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Your on-you bag (usually a travel wallet/pouch) is what holds your most important items as you travel. These items should pretty much never leave your body during your trip. Seriously. Let’s face it . . . We’re all human and prone to losing items, especially as we travel. (How many times have you accidentally left your cell phone charger in a hotel room?) Losing your phone charger won’t ruin your trip. But losing your passport? Well, that’s a much larger hiccup. Below you’ll find the items you should include in your on-you bag.

  1. PASSPORT This is your single most important item while traveling!
  2. DRIVER’S LICENSE Bring your driver’s license. You may be asked to present multiple forms of identification during your trip.
  3. AIRLINE TICKETS . . . Unless you plan on swimming.
  4. TRAVEL VISA A visa is what allows you to stay in a country for a specific amount of time. Depending on the country, sometimes you need to get the visa before you travel and sometimes you get the visa upon arriving at your destination (and some countries have no visa requirements at all).
  5. VACCINATION CERTIFICATE Some countries ask to see your vaccination certificate (usually a yellow booklet that you receive when you get a vaccination) upon entry. Pack this with you just in case they ask for it!
  6. DEBIT CARD Some of the most remote corners of the world have ATM machines. If your mission trip hits any financial bumps along the way, accessing cash quickly using your debit card can be helpful. However, you don’t want to add unneeded stress to your trip by losing your debit card, so be sure to keep it in your on-you bag.
  7. CASH A $20 bill can buy everything from a taxi ride to basic medical treatment, to souvenirs.
  8. Tip: Carry about $20 worth of local currency as well, for the same reason. Carrying both US currency and the local currency will keep your bases covered, no matter who you’re dealing with.

ALIGN YOUR HEART WITH THE PURPOSE OF YOUR TRIP

If we’re honest with ourselves, sometimes we have ulterior motives for going on a mission trip. We want to travel. We want to get to know a certain guy or girl. We want to feel good about ourselves. We want to look like a better Christian when we get back.

But there’s a bigger purpose for your trip. Answer the following questions honestly, and avoid the tendency to just skim over them. Answering the questions below will help focus your mind and heart on the true purpose of your trip.

1) What are some of the reasons I am serving on this trip?

2) Do I have any ulterior motives for going on this mission trip? What are they?

3) Based on my current motives, if I left on my trip today, what would be my primary focus throughout the trip?

4) How might the community I’m traveling to feel about my current motives?

5) How might God feel about these motives?

6) What is the primary purpose of the trip?

7) What should I be focusing on?

8) What do I need to do to genuinely align my focus with the true purpose of the trip?

Imagine that someone from another country meets you at school or work today. He finds you during your lunch break and immediately starts talking to you. His English isn’t great, but you eventually figure out that he’s trying to tell you about Jesus and that you need forgiveness for your sins. …All while you’re eating a turkey sandwich. Most awkward lunch break ever?

Sometimes this is what evangelism feels like to locals when we’re on our mission trip. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Follow these practical steps and you will not only avoid an awkward situation, but you will also be more likely to see your evangelism efforts pay off.

1) Lead with your actions

The first step in practical evangelism is to focus on your team’s work project. Whether it’s painting a schoolhouse, digging a well, rebuilding an orphanage, or something else, leading with your actions shows the locals that you care.

There’s an old saying that’s especially true for evangelism: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” When it comes to mission trips, we need to lead with actions, not our mouths. This shows the locals how much we care about them.

2) Start a relationship

You’ve been working hard rebuilding an orphanage all morning, and now it’s time to take a break and hang out with some locals. But wait! Don’t spill your faith guts out yet. Just start a friendship. Find a local (maybe someone that looks close to you in age) and get to know him or her.

Remember, life-changing conversations rarely happen right after, “Hey, what’s your name?” So, don’t feel bad if the conversation is surface-level at this point.

3) Ask real questions

Maybe you’re a few days into your mission trip and you’re getting to know a few locals pretty well. Now, it’s time to spill your faith guts! Just kidding. But it is time to dive a little deeper. What’s their family life like? What personal challenges are they facing? What do they hope for their future? The goal is to feel comfortable asking “real” questions after hanging out with him or her for a couple of days.

4) Offer to pray

After you’ve had a more “real” conversation, a great next step is to offer to pray. Maybe they are going through a tough family situation. Maybe they are concerned about a drought that is killing their crops. Whatever it is, offering to pray over the situation is usually an easy way to share your faith without feeling awkward or being confrontational.

5) Hang out often

Continue to hang out with the locals you have connected with throughout the trip. Continue to ask real questions, offer to pray, and if it feels appropriate, share your testimony. The more you hang out, the more likely you will be to find yourself in a situation to genuinely (not awkwardly) share your faith.

6) Have realistic expectations

You may not see a local’s spiritual life completely change during the week you’re abroad. Is it possible for a local turn their life to Christ after just one conversation with you? Absolutely! However, it’s more likely that the conversations you have will be “seeds”that God will grow slowly over time.

It’s really personal

Each step in this evangelism process is really personal. That’s because talking about faith and choosing to follow Christ is the most personal thing a person will ever do. Because it’s so personal, your evangelism is more likely to have an impact if you focus on having these conversations with just a couple of people, not 200 people.

If you follow these six steps, you will be on your way to having effective (not awkward) conversations about Jesus with others.

CHANGE THEIR WORLD. CHANGE YOURS. THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.