Sunday, July 10, 2011

Thirteen Commandments for Going on a Overseas Mission Work Trip

I. Thou shalt go with a positive attitude. Try to avoid complaints and anything else that could lead to arguments or dissension within the group.

II. Thou shalt realize that this is a mission work trip in which you seek to serve God by working to serve others to the best of your ability. We do not want to see able-bodied group members who are doing nothing—or as little as possible. Of course, everyone gets tired, and sometimes a brief illness may keep you from working. That's understandable, but always try to do your best. This is a work trip—not a luxury cruise.

III. Thou shalt stay together and not go wandering off on your own without the knowledge of one of one of the group leaders. 

IV. Thou shalt not delay group activities by being late when we are going someplace. It is not fair to make everyone else have to wait for you.

V. Thou shalt not leave valuables unattended or get into other situations that could invite theft. Fanny packs are safer than purses. 

VI. Thou shalt act as though cleanliness is next to Godliness when it comes to possible health hazards from contamination. When brushing your teeth; use bottled water as much as you can. Carry waterless instant hand sanitizer (Purell or other brand) with you. Dirty hands touching your mouth can invite illness.

VII. Thou shalt always remember to practice basic health and first aid principles. Use mosquito repellant with at least 30% DEET content to protect against both nuisance mosquitoes and those that carry dengue fever (somewhat similar to malaria). Sunscreen should be used if there is any chance of getting sunburned.

VIII. Thou shalt always practice safety in and regarding vehicles.

IX. Be especially careful when walking at night. Bring a couple of flashlights; there's a disposable kind that's about the size of your palm.

X. Thou shalt respect the privacy of our group members. In some instances, men and women may be staying in closer proximity to each other than you are used to doing in the U.S., and sometimes it may be necessary to use common bathroom facilities. Be careful not to accidentally cause embarrassment to yourself or someone else.

XI. Thou shalt remember that you are a guest in someone else's church, town, and country. Don't think that being an American from a more materially blessed culture makes you in any way better or smarter than your hosts. You should try to respect their customs and seek to learn from them as they do from you and your group. Realize that some words and forms of non-verbal communication that may be friendly in American culture can have opposite meanings in other ones. Remember that as an American, you are very conspicuous in places like your overseas host churches and the neighborhoods around them.

XII. Thou shalt not forget that your purpose is to glorify God through all of your actions. Prayer, prayer, and prayer are the three most essential elements for your success.

XIII. Thou shalt expect to have a wonderful, memorable, and life-changing experience that you will always appreciate. Doing whatever you can in advance to learn about the country where you are going and picking up a few basic words and phrases (of a complimentary nature) of their language will make your trip even more meaningful and productive. Feel free to contact the trip leaders or people who have been on previous trips if you have any questions.

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