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What NOT to Pack On Your Mission Trip

22679.60 grams.

800 ounces.

50 pounds.

This is usually the amount of weight that we are forced to uphold when we decide to go on a mission trip or any other sort of travel experience. So the question then becomes, What do we fill our 50 pounds with?

If you are like us, you sometimes tend to over-pack or over-think what you are going to need and it becomes a stressful situation of rolling & folding, squishing & manipulating every inch of space you can possibly find inside your suitcase. The reality of the situation, however, is that it doesn’t need to be stressful or difficult - we just have to be smarter about the situation we are packing for and what we really need. So, here’s a few tips we’ve compiled to help you figure out what NOT to pack.

A short list:

  1. Chocolate (melts and makes a mess)
  2. Makeup (it’s too hot for this y’all)
  3. Hair tools (it’s way too hot for this ladies, come on)
  4. Weapons, explosives and fireworks (this will get you sent home, FYI)
  5. Perfume (this can attract bees and stinging insects, not fun)

First, let’s talk about technology.

Leave it behind. If you need to bring your phone for an alarm or maybe to use as a camera that’s fine but make sure that is all you are using it for. When God has called you to “Go” and to leave behind things that are familiar, it usually means there is something that He wants to teach you. If you become distracted by what’s going on back home or what level you need to get to on a game, you are most likely going to miss all that He has for you, trust me.

In Hebrews 12:1 we read, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.” When you are on a mission trip, you have the unique opportunity to fix your eyes only on Jesus and step away from the busyness of your life. Embrace it.

Next up, nice clothes and jewelry.

Yes, we're even talking about your wedding band. Through many years on the mission field, we have learned that these things are best left behind. Our hope is that you have not gone on a mission trip attempting to show off all the nice things you have but rather to minister. With that being the case, if you are thinking of bringing some of your nicest clothes I would suggest not (unless they are to donate). Not only do they become a huge distraction for you but they are not necessary.

Just like technology, they create an unnecessary distraction that takes away from the purpose of the trip. Instead of focusing on ministry, you will be focusing on not losing your jewelry or looking put together and could you miss what God is doing around you. There are so many ways that you can look good and feel good on a mission trip without bringing your best clothes. God isn’t going to care what you are wearing, He cares where your heart is at. 

Last, and most important...

Possibly the thing that is most important to leave behind are any feelings associated with pride, negativity, a selfish attitude, feelings of superiority, etc.

In Colossians 3:12-15 we read, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.” 

There is so much freedom and beauty found in going on a mission trip with absolutely no expectations and no preconceived ideas about how you are going to serve but go simply with the intention of building relationships and getting to serve alongside your brothers and sisters in Christ. If our hearts and minds are focused our own agendas, it becomes easy to miss His agenda. 


God has amazing plans for you on your trip and He is so proud of you. We are so excited for you and all that God is going to do in and through you. As you begin your journey, remember to focus on what’s important and leave the rest up to God. He will make sure you are properly packed and have all you need.

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