Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Packing List, Part Three

Still on our Upstream's mini tour this week. Today we are in Lebanon Tennessee just outside of Nashville. We are doing one of our "About Europe" meetings with several area pastors, mission leaders and business people. I hope you will check us out on our blog at

Here is the last of the packing list for a short term mission project. I am sure there are other things to be packed so feel free to add to the list.

The Intangibles

7. A blessing for your host / or people you may be working with while overseas.

In some cases you may be working with a missionary team, a national church or church planter. I always have enjoyed when the volunteer team comes over and blesses us. I know this may sound self-serving since I am a missionary (smile) but you can really be an encouragement for people on the field. Idea: You may want to ask them if there is something that they would like to have from the states or just surprise them with a goodie. It does not have to be a lot. The thought really does count. The other idea is to pray for them and with them during the trip. This is a huge blessing to the workers that live on the field.

8. A smile. When we moved to the field we made a family covenant to smile at the people we met. That sounds really silly but it goes a long way when you are trying to connect with a person. Think about the times you have met people and they were not smiling. Were you impressed? I think everything changes with a good smile. Idea: smile

9. An “ I will try it” attitude. People that come over and do a good job seem to have an “I will try it ” attitude. Ministry in another country can be a challenge. Everything seems different. The food looks, smells and tastes different. Ideas: Seek out restaurants that are not part of American fast food chains but go to where the locals go. Be a “foodie”! While you are preparing for your trip take public transportation and eat at an ethnic restaurant in your city to get out of your normal patterns.

10. A few words that you can speak in the heart language of the people – I will be the first to say that I am not a language expert but I try to always say a few words in whatever country I happen to be in. Language is so important in cross-cultural ministry. You may or may not be fluent when you come on your trip but if you can try to learn some basics it will go a long way in your time overseas.

I am certain there are other things that you should pack. Feel free to add to this list. I wonder what we would put on a list of things “NOT” to pack?


Dan said...

Number 9 is a great way to earn the respect of the local population. As a sailor, my overseas time is mostly associated with the Navy. Unfortunately, we sailors, even Christian ones, ruin the experience for many believers in a given country. We don't care about the local people enough and we are overly American. But when I "tried" to fit in a little better, I was immediately accepted. It worked great.

And with that, the things we can't take with us are the "I'm better than you" attitude. It's as intangible as the things on this list today, but it's a killer.

J. et K. said...

11. Your testimony in simple English, no Christianese. If you're working with missionaries who speak the local language, they can translate your testimony. But it helps A LOT (both in terms of ease of translationa nd effectiveness of the message) if it's in clear, simple English.