The Cost Of Leaving by Travis Sharpe

There are only 13 more days until our family leaves for our five month ministry trip to the Philippines.

to do list

This trip has been a long time coming and is the culmination of many years of prayer.

While there, we will be working to establish a new ministry for children who sleep on the streets because they have no home.

We have been working for quite a while now preparing for our time living outside of the United States.

Lot’s of people have been asking what’s involved in leaving for so long. So I figured I would share some of our preparations with you today.

These are not in any order of importance but the following is a partial list of some of the things we have had to do.

1. We had to purchase medicines

As far as I know there isn’t a CVS or Walgreens around the corner from where we will be in Southeast Asia.

April takes a couple of different daily medications so she had to visit her doctor and explain that she would be gone out of the country for over five months. He then wrote her a six month prescription for her medications.

This was an expense that we didn’t really consider until it came up.

2. We had to update our shots and immunizations

Over the years we have had lots of shots and immunizations for our various mission trips. Thankfully, this time April and I just had to get a booster shot for our Hep A and the kids were due for typhoid and Hep A.

I think we have spent around $2,500 in immunizations over the last three years.

3. Getting new clothes and shoes

Thrift stores are king when it comes to this and my wife is a ninja. April has spent a lot of time searching the racks, especially for Hunter. He is 13 years old and already 6’1″ tall and well over 200 pounds.

There is little doubt that he will continue to grow during our time out of the country. Clothing is hard to come by for him over here much less in a country where the average men are no where near his size.

April was blessed to have a couple of friends who gave her and Sarah some very nice sandals to wear. We aren’t taking too much in the way of clothing but we are trying to be intentional about what we are taking.

4. Preparations for our home

The Lord has provided someone to stay in our home for the time that we will be away. We were a little worried about that because it’s just not good to leave a house empty for that long.

We want the person who is staying there to feel at home so we have cleaned out our closets and drawers and put the clothes that we are not taking with us into storage. That was a lot like Spring cleaning and it needed to be done!

I also took a day and fixed a handful of little things that have needed attention for a while now.

5. Did I mention that we just finished spending about six months visiting new churches to raise additional support for our family?

6. We applied for Philippine visas.

Since we will be there more than 30 days, we had to apply for visas that are good for 6 months. It was an easy process and they cost $60 each.

We did have to collect several documents to send in with the applications including bank statements, passports, notarized letters and pictures. We had fun at Walgreen’s paying $10 each for two little pictures.

7. April’s parents are keeping our dog

If you have ever had a family pet that was as much a part of the family as anyone else, then you can feel our pain here. We hate to leave Shocker (our 67 pound boxer) behind but we know that they will love on him and spoil him while we are away.

Tears will be shed when we say goodbye to him.

8. I had to say no to some things I love

For 10 years consecutively I have been one of the guest evangelists at the Sonrise Baptist Church Jubilee during the month of April. This great church in Gary, IN is pastored by a dear friend of mine Clemon Chappell.

Not only do I love the people of Sonrise, I also enjoy sharing the preaching during that week with some of my favorite preachers. It was hard to tell Pastor Clemon that I couldn’t be there this April. I’m sure I will miss them more than they will miss me.

My family is having a get together in FL the week after we return next year. We may or may not be able to make that. I hope we can.

For my fisherman friends, You know that Spring is the best fishing of the year. Please say a prayer for me while you are on the water! Lord willing I’ll be going next summer!

9. Power of Attorney

We have a motor home that is at a local dealership on consignment. We have had to make some special arrangements in order to get the transaction handled in our absence should it sell.

10. We added someone to our checking account

We have been told that our debit cards will work just fine over there as long as we notify our bank that we will be using them out of the country. But I’m not going to count on that.

We added someone on to our personal checking account so that if all else fails, they can withdraw cash and send it to us through Money Gram. I sure hope we don’t have difficulties in this area.

11. We made some school changes

April has home schooled the kids for several years now and they do great with it. But when we tried to get the curriculum in advance for Sarah, the school didn’t cooperate very well.

They actually wanted a $5000 deposit in order to take the DVD’s out of the country. April to the girl that if we had $5000 we would be taking a teacher with us!

So we were forced to switch curriculum earlier this year. We will also have to delay the start date by a couple weeks next year to give us a little time to get squared away in our new home.

In closing

There are several more, but if you have read this far I’m sure you will be happy that there is an end!

Thanks for reading and please remember us in your prayers as we travel in a few days.


Question: Have you ever left for a long time? What’s the craziest thing you had to do to prepare? Leave your comment below!



Photo credit: Mufidah Kassalias via photopin cc