If you are going to leave your home country, you might want to pay attention to the following. Believe me, I have jumped through these hoops plenty.
“You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day.”
The women of any group are already making lists and checking them twice in preparation for a trip. The men will have to do it at some point or another. I will give you a few tips for packing that you may not have heard. Everything I will suggest fit into one large suitcase and a nice carry-on. (No more) We wouldn’t want you to ship things back to the USA. Actually, there will be opportunities to send our your clothes for laundry. And, there will be many cool days in Peru when you can where the same outfit two days.
Pre-pack. Prepare to be an informed global traveler. Take a few hours to browse the internet so you can talk to nationals about their countries. What religions have the most influence? What is their government? What are their major national issues? Who is their president? Learn a few words in Spanish–Gracias (thanks), Por favor (please), Dios te Bendiga (God Bless You), Me Llamo Roberto (My Name is Roberto), Remember the truths of Psalm 91.
Pack Your Five Senses. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear. (Mt. 11:15) The traveler that learns to listen, smell, taste, touch, and see is always going to be the traveler that receives the most bang for their travel dollar. The camera allows you to record so much of what you will see for reflection and meditation. “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” Ps. 8:3-4
Pack to Be Someone Else’s Guest. I want you to know that you are the guest and you have no right to expect others to accommodate their culture to meet your needs. You will be treated better than you could ever hope. But, when you are served some new food or drink, taste it and thank your host. You do not have to eat an entire portion, but be careful about your body language if the taste doesn’t meet your “steak and potatoes” preference. I hasten to add that much of the food in Colombia and Peru is similar to USA cuisine. You will not starve and you do not need to pack peanut and crackers in your suitcase. All of that is available everywhere we go.
Pack to Bless. You will have so many ways to bless others. Your smiles, your hugs, and your efforts to communicate by listening to people’s broken English are all free ways to build international understanding and respect. People can talk without speaking the same languages. Have a few pictures of your family and church to show people you meet. I like to take a few inexpensive gifts such as bookmarks to give to people I meet.
Pack a Way to Record Memories–Journal. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26 If we pay attention and record a few brief notes of the times we see God’s work in our lives, they become tools for our witness at future times.
Pack to Expect Something to Go Wrong. Guess what, something will go wrong on this trip. BUT, the Lord takes all things and works them out for our benefit if we keep our cool and rely on God’s willingness to come to our assistance.
So, pack to your heart’s delight! Just get it into one suitcase. Their are two kinds of traveler’s. Those that pack lightly and those that wish they had.