6 Considerations When Planning a Mission Trip

I have never been on an international mission trip before and wished I had found a ‘how to’ before we got started.  So this is from the perspective of a novice, a frugal novice;  as I go through the process of planning a mission trip to Haiti.  It is what I wish someone would have told me. To consider…..

1- Prayer

for God’s will concerning your trip, where He wants you to go, and how you will get there.  Tell people and amazing doors will open. This desire to go on a mission trip has been one that He placed on my heart for several years now.  And it hasn’t been without disappointments.  I want to do it with all my kids before they go to college.

It is so incredible to see my daughter get excited about this trip.  Trusting that God will make a way has increased our faith exponentially and although we haven’t raised all the money yet, I truly believe He will make it happen.  It may not be the way I expect him to or with the outcome as I imagine it but His handiwork in it is unmistakeable. God does the neatest things in our efforts to share Jesus.  Our scheduled plan to go to Nicaragua fell thru this past winter and gave us a small piggy bank to start planning for this trip.

This momma is still praying about it.  I have normal fears.  Will I leave Haiti a better place than when I found it?  This experience is out of our comfort zones.  I used to travel on planes regularly when I was younger.  But I haven’t been on a plane since my dad died in 1998.  That was before 9/11.

2- Immunizations

More time was spent on the phone than actually driving to get the shots.  I made and cancelled two appointments with the health department.  The health department’s cost for the Typhoid shot was $130.00 (includes shot, office visit and extra fee).  They required filling out a packet of paperwork which had to be mailed  back to them and this meant dealing with travel nurses and their appointment desk several times to figure it all out.  It was a hassle but one of the cheapest options.

Passport and several other travel clinics that specifically give vaccines for international travel were all about $200 each for a typhoid shot including office visit.  I called at least three.

Typhoid shots last only 2 years and Oral Typhoid (pills called Vivotif) will last for 5 years.  My primary care doctor didn’t like the idea of a live active pill and discouraged me from taking it.  If it was just me and not my daughter, I may would have chosen this route.  The oral pills are only $72 and you take 4 pills every other day for 4 days.  They can cause an upset stomach.

In the end, the pediatrician was able to give a Typhoid shot to my daughter for $140 including office visit.  Originally, they were unable to offer this and it appears their offerings of the Typhoid shot are not regular.  One nurse mentioned it was because it was summer time and a popular time for mission trips. A tip from our Missions Pastor was my best option yet. Walgreens offered the Typhoid shot for $95, no office fee needed.  Not all locations participate and you need a prescription from your doctor. Minors cannot get a Typhoid shot at this drugstore.  CVS’s Minute Clinic does not offer this service.

We both needed to be updated with Hepatitis A and B series of boosters.  And then there was Tetanus.  Ouch.   Malaria vaccine is also recommended.  You have to take it orally before, during, and after your trip. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention website will tell you which vaccines are needed for anywhere you want to travel in the world. mission trip experience - 03   typhoidshot - 01

typhoidshot - 02

typhoidshot - 03

typhoidshot - 04

(The Hulk is on the upside down band-aid and her shirt reads, “I only date men in uniform”  Note super heroes.  Hilarious.)

typhoidshot - 05

3- Notarizing Forms

Some banks offer free notary services if you have an account there. Both of my banks offer this.  Pretty quick service too.

4- Passports

Make sure you order passports early.  They are expensive.  Make an appointment with the post office as soon as you know you are leaving.  You can go to the USPS website to see what you will need.  We paid over $150 with pictures.  Click here for rates.

mission trip experience - 05

I tried to record our experience with pictures of the passport office but was told that was not allowed.

The camera at the post office was broken so we went to Walgreens to have passport pictures made and then returned to the post office to complete our order. It took 8 weeks to receive passports once we applied. mission trip experience - 06 mission trip experience - 10 mission trip experience - 16

5- The letters.

We have over $1300 each to raise not including the shots, the passports, and traveling expenses to and from Haiti. Send letters to friends and family asking for donations and prayer for your trip. Send these out early as well.  And include a picture.  Our letters did not go out as early as I planned, but they did go. haiti bound - 2 haiti bound - 3

6- Raising money:

My kids currently know not to leave anything they value laying around.  I am selling everything that is not nailed down.   😉 First, I am going room by room; cabinet by cabinet; and drawer by drawer de-cluttering our home. I have sold a play kitchen, a keyboard, and old tools of my husband’s that he no longer uses.  Some things I am listing on Craig’s List and Ebay.

“We are going to Haiti a dollar at a time.” Christina Brown

The trick is not to rifle through clothes hanging in a closet or rummage through drawers to find things to sell, donate, or throw away.  The best way to do this is to take every thing out of the closet, cabinet, or drawer.  Wipe and clean it out and then put back only what you need or love. Everything else goes.

Secondly, I am a yard saling momma and buy most things we use from garage sales.  For this mission trip, I am also buying things that I know  hope I can sell to make a profit.  So far, I have sold appliances, an American Girl Doll, curriculum, pocket books, and other miscellaneous things.

Thirdly, I am planning our second yard sale.  Ask for yard sale donations from friends and on facebook and twitter.  We were blessed with furniture, clothes, and household odds and ends.  I organized a neighborhood yard sale and it brought out more people than usual.  Just ask.  You would be surprised at how many people have stuff to get rid of and would love to have you get rid of it for them.  Offer to split the profits.

For friends who want to help but can’t financially afford it, this is a great way they can contribute to your trip. We are not at our goal but I see God’s hands blessing us through others during this process and we are enjoying the journey. Lord willing, through His provision, we will go to Haiti!  Please pray for us!

Proclaim his glory to the nations,
his mighty deeds to all peoples.
Psalm 96:3

I hope this was helpful.  If you have any other ideas, please share in the comments.

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