The guidelines listed below are required for all mission team members. You go not as a tourist, but as a guest of the church or mission agency in another country. The countries we work in are considered LDC – Less Developed Countries – and do not have the same conveniences you are accustomed to at home. It is very important to be flexible and willing to adjust to the expectations of your host.
I recognize and accept the following conditions which will further the usefulness and safety of our short-term mission. If accepted as a member of this LHUMC team, I agree to:
1. Adopt an attitude that I am on this team to try to understand the host culture, not to convince them of my own viewpoint or style. I go knowing that there are many different ways to accomplish the same objective and know that my way is not necessarily the best.
2. Abstain from making derogatory comments or arguments regarding people, politics, sports, religion, race, or traditions.
3. Go as a servant-disciple of Jesus Christ and to adopt that attitude when dealing with my fellow team members and the people I meet during the trip.
4. Accept and submit to the leadership role and authority of the team leader and LHUMC staff and promise to abide by his or her decisions as they concern this mission trip.
5. Acknowledge that by engaging in this trip, I am subjecting myself to certain risks voluntarily, in addition to those risks that I normally face in my personal and business life, including, but not limited to such things as health hazards due to poor food and water, diseases, pests, and poor sanitation; potential danger from lack of control over local population; potential injury while working; and inadequate medical facilities.
6. Understand that our team’s work is but a tiny speck on the bigger picture that our mission partners are trying to accomplish. I promise not to be overly demanding, to do my best not to offend or cause embarrassment for the local mission host and to help them attain their long-term goals.
7. Attend all team meetings, both prior to departure, during the mission trip and upon return.
8. Attend Lynn Haven United Methodist Church a minimum of twice per month unless agreement has been made with the Director of Missions. You are also encouraged to be involved in other ministries such as a small group and serving in a mission/ministry of the church.
9. Expeditiously follow up on all requirements for passports, visas, financial obligations, vaccinations, travel insurance, etc.
10. Refrain from meddling, complaining, and obscene or insensitive humor. I realize that others on my team during the trip and while onsite will look at me for an example of how a Christian acts, and I will not treat that responsibility lightly.
11. I understand that I must travel with the rest of the team, unless other prior arrangements are made.
12. Regard the differing style of worshiping with respect. I promise that where I see the need, I will witness my faith, but without a superior attitude.
13. If a loved one or dear friend is traveling with me, we agree to interact with all members of the team, not just one another. I promise not to seek or engage in new romantic relationships with team members during the trip. Expressions of boyfriend/girlfriend relations and public display of affection will be avoided in order to respect the customs of the culture in which you are serving.
14. Avoid any actions that might be perceived as amorous attentions toward any people I meet while on the mission trip.
15. Refrain from using tobacco or alcoholic beverages for the duration of the trip. We understand that smoking and drinking are not specifically prohibited by Scripture, so our position on the use of tobacco and alcohol during projects is not based on a biblical mandate; rather it is born out of our experience in cross-cultural ministry. The use or purchase of alcohol is prohibited. Participants who use or purchase alcohol may be sent home at their own expense. Abstain from any illegal drugs or prohibited activity while on this trip.
16. Refrain from giving gifts, such as money, clothes, jewelry, etc. to the locals. Although the intent of the giver is good, the result after we leave causes problems for our host, and jealously and bitterness among those locals who received no such gifts. If I feel compelled to give a gift to someone I have met, I will consult first with the team leader before I promise or give the gift, and I promise to let him or her make the final decision on this matter. It is best to give gifts, leave clothing, etc., with the local host who can then distribute to those in need after the team’s departure.
17. I will not give my contact information or make any promises to a local without consulting my team leader.
18. Act as a servant-disciple of the local pastor or mission organization. I will respect the advice I am given concerning attire, eating and drinking, and other such traditions that will help me to assimilate into the local community.
19. Understand that every member of this group is expected to share freely from their particular blessings and talents, whether that is a skill such as music, art, carpentry, or basic hard work. I agree to participate in these ways as fully possible.
20. I agree that in the event my conduct is considered so unsatisfactory that it jeopardizes the success of the trip, and that mediation during the trip has failed to correct my behavior, that my services in connection with this mission shall end and I shall return home immediately at my own expense.
21. Understand that this trip can and will be very stressful at times and that in this environment NO schedule can be absolutely maintained. I will do my absolute best to remain flexible without complaining at all times.