Mission Trip Planning:
1. Consider the needs of your missionaries (i.e. building, encouragement, VBS).
2. Consider the timing for your missionaries and your congregation (i.e. vacations, special events).
3. Select a missionary who you know well. Discuss the project, minimum and maximum number of participants, etc. Contact the missionary once a week from the time of scheduling to departure.
4. Contact Pilgrim Travel for best travel dates and costs, additional fees, luggage requirements, entry visas, etc. (Pilgrim Travel, Mission Department - (800) 322-0788).
5. Select the trip dates after consultation with the missionary and travel agent.
6. Calculate the total cost of the trip (i.e. travel, room and board on the field, vehicle rental on the field, transport to the airports, airport entry/exit fees, visas, spending money, project money, tips, eating out).
7. Designate a trip leader. Consider travel experience, spiritual maturity, and foreign language skills.
8. Decide if you want to require participants to complete an application; this is useful in large churches. Applications are helpful to forecast chemistry of the team and to alert you to special needs such as medication, diet, etc.
9. Decide if you want to open the trip to people who are not members of your church.
10. Announce and publicize the dates and purpose of the trip. Encourage father/son participation.
11. Set a date for an after-church meeting to discuss the trip with interested parties.
12. Start process of getting passports at least six months in advance. Passports can take up to six weeks to be processed. If visas are needed they will need to be done at least 3 months before your departure.
13. Send money for project to missionary ahead of group arrival if necessary. Contact for assistance in order: the missionary, the mission board, or an organization specializing in international transfers such as Rusch International (800) 424-2923.
14. Obtain Culturgrams or other descriptive information for travelers. To obtain a Culturgram you will need to call 800-528-6279. The following is a price breakdown for the Culturgrams: 1 = $6.00, 2-4 = $4.50 each, 5-9 = $3.00 each, 10-19 = $1.75 each http://www.countryreports.org
15. Decide on the work/sightseeing schedule with your missionary. One day per week for sightseeing is recommended for the morale of the team, and eating two evening meals out per week is also recommended for the morale of the missionary wives.
16. Ask your missionary for a history of ministry and goals, and prepare a list of needs for ministry and individual prayer goals. Establish with the participants an accountability to pray for these several weeks before the trip.
17. Decide and inform the team concerning eaching/preaching/devotional opportunities will be available after consultation with your missionary. See Ministry Tips document (green pages).
18. Decide on housing arrangements with your missionary.
19. Ask your missionary about customs and declaration forms if you are bringing tools or materials. Be prepared to supply the missionary's address on the immigration forms where required.
20. Compile information packets to include the following. Culturgrams (which cannot be copied) White pages Do's and Don'ts, What to pack? ETC.
21. Contact the travel immunization services group at your local hospital to find out about shots and medicines recommended for travelers to the specific field. Many shots and medicines should be initiated several days or even months before the trip.
22. Decide if you want to advertise for sponsors for interested but under-funded participants. Consider hire-a-teen and workdays for a youth group to use to raise money for youth trip, for instance.
23. Conduct your after-church meeting with participants. Provide a reservation form for them to complete including the following information: deposit and payment schedule, cancellation policy, passport number, name, address, phone, medication, emergency contacts, and insurance information.
24. Establish a prayer partner group in the congregation to pray for the group before and during the trip.
25. Arrange transportation to/from airport (i.e. drivers, vehicles, cargo, tolls, parking, food).
26. Find out whether your missionary wants you to bring cash or check for room and board, project, and spending. Combine everyone's money as required. Take emergency cash.
27. Make and distribute itinerary and missionary contact information to participants and families.
28. Prepare for receipt and transport of personal packages for the missionaries after their families hear that a group is going down.
29. Make two copies of everyone's passports. Leave one with the church office and one with the team leader.
30. Put colored tape on everyone's luggage handles for easy recognition.
31. Use the buddy system for single travelers; keep a written list of travelers at all times.
32. Ask your travel agent about requirements for reconfirming your reservations before you leave, and ask your missionary to reconfirm your reservations when you are in the country.
33. Ask your missionary about customs and declaration forms for the gifts or other materials that you take with you when you return to the United States.
34. Arrange for participants to share their travel and field experience during one or two public services.
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