Author: Abigail Smith, Go To Nations Social Media Specialist
Going to another country and experiencing a culture that is new to you can be exciting and challenging at the same time. You are often met with situations that you were not expecting or prepared for. We decided to ask some of our missionaries and staff what they would say is a packing essential for foreign missions work. Enjoy their responses and take notes!
- Hand sanitizer- (Germ-X). You have a long restful night of sleep in your tent. The dirt has hardly turned your white shirt red. You've really got to pee, but the squatty potty doesn't have a sink! How will you eat your bread rolls and instant coffee without washing your hands? Hand sanitizer is your best friend. GERM-X works pretty well as an accelerant for torches, campfires, and flames for cooking!
- Sunscreen. I'm convinced the sun is different in America than in Africa and Asia. That sun is a whole notha level of heat... and burn.
- A spoon. Sometimes out in the bush, they happen to be "polishing their silverware" when you arrive. In other words, they don't have any. So having your own spoon prevents your dirty fingers from entering your mouth with piles of steaming beans and rice.
- A multi tool. Seriously! You'll always use it.
- Duct tape! Duct tape! Duct tape! Did I mention Duct tape? -Adrienne Mckinney
- Coghlan’s coreless rolls toilet paper packs. You can find it on Amazon. -Sandra Barfield
- SPAM! -Dr. Jerry Williamson
- Baby wipes aren’t just for babies! Sticky? Sweaty? No place to shower? Bathroom issues? Baby wipes to the rescue! -Abigail Smith
- Roll on peppermint oil. You never know when you're going to get into a stinky taxi…or sit next to someone... Well you know! -Vanessa Sambrano
- A Bandana. For those of us with overactive sweat glands, keeping a bandana (or torn t-shirt) handy can be a life-saver. You can put it in water, and it keeps your core temperature down when you wear it around your neck. -Jeremy Henderson
All joking aside, make sure to do your research and know what kind of accommodations you will be staying in while on your mission trip and what the climate will be like while there. Remember, the number one item all missionaries need besides the Holy Spirit and a prayed up heart, is the ability to be flexible. Being flexible with your own team, sharing living quarters and ways of doing things, is just as important as being flexible with the people you are ministering to. Jesus showed us a true lesson in this in Mark 6. Jesus was searching for a quiet place where He and the disciples could be alone, but seeing the large crowd, He was moved to compassion and started teaching them, and even fed all of them! Be flexible, and ready for whatever ministry God has for you!
Author: Abigail serves as the Social Media Specialist for Go To Nations. As well as working for GTN she serves with her husband, Thomas, as High School youth pastors. She has gone on several short term missions trips as well as led numerous ones. She also stays busy chasing her toddler daughter around who is busy chasing her dog, Burt Reynolds.