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Ten Commandments for Mission Trip Participants

By Howard Culbertson

1. You shall not forget that you represent your home country and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. You shall not expect that things will be the same as they are at home, for you have left your home to find different things.

3. You shall not take minor things too seriously. Accepting things as they are paves the way for a good mission trip.

4. You shall not judge all [people of country] by the one person with whom you have had trouble.

5. You shall not let other group members get on your nerves. You raised good money and set aside this time. So, enjoy yourself.

6. You shall not be overly worried. The person who worries has no pleasures. Few things people worry about are ever fatal.

7. Remember your passport (or other identification document) so that you know where it is at all times. A person without documents is a person without a country.

8. Blessed is the person who says “thank you” in any language. Verbal gratefulness is worth more than tips.

9. When in [country], do as the [people of country] do. If in difficulty, use common sense and your native friendliness.

10. Remember, you are a guest in [country]. He who treats his host with respect shall be treated as an honored guest.

Admittedly, these ten commandments weren’t given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. They are, however, based on some foundational principles of success in short-term cross-cultural experiences. So, breaking them can spoil your short-term experience and even tarnish your witness for Christ.

Howard Culbertson is a missions professor at Southern Nazarene University. He maintains a website featuring an extensive collection of articles on missions.