Global mission trips require significant planning. Before you head out on your mission, please make sure you’ve made the following preparations:
Before going on a trip, you are required to attend the International Equipping Course, a three-session course trains you for Downline Missions. If you cannot attend the classes in person, you must watch them on My Downline. Please notify us if you need access to those videos. The sessions are typically offered in 60-75 minute classes a few times during the year. In addition to these three sessions, each team typically has one to four meetings that only include the team for a specific trip. Each team will also have training previews for those teaching Downline material. The dates for these will be set during the course of preparation.
Each person on the team will be assigned differing tasks. Some of the roles that people are asked to fill are observer/learners, prayer support, video, testimony, small group work and teaching discipleship material. Those asked to teach will train and teach at a level that stretches them, yet matches their abilities and experience. All trainers are required to teach the material at least four times locally before hitting the field. A Downline-approved previewer must be present for one of your teachings.
Significant time is required to properly prepare for a trip. Please read the Teaching Preparation document for more information on teaching on a global mission.
You must have a passport to go on a global trip. Please allow at least eight weeks to get your passport (though they make take longer depending on the time of year). You may need to expedite your passport. If you are going to a country that requires a visa, you will need to have your passport in hand at least two months before departure. You can pick up a passport application at most post office locations or find new passport and renewal forms at the USPS website.
Packing light is encouraged – if you bring it, you’re responsible for carrying it. Before you start packing, see our list of recommended items.
Your luggage should be strong and durable, as it may get beaten up along the way. Also, check out the Transportation Security Administration website for a list of prohibited items and other security measures for travel.
We recommend that you:
- Keep your passport on you at all times!
- Have a durable name tag on the outside of your luggage.
- Put all your valuables, medications, documents, and film in your carry on.
- Pack one change of clothes, basic toiletries, etc. in your carry on in case of delayed luggage.
- Two copies of your passport face page in case of a lost or stolen passport.
- You may want to carry money and your a passport in a pouch or belt. Choose one that goes around your waist and under your pants. This can be obtained from a luggage/travel specialty shop or even a superstore (Note: You can get those that fasten around your neck, but they are not quite as secure.)
It is important to make sure you are up to date on all vaccinations you might need in order to travel.
Because the CDC vaccination recommendations depend upon variables like age, medical history and other risk factors, you should take the CDC’s online quiz and discuss the results with your physician. Make sure to inform your doctor of your travel plans.
The list of vaccinations you need is based on your destination and season of travel. The most current recommendations can be found on the CDC’s website. Typically, before going on a global trip, you should have a current tetanus shot and a hepatitis A shot. Other recommended vaccinations may include: hepatitis B, malaria, typhoid and yellow fever.
Health and Food
Doctors and hospitals are available in most every country. But it is still wise to be a medically informed traveler. Don’t take unnecessary risks with your health.
It’s important to stay hydrated on mission trips. However, it’s important to be very careful of the water you drink, and, if possible, keep a supply of bottled water on hand. When eating, remember that vegetables that have not been cleaned or have been rinsed in impure water can carry sickness. If you’re unsure whether or not something is safe to eat, it’s best to avoid it. Any fruits that you peel yourself are generally safe for consumption. Do not eat raw eggs, uncooked meat, or unprocessed cheese.
Be sure to remember to take any prescription medication you are taking with you and keep an extra supply in a separate location in case you misplace it. You must inform the team leader of any medications you are bringing with you, and any medical condition that requires (or could require) their attention.
It’s also a good idea to have copies of your prescriptions and the prescribing doctor’s phone number handy in case of emergency. While on your mission, be sensitive to your body’s signals. If you’re not feeling well, tell a leader. It won’t necessarily mean you have to sit out the rest of the trip, but it’s important to communicate in case there’s a real problem.