Part of the Great Commission is not only to make disciples but to ‘go into the nations’.
However, in this process of going, do we have to be uncomfortable? I don’t think so. After doing some research and interviewing previous missionaries, I’ve found that there are some gadgets out there that can be really helpful and improve your trip overseas.
For the Plane:
Someone once told me that getting to where you are going is half the battle. If this is true, we might as well have some gear in order to make this trip as painless as it can be.
Noise Canceling Headphones
Most travelers have all experienced that one flight where there is a small, but constant, sound that keeps you from relaxing. Bose’s noise-canceling headphones allow you to block out the world and hopefully slip into some rest. If you bring an iPod or your smartphone, you also have the option to listen to your favorite music during the flight.
For bonus points, you could always download a sound app in order to help you relax some on the plane. Especially on long flights, having that soothing sound can be the difference between a restful flight, and a difficult deplaning because you’re exhausted. Consider looking into these sound apps. Such as “Sleep Machine“, “Nature Sounds Relax and Sleep”, or even “Relax Melodies”.
Inflatable Neck Pillow
This goes along with the above one. There is enough discomfort that comes with a plane ride, especially if it’s one that goes overnight. However, if you are able to get some sleep while you are in the plane, it can be extremely helpful when crossing time zones.
BestMaxs has an easy to blow up, soft, and machine washable neck pillow that can help you fall asleep with ease. Having an inflatable neck pillow allows you to have some support on a plane, and some comfort as you go abroad. Even that little amount of comfort can go a long way.
One of the smartest decisions that I think can be made is to bring a carry-on while traveling. In this carry-on, I would suggest bringing some necessities just in case your luggage gets lost.
After a lot of research, one of the best luggage companies that I could find was Briggs and Riley. Though they are slightly more expensive than normal, there is a lifetime warranty. But another carry-on that would be worth looking into out be the TLS Mother Lode. This portable and lightweight carry-on starts as your standard rolling bag, but can easily be changed into a backpack.
No matter what adventures you take, you will have a reliable carry-on in order to get everything you want to wherever you’re called.
Of course, there are those random items that we wouldn’t even think about bringing unless someone else talks about it.
If you are planning on bringing a lot of the items on this list with you to wherever you go, you most likely will need something to carry it in. The most plausible item to have for this use is a backpack.
Since you may be traveling a lot within the area that you started, it is a lot easier to simply grab a backpack and a carry-on rather than an oversized checked bag. Plus, the closer you can keep your items to yourself, the better. It’s a sad reality that we live in a fallen world, but there may be those people out there that want to pickpocket or welcome themselves to your belongs. Hopefully, this doesn’t happen, but having your belongings close is a good way to prevent it.
First Aid Kit
Getting hurt is a part of life. A scraped knee, a cut finger, and praying that it isn’t anything major when you twist your ankle. However, a lot of the time you are able to work with your injuries if you have a simple first aid kit.
No, you won’t be able to deal with broken bones or any other serious injury, but you can stop infections, or clean wounds out. This is extremely important, especially when you’re in a place you haven’t been before. A simple first aid kit allows you to be able to take care of yourself and others the best you can while abroad.
When you are a missionary, you often don’t have a lot of space to work with when hanging up your clothes.
TIP: Bring lightweight and quick drying clothes.
If you bring a clothesline you will be able to wash and dry these clothes overnight and then be on your way if you have to be up and out quickly. This can be extremely important. Since you only have a limited amount of clothes and you are working hard while on the missions field, washing the clothes you have will be a blessing. No, it won’t be the luxury wash and dry that most Americans are used to, but you will at least have clean and dry clothes.
Plus you if you buy Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap, you are able to use this soap for pretty much any cleaning you need to get done. Laundry soap, body soap, shampoo, etc. Bronner’s Liquid Soap is an all in one soap that missionaries should definitely have.
This is something that a lot of people seem to forget about. But especially if you are moving around from place to place while abroad, you will want a luggage scale.
It’s one the most heartbreaking things to hear “you are a couple pounds over” — in any context. But especially if you are expecting to get on a plane in a matter of a couple hours, and you don’t have the money in order to check your bag, get a luggage scale.
For all those people out there who HAVE to have that morning cup of coffee, this one is for you. The reality is sometimes you won’t get a “good cup of joe” when you are abroad or on a plane. So in this situation, you really have two choices. One, you’ll have to get used to the idea with the lack of good coffee. Or two, bring your own. If you decide on the latter, one of the best most practical items to bring is instant coffee. It’s easy for you to get hot water almost anywhere.
If you don’t like instant coffee, there is also another choice. I have heard of some missionaries who brought a portable french press wherever they went. Sometimes that burst of energy in the morning can help you to be productive throughout the remainder of the day.
Just because we are going abroad doesn’t mean that our hunger changes. So, having those small, healthy snacks that you can take with you everywhere can be extremely helpful for missionaries. They can be boost energy, be a quick meal when you are rushing around, or even serve as something you can share with those around you. No matter what it is, granola bars, dried fruit, trail mix, graham crackers, jerky, dry cereal, or any other travel snack, snacks are wonderful for a missionary.
You can bring those little snacks that remind you of home. Whether they be the cereal you ate as a child or the little snack that you would have as you sat in children’s church. Those small memories are sometimes enough to help you remember why you are on the mission field. Finding those small reasons to smile are important to missionaries, and they remind them of the joy that Christ has instilled in us.
The truth is this world is always changing and there is always something happening in the world. The best way in order to keep up with all this new information is to have technology help you.
As you travel around the world, there may be a need for more than one smartphone. You may need to get a local sim card and or even a local number so that you are able to stay in contact with those around you.
Some missionaries suggest getting an unlocked GSM phone so that you are able to pick up any provider that may be needed when you are abroad. Thankfully we don’t need a phone to call on God, but it might be helpful when you are trying to get in contact with your loved ones or your team.
If you are going to bring all of that technology, you are going to need something to charge it with. Having a portable charger can be handy especially when you are abroad in a place where WI-FI and wall adapters are so hard to find.
Also if you are traveling with a group, it’s important to always be able to contact them. It’s a really difficult situation to find yourself in a foreign country without a way in order to contact your group. S0, having something that will help charge your phone or other communication device is extremely important.
If you haven’t been abroad before, it may be a shock that not all outlets are the same. Therefore, there is a need in order to have a wall adapter that is compatible to the outlet in whatever country you are going, or at least one has the capability in order to be compatible with the outlet. Certain wall adapters are universal, and those are the ones that I would suggest, for then you are ready no matter where God takes you.
But since you are planning on bringing so much technology in order to simply record the trip or feel prepared while you are abroad, you’ll need a way to charge that phone, save those photos, and set that alarm to go out and explore.
I’ve met some people who are so caught up in their packing lists that they forget to ready themselves for what is outside the walls of their comfort zone. I’ve also met those who believe that if they pack enough, then they will be prepared for anything that comes their way.
But the reality is, the thing you need to prepare the most is yourself.
You must prepare yourself in order to go and see things you couldn’t imagine–both the beautiful and the heart-wrenching. However, no matter what you see or what you experience, you will always come back changed and equipped with the gear that helped make it just a little bit better.