doing? You might think that choosing the country you will travel to would be the first step. But different locations require different kinds of ministries, from construction to teaching seminars.

Once you have decided on what humanitarian and spiritual ministries you want to tackle, start researching about places that need such work. There are many resources on the internet where you can look into every location imaginable and the needs they present. By doing this, you will be able to plan the most effective ministry for the particular culture, people, and region. Your ministry – what you do and what you leave behind – is the most deeply important aspect of the trip. Sure, you will have a great time, see some amazing sights, and experience adventure, but that is not the reason you go. You go so that you can have an impact on the lives and hearts of the people.

The next matter to consider is who will go on the trip. Your team members must be analyzed and you must be aware of their unique strengths and skills. By recognizing each person’s personality and talents you will be able to minister more effectively. Also, you must observe how they react to each other and if they are cohesive. If there are problems among the team members, it will affect the attitude and success of the trip.

After looking over the goal, destination, and team members, you need to think about when your trip will be held. It will take some organizing to find a time that is workable for your team members, yet also good for the location. When your goal is a building project, it’s not smart to get stuck in the rainy season of a country! Talking to local missionaries or citizens will be the easiest way to find out the best season to travel.

Last but not least comes the question of supplies. This is the trickiest part. What do you need to take? What can you purchase at your destination? How can you pack it all? Is it affordable and practical? Not only do you need supplies and tools for your projects, but you may need to bring food and medicine as well. A comprehensive first aid kit is an absolute must.

Though the whole planning stage may seem overwhelming, if you tackle it one question at a time, it will save you a lot of time and stress. Good luck with your mission trip!

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