What To Wear On A Mission Trip

There are many aspects of a mission trip to consider. From praying about where to go, all the way to the trip itself, it can be a daunting task for sure. My goal in these blogs is to give you more confidence and ease that pressure with practical things I have learned over the years.

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Last week we talked about some tech-tips that can make life a little easier on a mission trip. If you missed that, you can read it here.

Another factor when on a mission trip is what to wear. With that in mind, here are a few of my best “what to wear tips” for your next mission trip. I hope these are helpful to you.

1. Wear comfortable clothes

By all means, follow the guidelines of your group if some have been set forth, but be comfortable as you do so.

Many times airplanes get real hot and uncomfortable. Airports are not always air conditioned and there is usually a lot of waiting. My family and I just returned from Southeast Asia. We were on three different flights and in four different airports for a total one way trip time of more 35 hours.

That’s a long time to be miserable.

Need I say more? Dress in your comfy clothes!

2. Wear modest clothes

There is probably not enough storage on my computer to properly cover this topic, so I will just get to the point.

The mission field is no place to show off your body.

Ladies, there is absolutely no need to wear revealing clothing that you have to constantly adjust or hold in place. Nor is it a good idea to wear things that are so tight that it “outlines” your body like a crime scene!

Think modesty. Your mission at hand should be the primary focus, not your body. Don’t be provocative and don’t cause others to stumble with your choice of clothing. Rather, use that as an opportunity to glorify God.

Men, we probably aren’t going to be causing anyone to stumble with our dress because ladies are different in that aspect, but we do have the same responsibility.

There’s no need to show off all of our muscles (not a concern for me anyway), and there sure isn’t a call for people to see things that only our wives should see. Concentrate on comfort but not looking like you just crawled out from under a bridge and you will be just fine!

3. Wear useful clothes

I know that sounds weird, but hear me out. Comfort and modesty are not the only considerations when it comes to how you should dress. I myself try to get the most use out of the clothing I wear on a trip.

For example, I like to wear cargo style khaki pants every chance I get because of the extra pockets. With a pocket on each side, I can safely carry my wallet, cell phone, passport and whatever else I might want to throw in there.

Your hip pocket is never a good idea because it’s an easy target for pick-pocketer’s and it’s hard to sit on your wallet on an airplane. At least it is for me.

Call me cheap, but I buy these pants at WalMart for around $20. Another great thing about them as opposed to blue jeans is that they dry a lot faster on a clothes line and that might just come in handy.

This year, my wife had the idea to buy my son and I some fishing shirts to take to the Philippines. This turned out to be a great decision for a few reasons.

Fishing shirts have tons of pockets. Some are big and some are little but they can all be useful. The big pockets are great for your passport, your boarding pass and things like that. The smaller pockets are a great place for candy, medicine or any other little light weight things you need to keep with you.

These shirts are made to keep you cool and to dry quickly so they are perfect for hot weather and washing in a sink and hanging out to dry.

If you’re not familiar with fishing shirts, this link will show you the kind I’m talking about.

4. Wear appropriate clothes

By appropriate, I mean clothes that will not make you look better than the people you are working with or offend them in any way either.

Just imagine that you go to a foreign country and you attend a church where the pastor and the other men never wear neck-ties. Now, how do you think it will make them feel when you show up in your three piece suit?

Catch my drift?

I hate to drop this bomb-shell on you here but you can preach and teach just as good in a pair of khaki’s and a polo shirt as you can in a suit and tie!

Do a little asking beforehand and try your best to dress along the same lines as everyone else does day-in and day- out. This is especially true if you are traveling to a developing nation where poverty is the norm. Over-dressing can easily cause the divide to grow deeper and you don’t want that.

5. Wear good shoes

I like flip flops and Crocs but I don’t wear them too often on a mission trip because they don’t offer much support or protection from debris on the ground. Flip flops are a good idea for nighttime and maybe even in the shower but you need some good footwear for the day.

Find a pair of tennis shoes or even hiking boots that you like and rely on them for your daily use. Since weight and space in your luggage is a real issue, you may only be able to take one pair of shoes. Therefore, take a good pair.

I like something waterproof and already worn in. Wearing wet shoes or ones that give you blisters can quickly turn your day into a real challenge. You can also spray them down with a waterproofing spray to help repel the water.

Good footwear is a must. I know you would more than likely be fine in flip flops but think about twisting your ankle or cutting your foot on broken glass. A trip to the hospital can disrupt everything about your trip for the entire group so do your best to avoid any hazards!

In conclusion

Be comfortable, modest and thoughtful about your clothing and all will be well. Don’t forget to follow the guidelines set forth for your group either. One person breaking the rules makes it hard for the leader as well as the rest of the team.

If you are the team leader, try not to be unreasonable as you give guidelines. You need to have some but remember you are on a mission trip, not a fashion show or a parade. If you have a team of uncomfortable missionaries it might start off on a bad foot.

Question: What else would you add to this list? Leave a comment here or on facebook.

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