Missions Launch

Helping those who help the world

Planning for a Long-Term Missions Trip: Taking Care of the Homefront

by Denise Oliveri |

Long-Term Missions, Missions Emotional Issues, Planning to Go

chessA lot of work and preparation goes into planning a long-term missionary trip. You will certainly need more than a few days of clothes and your visa as you prepare to leave for months, or even years. When you sign up to go on a long-term mission your agency or church will help you prepare. It is important that you follow these instructions so that you are not left out in an unknown country unprepared for what may come. The following are some other considerations to make as you place to leave for a long-term missionary trip.

Taking care of things at home:

One of the hardest things you will have to do is to decide how you will care for things at home. The best way to leave on a mission long-term is to have few things left to worry about at home. You will want a clean break so that you can focus on your purpose. If you own a home, you will need to decide whether you will sell your home, or rent or lease it while you are away. If you decide to rent, you will have to put someone you trust in charge of the property.

lookingBills are something else you will have to consider. If you have debt, it is a good idea to work to pay off that debt before you leave. However, you can also ask a trusted friend or family member to take care of your bills while you are away. The best way to handle this is to have a checking account that has enough money in it to cover your bills for several months.

If you are taking the whole family, then you will need to carefully research homeschooling for your children and prepare your children for this life as well. Kids can be adaptable, but you will need to help them along the way. If you are leaving your family behind, you need to make sure they are emotionally prepared for your long-term absence.

Preparing to leave:

There are other essential parts of packing up and leaving the country that you will need to consider. First of all, make sure that you have all of your necessary documents and paperwork for traveling. That means having your visa updated and ready to go. It is also a good idea to have copies of important documents such as your social security card, birth certificate, and other papers in a lock box. Make sure that someone in your family can take care of this in case it is needed.

goodbyeImmunizations are also very important as you embark on a long-term mission trip. Talk to your doctor about what you need to stay healthy, and make sure that everyone in your family gets the proper medical care before leaving. Most physicians know what types of immunizations you will need for different parts of the world. You will also want to think about medical care while you are away. Will you have access to a clinic or hospital? Will you be able to secure your prescriptions? Consider this and make plans accordingly.

Packing and planning for your trip:

It will be important that you take the right things when you leave. Learn all you can about where you are traveling and pack for the climate. You want to avoid taking unnecessary items, but you also want to make sure you have the items you need. If you are stationed in a remote area, going to the local department store to pick up a winter coat won’t be an option.

You will also want to become familiar with the language and customs. This is very important to the success of your mission. Take some time before you go and familiarize yourself with these factors. Learn the basics of the language and be prepared to learn even more when you arrive.

Chess photo by Mariano Kamp
Goodbye photo by  The Udall Legacy Bus…
Thinking photo by Pink Sherbet Photography

I Have Debt; Should I Go?

by admin |

Long-Term Missions, missions Fundraising, Planning to Go

Credit CardRegardless of how you feel Christians should approach it, the truth is debt is becoming more and more common. Many Christians who feel called to long-term missions are also feeling trapped by credit card bills, car payments, and mortgages. So what should you do if you feel God is calling you, but you have debt? Should you go or should you wait until you pay it all off? Let’s look at both sides of the coin.

To Go…

On one hand, if you feel the call to live as a full-time missionary, you are going to be living a life very obviously dependent on the provision of God. To say, “I can’t go God, because I owe too much,” is the equivalent of saying, “I know what you’re telling me,  but I’m not sure I trust you to provide.” I hope that doesn’t sound overly harsh, but as Christians we are called to be obedient to the direction of God. For a missionary, every day is an exercise in faith. The good news is that, with practice, faith grows. If you know that you are supposed to be a missionary full-time, budget your debt into your expenses and be candid about it with your supporters. If they decide not to support someone with debt, trust that your funds will come from elsewhere.

Paid…Or Not to Go

On the other hand, as Christians we have not only a financial, but also a moral obligation to our debts. The honest truth is that some potential supporters may only see their money paying your credit card rather than your necessities. Depending on your situation, you may be better off temporarily delaying your missions work while you pay off as much as you can afford until you are in a more financially stable position.

Balance

The crux of this issue is finding a balance between moral responsibility and faith in God’s provision. These ideas are not exclusive of each other, but work hand-in-hand. And the answer will not look the same for everyone. The most important thing is that you prayerfully address this issue with an open heart.

Paid photo by  *_Abhi_*
Credit Card photo by  The Consumerist

Missions Field Selection

by admin |

Long-Term Missions, Picking a Trip, Planning to Go

Which Way?After making that decision to become a long-term missionary, the next step is to choose a location. Even if you know the country that you feel called to, there are several questions that you need to explore before deciding on a destination.

When selecting a ministry to work with overseas, rely on recommendations from people that you trust. When you start communicating with this contact, try to determine what their philosophy of ministry is. When I was researching churches in Italy, I considered working with a particular ministry until I discovered that we had incompatible evangelistic methods. This church also had little freedom for diversity in ministry approaches.

Researching as much as you can about possible missions sites is very important. A pastor in Ivory Coast stressed this idea to me. He had seen missionaries come to African villages without doing homework beforehand. There are some villages that are so dangerous that the pastors have been killed, which is the reason why there is not currently a church. Historical, social, and spiritual details such as these are critical to be aware of before making a decision.

Probably the best thing that you can do when deciding what country to go to is take a short-term trip. These trips can expose you to various people groups and different forms of cross-culture ministry. They also give you a picture of what life would be like living there. During your stay in each location attempt to determine if you could plausibly do long-term missions there. I know a married couple who are taking six months to travel to a few different countries to see where they would like to do missions long-term.

It is very risky to whole-heartedly commit to long-term missions without substantial information. As the Bible says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). Invest some time in research and short-term trips, and gain all the knowledge you can.

Photo by Y

3 Easy Ways to Get Plugged In

by admin |

Local Church, Long-Term Missions, Missions Organizations, Picking a Trip, Planning to Go

Plugged inMany people don’t realize the wealth of easily-accessible resources that connect people into missions and often give up because they simply can’t find a starting point. Here are some places that can help you get connected.

1. Start at the Church

Many churches have missions programs they can link you to, which may include local opportunities as well as ones abroad. Even if your church doesn’t have anything currently established, they will most likely have the names of any missionaries connected with the church. That leads us to door number two…

2. Long-Term Missionaries

If you know of anyone who is ministering long-term in another country, you should try contacting them. Let them know you are wanting to get involved in some way. Missionaries can almost always use a little more help in one way or another, and even if they don’t need the extra hands at the moment, they will greatly appreciate your desire and might be able to give you another lead.

3. Missions Organizations

Missions organizations are non-profit groups, usually unconnected with a single church, whose vision is to see people go to the nations. There are nearly unlimited opportunities found within these types of organizations. Many will have trips designed to fit certain gifts that you may have. For example, I lived in Perth, Australia on the base of a missions organization called Youth With A Mission (YWAM). They offer schools of worship, media, visual art, and evangelism just to name a few, in bases around the world. Each of this schools involved a short term (2-3 month) outreach that taught students how to use their skills in ministry. There are many organizations, like YWAM, that provide amazing opportunities to go to the nations.

Photo by jeremyfoo

Raising support

by admin |

Long-Term Missions, missions Fundraising, Planning to Go, Short-Term Missions

Missions trips, whether short or long term, are incredibly enriching experiences. When you travel somewhere outside of your comfort zone, it puts you in a place of vulnerability where you gain a renewed realization of your dependence on God. Most times those who travel on missions trips return home feeling that they might have been touched as much or more than those they were ministering to.

FundraisingHowever, one of the biggest blockages to going is an apparent lack of finances, and the fear that missionaries often have about raising support.

One common justification for avoiding asking for support is that some people feel they are putting others out by asking for money for their trip. However, raising support allows those who may not be able to travel to invest in and experience second-hand the movement of God in other places. Raising support lets you give other people an opportunity to participate in your trip.

Besides involving those at home, God also wants to be involved. The same self-sufficiency that keeps us from involving others can often make us more and more independent of God. When we do ask for support, we put provision in God’s hands. We also open the door for financial miracles in this way; more than once, I have seen God provide out of what seemed to be thin air! He’s a big dude – give Him a chance to do His thing.

In missions, asking for support is not only necessary to meet financial needs, but opens doors of relationship between yourself, others, and God. It shouldn’t be viewed as a burden, but an opportunity. God will use your need as something to strengthen your faith. Afterall, He chooses to use the weak things of this world to shame the strong (1 Corinthians 1:27).

Short-term or long-term missions trips: How to choose which is right for you

by admin |

Long-Term Missions, Picking a Trip, Planning to Go, Short-Term Missions

Pile of SuitcasesThere are many people who dream of helping others and traveling the world. Both long- and short-term missions are great for this very reason. You can go just about anywhere for any length of time when you sign up for a missions trip, from an exotic location across the globe or right in your own state. So how do you decide whether to take a long or a short mission? Here are some points to consider.

Time to travel
When considering what type of missions trip you’re interested in, one of the first things you will want to consider is how long you can travel. If you have a job at home that you love and you do not want to leave it for good, then you need to look at a short-term mission. However, if you are not tied down to job, you are between jobs, or you are willing to quit, then a long-term mission is a possibility for you.

In addition, you may not be the type of person who likes to leave home for long periods of time. If that describes you, perhaps a short-term mission is best. If you are adventurous and don’t mind the idea of leaving the comfort of home for months or longer, then you should look at long-term missions.

Leaving it behind
When you sign up for a short-term missions trip, you will come back home fairly quickly. You do not have to worry about your home, pets or leaving family members behind for a long time. If you go on a long-term mission, these are all things to consider. You may not have the personality where you can leave it all behind for months or years, but you’ll need to factor what you’re leaving behind very carefully before choosing a mission.

Type of missions work
The next thing to consider is the actual type of mission work. Think this through carefully. Mission work is not an easy vacation, it is work and you will be expected to put in hours each day. Mission work is emotionally taxing and can cause high stress. You can certainly take a one- or two-week mission to build a church or help repair a school or homes. And that type of work, although difficult, will likely be easier than ministering to the very poor in a remote country for months on end.

You may not have the skills or inclination to work construction, but the idea of teaching or ministering may more closely match your interests and skills. These are all things to consider when choosing a mission.

Your calling
Of course, you may have a very specific mission in mind. You may feel it is your calling. In that case, think about your decision very carefully and talk to members of your church family who can help guide you through your decision-making. The decision to go on any length of mission should not be taken lightly.

Photo by malias

© Missions Launch. All rights reserved.