In most cases, you can take two suitcases weighting up to 50 lbs (22.5 kgs.) each and one carry on and one briefcase/purse. One suitcase can be for your personal items and the second will be called the “mission supplies” suitcase. Your team leader will be able to let you know if you need one or two bags. Be sure to secure large suitcases that can hold 50 lbs in order to take advantage of every pound of resource. Checked bags cannot exceed 62 inches when you total length + width + height.
Personal Packing List
- Bible, journal, and pen
- Bilingual dictionary
- Photos of my family
- Extra pair of glasses (if needed)
- Prescription medication (if needed)
- Pepto-Bismol tablets
- Anti-diarrhea medicine
- Motion sickness medicine
- Sunscreen, hat, bug repellant, Chapstick, sunglasses
- Baby wipes or hand sanitizer
- Towels and washcloths if necessary (most hotels provide towels however many do not have washcloths)
- Work gloves (if construction focused)
- Personal clothing (see notes below)
- Flashlight and batteries
- Camera and required accessories
- Electrical plug adapters
- Alarm clock
- Personal hygiene items
- Comfortable shoes
- Personal money for personal expenses and shopping (meals provided in country)
Second “Mission Supplies” Suitcase
You will place “supply” resources in your second suitcase (contingent on team needs). The contents will depend on your mission effort. The resources your team mobilizes will go in these resource suitcases. If your team members have mobilized their own resources then that can be their resource suitcase – if not, then you will need to divide the materials with your team members. Create an inventory of the items in each suitcase and have each member have a copy of what is in their suitcases – the team leader should have a master inventory of all suitcases. This could prove to be useful while going through customs.
You will see many nationals wear the same clothes day after day, but this is not because they lack style or are unhygienic. For the most part, especially with the children, these are the only clothes they own. Therefore, it is good for you to know that wearing the same clothes for several days or even the whole trip is quite appropriate. Bring practical clothing that will be sufficient for the weather that you will be entering and the kind of work that you will be doing. Church clothing is, for the ladies a dress, skirt, or dress pants and for the men, slacks (khakis) with “golf” shirt. Please do not bring expensive or “flashy” jewelry items or watches. Remember where we are going, and how we are to present ourselves. Wearing expensive or flashy jewelry, clothing and watches will only raise the risk of those items being stolen. Do not wear anything that will bring attention to yourself. We can be considerate of those we are ministering to and will lower the possibility of losing items or items being stolen.
Dress should be modest and conservative. Remember you are representing the Body of Christ, your church and the partners on the ground. In some cultures, dress is much less modest than you might realize. Nevertheless, we want to reflect a biblical perspective regardless of what the might be acceptable in the country. For ladies, shirts should not expose the mid-section and shoulder straps should be substantial – in fact, short sleeve shirts are highly recommended in lieu of sleeveless shirts. Looser fitting clothing is more appropriate as well. No low-riding jeans are discouraged. If a swimsuit is packed, make sure that it is modest and conservative. For ladies and girls, a one-piece suit is required – no two-piece swimsuits. For men and boys, boxer style is required – no speedo style suits.
When our team returns, we do not want to leave behind any messes for the national church or missionaries to clean up as a result of our dress. You can give up your personal clothing preferences for a few days in exchange for clothing that will not cause problems for the partners on the ground. Thanks for being sensitive to this!