Missions Launch

Helping those who help the world

Spiritual Preparedness: Before the Trip

by admin |

Planning to Go, Spiritual Issues

prayerSo you’re going on a mission trip and you are checking off the things on your to-do list. Your clothes, toothbrush, and extra socks are ready to be stowed in your suitcase. You have your plane ticket, passport, and camera. You know the purpose of the mission is to help in the construction of a church.
But what else? It’s the most important thing! Oh yes, it’s to go and make disciples of all the nations. Have you prepared yourself spiritually for this? Here are some tips for spiritual preparedness before, during, and after the trip.

Before the trip…

1. Pray without ceasing!

• Pray that God would give you His love for the  people you are ministering to.
• Pray for God to go before you and prepare hearts.
• Pray for protection from attacks from the evil one.
• Pray that team members remain united and of one mind.
• Pray together as a team, focusing on the special needs and concerns of each member individually.

 2. Have personal holiness.

 • Confess and repent of any sin that is trying to take hold.
• Remember that the Holy Spirit is in you.
• Be humble.
• Be thankful.
• Stay in God’s Word.
• Love Him above all else.
• Memorize scripture.

3. Be prepared to speak.

• Write out your testimony in simple language. People will want to hear it.
• Prepare devotionals ahead of time.
• Make sure you can tell the gospel clearly. Highlight key verses in your Bible.

 4. Enlist prayer partners.

• Get friends and family praying for you now as you prepare.
• Encourage your church body to set aside a special time of prayer for the team.
• Pair up with another team member and agree to pray for each other.

In short, get prayed up, suited up in your spiritual armor, and ready to give your testimony and a clear explanation of the gospel at a moments notice.

So You Want to Become a Missionary Nurse?

by admin |

Health, Picking a Trip

Immunization Clinic CambodiaAs with any missionary trip, if you’re considering going, you should search within yourself and pray for guidance to determine which missionary work is right for you. It also helps to read the Bible, be surrounded by Christ minded people, and to ask other nurses who have already gone on a missions trip about their experiences. It is also important for you to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Do you like the city or do you prefer a country setting? Are you able to pick up a foreign language easily or would you prefer an English speaking country? Is there a specific country you like? Could you handle the harsh reality of starving, sick, and dying children?

As a nurse, there are going to be special ways you need to prepare yourself for the trip once you decide to go. This includes getting to know the country once a particular place has been determined. Make sure that you are aware of common diseases of the country you will be going to. This will make you better prepared to help treat those problems. It is also vital that you are aware of your allowed scope of practice. Different countries have different limitations to what a nurse and nursing student can and cannot do. Also be aware of licensure requirements of medical professionals that also differ from country to country.

Be aware that your desire to become a missionary nurse, no matter the length of the trip, is a blessing, and the rewards are many, often being the kind of payments that wait in the afterlife. It is also important to understand that while you are on the trip you represent Jesus. Being there for a short time may not give you the opportunity to preach to and bring in crowds to the Faith, but your kindness and compassion will glorify God, giving those that see your actions of healing a true glimpse of who Jesus is as you reach out to them in a practical way.

Missionary work is available to both RNs and student nurses. Opportunities for student nurses include, but surely are not limited to, InterVarsity Global Projects and Global Urban Trek. Individual colleges and universities hosting the nursing programs may also have summer missionary work for student nurses. Opportunities for RNs include Global Health Outreach,Adventist Nursing Connection,Health Care Volunteer,Foundation for International Medical Relief for Children (FIMRF),Volunteers for Inter-American Development Assistance (VIDA),Hearts in Motion (H.I.M.), and many more. Another great resource to check out is the Nurses Christian Fellowship.

 Photo by cambodia4kidsorg

Ukraine:Etiquette, Customs, Facts and Vital Information

by admin |

Europe, Ukraine

UKRAINE: FACTS & STATS

Map of Ukraine

Location: Eastern Europe; bordered on the South by the Black Sea Capital: Kiev

Climate: Temperate Continental with warm to hot summers and cool to cold winters depending on region.

Ukraine ChildPopulation: 46,299,862 as per 2007 estimates. After independence from the erstwhile Soviet Union, Ukraine had to start from scratch and build up on its own. A breakaway was called for from traditional industries to suit a modern nation. After a period of slump, the economy picked up and continued to expand as it grew by an impressive 13% in 2004. About 37% of the population live below the poverty line.

Ethnic Make-up: Ukrainian 78%, Russian 17%, Others 5%.

Religions: Eastern Orthodox 42%, Catholic 6%, Others 52%, including non-believers. There is no law against evangelism.

Language: Ukrainian, Russian, Polish

Government: Democratic Republic

St. SophiaTravel Issues: U.S. and EU citizens intending to stay less than 3 months do not require a visa to visit Ukraine. For other nationals and for longer periods of stay you need to contact the Ukrainian Embassy in your country for country specific requirements. Do note that Ukrainian visas are not valid in the Russian Federation and Russian Federation visas are not valid in Ukraine, even for transit.

Health & Safety: Immunization against diphtheria, hepatitis A, tick-borne encephalitis, typhoid, and tetanus are strongly advised for travellers to Ukraine. Instances of avian flu have been noted, but this is not considered an immediate threat for travellers. Water for drinking and washing is safer bottled or boiled. Tap water is not considered safe. Swimming in the Dneiper River is not advised due to threat of radioactive pollution.

When out sightseeing, it is advisable to not carry large sums of money on your person due to a high rate of petty crime and bag snatching.

SOCIETY & CULTURE

Ukraine Crowd
Photo by katesheets

The People: On first sight you might get the feeling that Ukrainians are a little cold and unsmiling, but in fact, they are warm and hospitable once you get to know them. It is quite natural for them to invite total strangers to share their meals.

The Religion: Orthodox Christianity is the religion of the majority, but there are a large number of people who are not particularly religious.

Role of Family: They are very family oriented and often never leave their aging parents. Generations live together under one roof and the grandparents have an important role in bringing up young children.

Woman in UkraineAncestors: Ukrainians have great respect for their ancestors and always speak of them with reverence. For Christmas, a sheaf of mixed grain stalks is placed under the religious icons in the house to symbolize all the ancestors.

Recreational Activities: Outdoor activities are popular especially in view of the scenic landscapes that abound. Sports such as table tennis, football, volleyball, and badminton have quite a few takers. Recently, yoga and martial arts have climbed the popularity charts in the major cities. Traditional activities such as gathering around a log fire to drink and share jokes are uniquely Ukrainian recreations.

Anything else important for this culture: There is little respect for the law and it is common for people to not stop at red lights. It is common for men to flirt with single women, and protesting really doesn’t get you anywhere. Heavy drinking is considered normal and bread is almost sacred.

ETIQUETTE & CUSTOMS

Swimming in Crimea
Photo by Vlad & Marina Butsky

Meetings & Greetings: Hand shakes are a common way of greeting people in business circles. A kiss on the cheek is offered to close relations and friends. It is common to address a man by his last name with the title Pan, and women with the title Pani. If there is a professional title, you need to use that. Never shake hands or make conversation under a threshold; it is said to bring bad luck. Never shake hands with gloves on.

Kiev WinterCourtesy: It is normal to open meetings with informal conversations and a drink which is best accepted as a refusal might seem rude. It is not polite to launch into business straightaway, but considered common practice to take time to gauge your counterpart leisurely before starting business.

Gift Giving: This is a common practice and a lot of thought goes into the exercise. Tickets to a concert, a box of chocolate or anything from your country will be much appreciated. If invited to a home, a thoughtful gift for the lady of the house would be a nice gesture. Invariably she would have been toiling in the kitchen to prepare your dinner. If bringing flowers, never present white Easter lilies, which are only for funerals, or any yellow flower, which is considered bad luck. Also, make sure the number of flowers is odd. If you have been at the receiving end, a thank-you note is customary.

Dress Code: Blending in is the right thing to do in Ukrainian society. Therefore, try your best to not stand out when among others. Business suits are appropriate for formal meetings. But if you dressed all in black, you may be mistaken for the underworld. It is better to be overdressed than underdressed. Do not enter restaurants, concert halls, or theaters in casual wear. Shorts, t-shirts, and sneakers are not acceptable other than for trekking or camping activities.

Ukraine KidsDining Etiquette: There is no such thing as a quick meal for Ukrainians. Every meal is an elaborate affair with a variety of home-cooked food and strong alcoholic drinks. This may take quite a while to accomplish and nobody will seem to be in a hurry. In fact to be in a hurry over a meal is considered rude. The host decides where the guest of honor is to be seated.

While dining, adopt the European mode of holding the fork in the left hand. After you’re done you may leave the cutlery crossed in the middle of the plate. Never pass salt directly to a person; instead place it on the table in front of him. Visiting a home: Ukrainians love to invite people to their homes, and go to a lot of effort cooking everything from scratch. There will be quite a lot of fatty food such as butter, pork fat, sour cream and rich, creamy milk served to you. The concept of low fat or junk food does not exist. Everything is homemade and wholesome. You will most certainly be welcomed with vodka or other strong spirits which you almost never should refuse. This is meant to be drunk in one shot and never sipped.

Lviv Traffic
Photo by  point of lviv

Communication Style: English is not spoken widely and you may need the services of an interpreter for business and tours. When meeting an older person, it is the younger that has to initiate the introduction.

Ukraine ShopDos and Don’ts: It is common for Ukrainians to find fault with their systems and the law, but you should not join in or attempt to do the same. Beckoning with the index finger is rude. Never gesture with your thumb sticking out between your fingers in a fist; it is the Ukrainian equivalent of a raised middle finger. If you tap your forehead with your finger, it implies you think the other is crazy and this may land you in trouble. You do not wear a hat or cap indoors, or put your feet up on the coffee table.

Kiev Child photo by  AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker
St. Sophia photo by 
ezioman
Ukrainian Woman photo by
quatre mains
Kiev Winter photo by
AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker
Ukraine Kids photo by
quatre mains
Ukraine Shop photo by
L-plate big cheese

Forming Relationships

by admin |

Cultural Sensitivity, Missions Emotional Issues

LaughterGod is all about relationship. He wants us to have relationship with Him and for us to have relationship with each other. This can take us way out of our comfort zone.

I have seen it more than once; the mission team stays huddled as a group, practically ignoring the people they are there to help. Why?  They don’t know how to relate to the people, and this makes them afraid. Sadly, their fear may be misinterpreted as snobbery.

Look, look!Most of the trips I have taken have been for the purpose of building and evangelizing. The work happens in the morning, and the afternoon is reserved for Vacation Bible School with the children and adults of the town we are working in. While in Mexico a few years ago, I heard one man say, “I came here to build a house, not to do VBS. But had I not been made to do the VBS, I would have missed the most important part of the trip.” He would have missed relationship with the children and one homeless man who took a liking to him. The next day that man worked shoulder to shoulder with us, and we had the opportunity to really show him what Christ is about. Every year we return to that community in Mexico and work in partnership with the pastors and people there. We have a relationship of cooperation and love for the purpose of advancing God’s kingdom by serving and evangelizing.

Man with new Malawi Language barriers can be a hindrance to forming relationships, but are possible to overcome. I try to make a point to learn at least a few words of the language and always have my dictionary handy. I have found that people are pretty forgiving of my fumbling and are actually very appreciative that I am at least making an effort to communicate with them.

I actually once had an enlightening “conversation” with my Romanian hostess (Maria) as she demonstrated the art of the sponge bath. She spoke absolutely no English, and I knew only a handful of Romanian words, but we got along really well. Sometimes we both got a little frustrated and tired with trying to make a point, and we would both throw up our hands as if to say “Never mind, it’s not that important.” Even though we had trouble communicating verbally, we still had a wonderful relationship. Everyone understands a hug.

Playing with childrenWhat about here at home? People in nursing homes and other housebound situations welcome conversation. People in homeless shelters may feel despised and unaccepted. They may even be suspicious of our motives until they see that we are acting because we truly care for them. Can reaching out to form relationships be costly? Yes, it can. It costs time and energy, and it can expose us to situations we would not choose for ourselves. But we can be living, breathing examples of Christ and show people how valuable they are to Him because we called them friend.

Laughter photo by Jesse Michael Nix
Cameroon balancing photo by  Elin B
Man with Malawi friends photo by khym54
Lady playing with kids photo by khym54

8 Tips to Finding the Cheapest Airfare

by admin |

missions Fundraising, Planning to Go, Travel

airplane wingOne of the biggest challenges a missionary may face is funding, and a huge part of the expense is the airfare. If your organization isn’t purchasing the tickets for you, then finding the best airfare will be up to you. However, it takes more than just searching on popular airline booking sites. There are certain strategies for finding the most affordable price.

1. Shop Around
The price of your flight will mainly be determined by factors like the number of stops, seat quality, destination, date of departure and return, and flight duration. Think of that song with the lyrics, “My mamma told me, ‘you gotta shop around.’” Indeed you do.

2. Try Destination Specialists
These are brokers that specialize in providing tickets to specific locations. Examples are Travelspears.com, destinationcebu.com, cheapflights.com, and travelsense.org – this one provides a directory of travel specialists. These destination specialists often have more buying power for specific locations over traditional booking agencies.

3. Check Airlines Directly
Traditional online booking sites like cheaptickets.com or expedia.com may, at times, have the cheapest price.  However, these sites often tag on a booking charge for just buying it from the carrier that will be sending you on your mission. These sites can still be used to your advantage by using them as a search engine. When you input your departure and return flight information you’ll notice they have multiple carriers with multiple prices. You can simply note the cheapest airfare, go directly to that site and find it cheaper there. 

4. Be Flexible with Dates
If you can be flexible with your dates of travel, your savings will be heavy. Cutting your trip a day shorter or even longer can save hundreds of dollars. Prices also differ for the time of day the flights depart. The flights that leave during the week are cheaper compared to weekend flights.

5. Buy in Advance
Buying in advance is another way to save money. Ideally the best time is 2-3 weeks in advance. I find that buying too far in advance is actually more expensive as ticket prices fluctuate like the stock market when departure time comes near.  I’ve seen tickets drop suddenly the day before the flight when they want to fill the plane. However, when purchasing an international ticket, you don’t want to risk not getting a seat. Therefore, it might be better for peace of mind to go ahead and get it much earlier.

6. Try Neighboring Airports
Don’t stick to only one international airport. You may find neighboring airports, even a city or two away, are incredibly cheaper. Sure, your trip might take a little longer, but think of it as quality time to have a nice talk with someone or to chat with God about your upcoming journey.

7. Use Multiple Airlines
Airline prices are really tricky. Roundtrips are sometimes cheaper than one-ways. Don’t automatically stick with roundtrips with one airline. You may find a cheap one way ticket with one agency or airline on a specific day while finding a cheap flight with a totally different agency and airline for the return trip. You would think the agency would find the cheapest price both ways, but sometimes they can’t outprice their competition.

8. Pick up the Phone
With some effort, you may be surprised at the amount of money you can save on international airfare. Good research does take time, however. Also be aware that prices can change from one minute to the next. If you find your internet searching is making your bubble burst, calling the agencies and airlines may be the way to a cheaper airfare. You may even find that customer service reps become more helpful when you mention the purpose of your flight.

Photo by Freakland – ???????

Film Show – Murdoch, Cameroon

by Melissa Chang |

Cameroon, Jesus Film, Missions Organizations, Short-Term Missions, Stories from the Field

This is a video taken at a Jesus film showing in Murdoch, Cameroon.  It was the premiere in Murdoch of the film in the Gizega language.  If you want to find out more information on Jesus Film Mission Trips, visit www.JesusFilm.org.  Trips are usually 2 weeks long and are available in a wide variety of countries.

Stories from the Field-Jesus Film Team

by Melissa Chang |

Africa, Cameroon, Jesus Film, Stories from the Field

Jesus Film ShowingHow can I even describe a film showing? I mean, we have only done the film showings for 2 nights to about 7,000 people & over 850 people have come forward publically to follow Jesus. On the other hand instead of being elated, we are all beaten down & struggling to survive physically. Our team members are dropping like flies. First 1 person, then another, then 3 more, then 5 more. Severe vomiting & dehydration. ½ the team got to stay back & rest today while the other ½ went to preach at church. mostly we are all a little scared & trying to just get back our energy so we can do this. But in the meantime, amazing things are happening.

Our 1st night, we all piled into the van with our Cameroon partners. We piled the bus high with 10 mm reels of film, generators, speakers, projectors, gasoline & wiring. The Cameroon partners have planned everything ahead of time & know exactly where we are going – but we never know what is going to happen next. We drove for awhile on dust roads, past shrubs, rocks & boulders, & heads of cattle, goats & pigs – and many, many thatched roof huts. A few times the road was covered in deep mud holes & I imagined we would all be out pushing, but we managed to navigate through. At times we would see a lone child in the distance who would wave as we passed.

Kids at Cameroon Jesus FilmFinally we drove into a clearing & there ahead of us we saw the people. Hundreds of people. Drums were playing. People were singing. As they caught sight of the van, they let out a shout of excitement & began letting out their shrill tongue trilling of celebration.

As we piled out, and began unloading, the crowd got more excited. Several men with bows and arrows jumped out from the crowd signing and acting out shooting the weapons. Then several rows of women in matching fabric came forth singing and changing in procession. On their heads they carried handmade bowls full with sand, representing a bountiful harvest. The head drummer stepped up on a stool to reach the top of his very large drum & began beating out a rhythm for the singers. It was quite a welcome & display of celebration knowing that their home language would now be memorialized forever.

They provide school benches for the whole team and had seated everyone in the audience in a very organized manner, children on the side, teenagers next to them, then the women, then the men. Behind us & the projector, in several seats of honor, sat about 5 rows of village leaders, Muslim leaders & government officials.

Everyone was ready & waiting. Now we just had to get the thing to work.

Handling Rejection in the Mission Field: When Your Message is Not Received

by admin |

Missions Emotional Issues

RejectionHeading out to the mission field, whether you are going to an area where people are familiar with the gospel or have never heard, does not guarantee that your message of salvation will be received and accepted by the people. You don’t send out surveys and wait for feedback before visiting uncharted areas, whether it be in your own neighborhood or across the sea. You go because Jesus told us to preach to all nations, and that is exactly what you are going to do.

Being rejected on a mission trip is disheartening. You might have had such great expectations for success. So, how do you handle this rejection? What is your next step?

First you have to decipher the rejection you receive. You have to decide if you made any headway, and if anyone showed interest in your message. If you helped even one person start the wheels turning, then you have had a successful trip. You may never see the fruit that you cultivated, but it doesn’t mean it is not there. Abraham never saw the multitude of descendants that God promised him, but he knew it would be as promised.

Reflection in the waterYou must also realize that sometimes it takes more than just one group of missionaries to reach people. When people who have never heard the name of Jesus first hear, it is hard to expect them to believe instantly. People are skeptical by human nature, and it may take a few mission trips and different folks to help them believe. So in essence, you did have a successful trip, even if you were the first person to introduce them to Christ and did not experience their acceptance. What great joy it is to go back to a place after a few years and see that people are reading their Bibles and welcoming you as a fellow believer

Missionaries have the task of spreading the gospel around the world. Do your part to be prepared for your mission field, as far as language and culture differences go, so you can do your best to communicate with people there. Take comfort in knowing that Jesus commanded us to tell the Good News, but does not hold us responsible for whether or not someone else receives the news. Take heart in the fact that you did what you were commanded, and let God do the rest.

If you need a good pick-me-up after a mission trip where you felt like you made no headway, try reading stories from other missionaries. You will soon find that many have felt the same as you, and some have made their way to other parts of the world only to find immediate success. You are never alone.

Rejection photo by Rodolfo Nunez
Reflection photo by Alejandra Mavroski

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