Our team has shared some hearty laughs over the past nine days. They began at London’s Heathrow airport when going through security. That started me thinking about what not to do on short-term missions. Here’s a very partial list taken from actual experiences:
- Ladies—do not pack an over-sized tube of leg tanning cream in your carry-on bag. The security guards are sure to snatch it. They won’t change their minds when you plead, “But officer, I need that. My legs are as white as chicken legs!”
- Do not pack the book God’s Smuggler (Brother Andrew) at the top of your belongings in your carry-on bag. Security guards raise their eyebrows when they see it, especially when they know you tried sneaking an oversized tube of leg tanning cream onto the plane.
- Do not assume a career missionary is biblically illiterate when he talks about Joseph and the whale. Do not question his English skills when he asks, “Are you tarred?” He just might be from Ireland where “well” is pronounced “whale” and “tired” sounds like “tarred.”
- Do not assume that power converters and power adapters are the same gizmos. One enables your blow dryer to work. The other will burn it up—quickly.
- Do not forget to set your watch according to the current time zone unless you don’t mind showing up for breakfast an hour behind your teammates.
- Do not forget that your time zone might be 8-10 hours ahead of your friends and family back home. Texting them (especially text to landline) during your daytime might work well for you, but it’ll wake them from a dead sleep at 1:30 AM.
So there you have it. Put these six tips in your file of useful information if you’re thinking of going on a short-term missions trip. Learn from others’ experiences, and then laugh your way through the lessons you’re sure to learn on your own.
What other “do not do” tips would you add to this list?