July - Beginners guide to going

July 2005

Ni Hao (hello in Chinese)! While you are reading this, Kim and I are currently in East Asia for six weeks. Just a year ago neither of us had a clue where we would be spending our summer, or even that we would be traveling together. It is our desire that you too would want to "live on the brink" and spend at least one summer overseas. Going overseas, possibly to an unreached people group, will give you vision for the rest of your life. It will change the way you pray for the world, the way you spend your finances, the way you open your home to international students, and you'll want others to gain a vision for the world. We have put together five basic steps to get you overseas, or as we like to call them:


1. Apply for a Passport If you don't already have a passport, apply for one now! Passports do not expire for 10 years, so even if you're not sure of when or if you will go, you have 10 years to decide. Plus, it's just cool to say you have a passport! Pick up a passport application today at the U.S. Post Office or online at travel.state.gov/passport/. You will also need to get passport photos taken which usually are taken at the Post Office or Kinko's. 2. Find a Travel Partner When I (Alicia) decided I was going to spend this summer overseas, I started praying that the Lord would give me a travel partner, someone I knew or was familiar with. Being a single woman trying to make big decisions of where to go and how to go and with agency to go with, I felt overwhelmed and lonely. I just wanted a friend with me to help make decisions and to pray with. In October, I found Kim. Kim and I had met and were familiar with one another, but we had never spent much time together. Kim told me that she wanted to join The Traveling Team and to spend her summer overseas. I jumped at the chance to ask Kim if she wanted to travel with me. My biggest advice would be not to go through this process alone, find someone to come along with you. 3. Decide where you want to go Since I (Kim) had never been overseas before, my only requirement was to go to the 10/40 Window, this is where 95% of the unreached people groups are located. Alicia had been to East Asia before and started to develop a heart for a minority group in Western China. She desired to spend her summer in a Muslim country or with a Muslim people group. Separately we began looking at different possibilities. In November, Alicia called me excited about a trip she had found. What was ironic about her call is just that morning I had located the same trip. The trip was with the minority group Alicia had a heart for in Western China. Before you make the decision on your destination, start researching different areas that interest you. Look at different countries, people groups, and religions. Or maybe you want to work at an orphanage, teach English, or apply your major overseas. When looking, you can be as wide open as I was or have a specific interest as Alicia did, but take these different possibilities into consideration. 4. Choose a Mission Agency There are so many great agencies out there, it can be overwhelming. Go ahead and talk to friends, who have been overseas before and learn about the agency they went with and their experience overseas. Even see if your campus ministry has any connections to help you get overseas, or talk to one of us at The Traveling Team. If you know specifically what you want to do (i.e. physical therapy internship overseas), start looking at agencies that offer what you need. Below is a link to a list of reputable agencies so you can start your research: http://thetravelingteam.org/ 5. Start Early Start this process early! Don't wait until the spring break to decide. Around September and October, find a travel partner and start to narrow down the ideas of what type of trip you want. By November and December, get on different mission agencies websites; they will start posting their new summer trips at this time. Finally fill out applications immediately, as early as January! Most application deadlines are in February or March, but the earlier you start, the less rushed you will feel, and the more time you have to raise support for your trip. Blessing for you and your journey to the nations! by Alicia Addison & Kim Dumas