Baylor Missions is sending out twenty four teams on mission trips this summer! That is three hundred and sixty five people, many of which who have never been on a mission trip before. That is not including Baylor students who are going on trips with their churches and other organizations. If you are going on your first mission trip this summer, this one’s for you! We asked our returning students what they would have told their past selves and this was the top advice.
10. What to Wear
Be aware of what clothing you are taking with you on your trip. Will it be considered appropriate? Will you be able to be able to do the work expected of you? Ask your team leader and do some research of your own. It is worth it to err on the side of caution than to put a strain on a relationship because you brought the wrong pair of short. Do your research and ask your team and if you have more questions after that, contact Baylor Missions.
9. Be flexible!
You will be on a team of lots of different people in a new country, do not let your expectations of the trip ruin the experience you will have. Take every opportunity you have to try something new- food, experience, language – just be ready to try and you won’t be disappointed! If you’re open to new possibilities than you’ll get so much more out of your trip!
8. Remember you’re on a team.
A big part of your trip will be the people you are with! You are not in this alone, and you will be working with an incredible team of students and faculty, so being able to work in a team is incredibly crucial to a smooth mission trip. Go out of your way to be a good teammate and friend to these people, you won’t regret it. Get to know your teammates and forge good relationships, they can last a lifetime. No matter what kind of relationships you have with your teammates, remember that every person that you are in contact with is in made in the image of God and should be treated in that way.
7. Culture is important
Do your own research about the culture of where you are going and the people you’ll be serving with. This includes food, customs, mannerisms, language, schooling, and more. You’ll never be an expert in the culture of another community but the more you know the better you will be able to get to know the people of the community and the more work you will do.
You will likely be in a country that speaks another language than English, the more you know the better! No matter how much of the language you know, be ready to work around the barrier when communicating with others. Whether you have a translator or not, patience is key. Words are not the way to communicate, non-verbal communication is very useful, think through how to communicate without words. Remember, a big smile can go a long way!
5. Remember your trip is part of an ongoing relationship.
Baylor Missions works hard to maintain relationships with community partners. Remember that you are sent as representative to maintain this relationship. Love our community partners well and serve with them.
There will likely be many things that are done differently while you’re serving on your trip. Learn from the people around you– about God, culture, language, and service. Watch how the community you’re with does things differently and take it all in. Ask, “How can this inform the way I live at home?”
3. Work hard!
Ultimately, you’re on this trip to learn and serve. No matter where you are, whether it be in a malnutrition center or building homes, remember why you’re there and put yourself on the back burner. Be willing to serve whole-heartedly and ready to be a vessel for God’s work.
Listen to the stories that will be told all around you, they are important! The experiences of the people you will serve with are different than your own and there is so much value in learning about them. God is represented in each of these people and in their stories. Sit, listen, and share– you’ll be amazed at what you hear.
There are many ways to prepare for mission trips, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Don’t skip the step of preparation, it will make a big difference in your experience. Do your research. Be in prayer for your teamGet plenty of sleep before you trip. Use the spiritual preparation provided by Baylor Missions, like the pre-trip prayer guide available on Canvas. Be at your best for your trip!
If there is anyway we at Baylor Missions can help you prepare for you mission trip or be in prayer for you, let us know!
Kathleen Post is the Ministry Associate for Global Missions and a student at Truett Seminary.