Assess yourself and define your definition of the "call of God" in your life for missions.
How to discover the “call of God” in your life: study His Word, request of Him, listen to Him, and then respond to Him. Look around you to see where God is working and join Him there.
Think through and write down an evaluation and inventory of yourself:
Your Call – general and/or specific
Your Gifts – talents and interests
Your Guidance – What has He directed? The circumstances around you? Where has prayer led you? Inner peace from Him? Wise council of others/mentors?
Assess the trip. Is God calling you to go? Do you have a personal interest in the location or project? Does the timing of the trip coordinate with your life and family? Can you afford the trip? Can you raise funds to help you go? Can you raise funds to help accomplish mission work on the trip if needed? What is your purpose to joining the mission trip?
Assess travel plans. Do you have a Passport and travel documents needed? If not, can you acquire these in a timely manner? Can you afford the vaccines and medications needed to travel to the mission trip destination? Can you acquire these in a timely manner? Do you have luggage? Do you have appropriate clothing to wear for the destination location?
Assess the culture. Before leaving home, try to learn about the culture into which you are going. Will the culture affect your clothing, language used, gestures, body language, men speaking to women, are photos allowed to be taken, food choices, should you kill a bug or not, etc?
You are a guest in another country, always show respect and appreciation.
Go as a learner. Look, listen, smell, or touch before you speak. Be slow to judge another culture, most likely things are “different” rather than “wrong.” Seek out what people are doing and why they are doing it, don’t assume you know the reasoning behind their cultural actions. Try to see life from the local cultural perspective. Join in the activities and fun. Laugh at yourself, you are going to look different from the local norm so don’t expect to be perfect. Then discuss as a team and decide the priorities of the work that needs to be done within the time limits and budget of your trip.
Assess daily. During your trip assess individually and as a group. Be sure things are working smoothly and according to God’s leading. Be willing to move to “Plan B” if necessary; remember you are there for the benefit those you are encountering, not for your own benefit. It is a good idea to journal daily to help you remember events after you return home.
Assess and Debrief. Upon returning home spend some time to assess the accomplishments and work of your mission trip. This is good to do individually and as a team. Discuss the lives impacted by your time and work; what worked well; what didn’t work so well; what would you do next time; and should there be a next time. Reflect on how your life has changed as a result of participating in the mission trip.
Another good suggestion is to prepare a one or two sentence response to give to those who casually ask about your trip; they don’t want to hear all the details but would enjoy hearing a snippet about your adventure. For example: It was GREAT in (name your location) ! We treated 450 patients, went on hut-to-hut visitation, pumped water from a well, played soccer on a dirt field, and gave money so 20 poor children could attend school this year.
Take some time to evaluate your mission trip. How has it reshaped your life and choices? Was it a good experience? What improvements would help? Would you / should you ever go again? Seek God’s direction toward another trip. Some of us are meant for only one trip, others are designed for multiple trips.