The first time I traveled overseas was an interesting journey. I had been appointed by the Tennessee Baptist Convention to be a Summer missionary to the Philippines. There were several things I needed in order to go and I couldn’t wait until the last minute. Between school and work schedules I carved out time to go to Memphis (90 miles). I had to get shots, papers, a passport, and other travel necessities. Of course, it wasn’t just one trip. After several shots and a hand cramp from filling out papers, I returned to school. I had 2 sore arms and leg the next day. The TBC arranged all my travel plans. I was ready to go!
A few years later, I was organizing an overseas trip and became aware of all the fine details of travel. Of course, 9/11 had happened, which changed a lot. Yet, there were many things I was thankful to have handled on earlier trips that we now had to do. We had a list of shots. We all had passports. We decided on the travel itinerary. We applied for visas. We registered with the IMB and State Department. All of this was necessary for safety and proof of identity.
Nehemiah was going through the same ordeal as he prepared to travel out of country to go to Jerusalem.
The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?” With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.” The king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked, “How long will you be gone? When will you return?” After I told him how long I would be gone, the king agreed to my request. I also said to the king, “If it please the king, let me have letters addressed to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, instructing them to let me travel safely through their territories on my way to Judah. And please give me a letter addressed to Asaph, the manager of the king’s forest, instructing him to give me timber. I will need it to make beams for the gates of the Temple fortress, for the city walls, and for a house for myself.” And the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on me. When I came to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, I delivered the king’s letters to them. The king, I should add, had sent along army officers and horsemen to protect me.
As we boarded each flight we produced the necessary documents. As we arrived in Niger, we had several documents to produce in order to go through customs and be allowed entrance to the country. Without the proper documentation, we would have been stuck and likely been sent away or detained!
If we, as followers of Christ are going to be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission we are going to travel internationally. Over 6,000 people groups have yet to adequately hear the Gospel. If we don’t go, then who will? We must take up the mantle and go to the ends of the earth until the whole world hears!
What do you need?
- Sending Church or Church Group Going
- Visas and Travel Insurance
- Register with State Department (depending on country)
Many other items are just comfort things. If you want to seriously be part of changing the world, pray up and get your passport!