Monday, July 9, 2012

Top ten things I ALWAYS take on a mission trip

I have a little philosophy that has worked well for me in life, in marriage, in parenting and when traveling on a short term mission trip.

My philosophy is this ...control what you can because there is so much that you have no control over. (a shorter way to say this is ... be intentional)

When I am on a mission trip, I cannot control

          *the weather

          *my teammates

          *my team leader (even when it is my husband) 

          *if I get sick

          *if we are too busy

          *if I get asked to do things I do not enjoy

So, to help me to have a good attitude about all of the above (and many other things I cannot control), I ask God to give me extra strength AND I bring along a few things from home that are just for me. (remember ... control what you can control)

Ten things I take on a mission trip:

1. Comfortable well broken in walking shoes. Almost every mission trip I have been on has required lots of walking. (which I love) But the wrong shoes can make you miserable.

2. A few favorite snacks from home. For me this is protein bars, cashews and black licorice. You never know when you will be stuck somewhere and be really hungry.

 3. A few small gifts that you can give friends that you meet along the way. (the pastor's wife that is hosting you, the sweet old lady that offers to do your laundry, the kids that pull on your heart strings, folks that invite you into your home for dinner)

 4. A small photo album of your family, home, pets and hometown. It is a great conversation starter as people are always interested in your life.

 5. A small ziplock of laundry bits and pieces ... a tiny piece of fels-naptha to remove stains, a small bottle of liquid soap for hand laundry and wet wipes for quick spot removal while you are out and about.

6. A small ziplock of vanilla tea lights and matches. 
(to help your temporary home smell better, provide ambiance and I have even read by candlelight, when the rest of my team was sleeping)

 7. Clorox wipes come in handy if you end up staying somewhere less clean than you like.

 8. A small ziplock with office bits and pieces ... colored index cards and post-it notes, (to make lists, and write notes of encouragement to your team) a favorite pen, a child-sized fiskar scissors and tape.

9. A small ziplock of medicine. Our family is rather low maintenance in the medicine department, but I always bring advil, imodium, (for tummy troubles) my normal vitamins, emergen-c and a few bandaids.

10. And my favorite, I have saved for last. A few favorite pillow cases. (soft cotton and pretty prints that cheer me)
These come in handy if my bed is not as clean as I like, if I get the flu and would like a clean pillow case,you get the idea. (trust me on this one ... they hardly take up any room and you will be thrilled if you need it)

And for free, I am going to throw this one in ... a small sewing kit with safety pins ... you never know when you will find this handy.

One summer we were on our way home (exhausted) and got stuck in a long customs line where they were searching everyone's luggage. A young customs agent said to me, (really, I am not making this up) "if you have a safety pin that I can have, I will let your family through without opening your bags." 

I quickly popped into my sewing kit for a safety pin, she pinned her pants where she had just lost a button and off we went, one step closer to home. 

My friend, Cathie and I on a mission trip to Moldova.

image credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11


  1. I think this is excellent advice for any trip! The pillow case is a great idea and I'm off to stick a safety pin in my purse!!


  2. This is great! Thank you.

    Do you know that I just LOVE visiting your blog!?!? I would love to meet you in real life someday. I love the way you are practical, spiritual, helpful, encouraging...all of it.


  3. such great advice!
    i would love to go on a miaaions trip someday!
    xo :)

  4. Great practical advice. I have not been on a missions trip but have supported quite a few of my family and students through the years. My niece, Sarah has gone the most as she actually worked for World Relief. I am sharing you list.

  5. I am still laughing...over the safety pin adventure. I recently pressed hand towels and pillows cases on a loved one going off to house sit...they were at first mom...but later I got a little note what an wonderful good super appreciated etc etc...

  6. Thanks for the tips! Especially the "few small gifts." We're on our way to interview for a Senior Pastor's position this weekend and I've made lists of my lists to be certain everything necessary gets packed. But I missed that one! And it is so important! Perfect timing this. Blessings, e

  7. great suggestions...i love the few small gifts idea...I definitely wished for those things. Many of these items I bring when traveling with the family but would be good to bring anytime.

    I love the SAFETY PIN story at customs! Lovely.

  8. You are so smart Glenda, what great practical suggestions, some which I would never have thought to bring, I love the pillowcase idea - as long as my head is on a clean pillow, I'm just fine. Thanks for sharing all this great stuff!

  9. Wow - great list! I "starred" this so that the next time we travel I'll remember to take this stuff. Very, very smart list! Blessings from Zagreb - A Little R & R (

  10. Great tips! Having been on mission trips, they all make sense.

  11. Perfection. As always. You are just the best, Glenda - wise, clever, kind and truly helpful. Thanks for these great tips.

  12. Everyone laughs at me, but the first thing out of my luggage wherever I am is a candle and lighter. It makes a motel room feel like home. You shared some items I wouldn't have thought of. Now where can I go?

  13. I take most of these things on trips Glenda but never thought of the pillowcase ~ what a great way to bring a little bit of home along with you!

  14. What a great list Glenda and I take most of these things when we go on a trip ~ the candle has been on my must pack list for a long long time. Love the idea of the pillowcases ~ what a perfect way to take a little bit of home with you.

  15. You were invaluable to me before I left. I took a couple of clean pillow cases, which were so nice to have, and note cards. I made sure I wrote to each girl on the trip, and a couple even told me that my note made their day. Thanks for the great advice!!

  16. your blog is so full of useful practical should send it to a magazine and earn some $ for your knowledge!

  17. Thank you for this valuable information, I hope it is okay that I bookmarked your website for further references.

  18. What a wonderful list, Glenda, and love the customs guy story. If I'm traveling with checked bags, I'll take hand lotions purchased from Bath & Body. They are the perfect size, an ounce, and women always love them. For me...that's a more difficult choice. The hotel sewing kits are always handy and take up so little room.

  19. A very practical list. I had never thought of traveling with candle tea lights or the pillow cases, but those are great ideas. And this is the first time I've ever heard of "fels-naptha", so I'll be checking into that! Thank you for sharing.

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  22. great advice and gift I take to give are those pretty bags one can purchase at Home Goods, TJMaxx, grocery stores or other stores. As you know, in much of the world, one must buy a bag to carry purchases out of the store. Giving away something so useful is nice and I always say, "When you use this bag, please remember me in prayer." While traveling, I buy them as well and use for gift giving when I return home.

  23. Hi Glenda, my cousin is going on an 11 month missions trip (the World Race) and I want to make her little "Open When..." envelopes with letters and gifts inside. Her trip is international and they get a hiking backpack and a school backpack for the whole year. I want to give her helpful and compact gifts. Any ideas? Thanks so much!


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