Welcome to GMR Missions! We are so glad that you will be joining us in bringing the Gospel to the nations! The orientation is meant to guide you through the process of preparing for your expedition. It contains information that will help you reach your destination, carry out your mission, and return home. While an expedition of this type is no small undertaking, good planning can ensure a rewarding and successful journey. Please make sure to read this orientation thoroughly so that you can make the most of your opportunity. If you have any questions make sure to contact your expedition leader.
As you begin your preparation for the expedition, understand that “Life” will happen…don’t be discouraged. Challenges will come up; unforeseen blessings, as well as setbacks, will happen prior to your departure. Make a decision today to finish the mission ahead and together we will see this expedition come to a fruitful end! Above all remember to keep sight of your primary purpose on this trip: to communicate His Message!
HERE IS HOW YOU FIT IN
Make the time to invest in your own training in several ways. This orientation will explain only how we have formed the logistics and strategy that will enable you to arrive in a remote location, and to sit down with families, and with widows and orphans in that place. You are the vessel that carries the completed work of God’s redemption, and God will use you for that nation. Bring a message of good news, study to share the righteousness and freedom that belongs to each of us, which dwells inside each of us. You can always bless someone by giving a word of encouragement through Scripture, and simply by your being there to provide fellowship. Pray and prepare your testimony, memorize certain Scriptures, or study God’s word and prepare a message for the local church. These are the best and most important ways you can prepare for this expedition. Let us work as a team to accomplish the rest.
YOU WILL FIND IN THIS ORIENTATION
Rules and Expectation
Overview of Purpose and Expectations
Code of Conduct
India Country Profile
Research and Preparation
India Specific Literature
Equipment and Clothing
Health and Safety
Medical Essentials Kit
Tips For Raising support
RULES AND EXPECTATIONS
Global Ministries and Relief Inc. is an authentic New Testament ministry that consists of a team of dedicated workers. We relate with hundreds of churches and apostolic networks world-wide. Our vision is summed up on the statement: “Reaching the lost…discipling the found…building the Church.” We at GMR believe that world harvest is our greatest responsibility, and to this end we labor.
Under the leadership of Dr. Leon van Rooyen, GMR is focused on the mission of:
Proclaiming the gospel of God’s grace to the ends of the earth.
Teaching and equipping believers and providing churches with access to training tools.
Ministering in local churches to inspire every believer to impact their community through igniting the fires of revival.
Compassionately caring for the impoverished and the suffering through relief efforts.
Mentoring and training pastors and leaders.
OVERVIEW OF PURPOSE AND EXPECTATIONS
In joining a GMR expedition it is important to keep in mind the purpose of the expedition and to clearly understand what is expected of you. GMR team members are committed to be a blessing to the people of whatever nation we are serving in. This is primarily expressed through the constant cultivation of long-term relationships, as well as our support of what God is already doing in the areas we find ourselves privileged to visit. We believe in the value of short-term expeditions because of its high respect for the existing indigenous church. It is not our intention to undermine or appear to be replacing the indigenous church. However, we do believe that “to whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48). Therefore, the responsibility to share the wealth of information and resources that God has entrusted us with here in the first world weighs heavy upon us. We are grateful for the work of the missionaries who have gone before us and seek to build on what they have already accomplished through Christ.
This is where you fit in! As a member of one of our short-term expeditions we are depending on you to represent both GMR and the Kingdom well. You become a member of our team the moment you are accepted on an expedition. Keeping that in mind, while you are a part of our team we expect three main things of you:
You remain submissive to our leadership for the duration of the expedition.
You carry your own weight and then some! Remember, our goal is to bless those we are visiting, which leaves no time for high-maintenance team members.
You make it your highest goal to be a blessing to those around you and to God. In this effort, your additional spiritual gifts and callings are secondary to these fundamentals and in fact are worthless if not grounded in simple Godly integrity. Trusting that you already have an understanding of all of this, we want you to be willing to use your gifts, as we believe that each team member has something unique that will directly contribute to the success of the expedition.
CODE OF CONDUCT
The following Code of Conduct outlines the basic, commonsense rules that must be adhered to from the moment you arrive at your destination, through your flight home. If at any point during this time you do not honor any of these guidelines, there is the potential for you to be expelled from the team at your own expense. We also reserve the right, as outlined in our application, to expel you from the team for any reason or any misbehavior not mentioned below at any point during or before the expedition and at your own expense. Commonsense and the Holy Spirit will always dictate acceptable behavior and we are confident that you will be listening.
The possession of or use of alcoholic beverages, narcotics, tobacco products, firearms and/or other weapons is strictly prohibited.
The misuse of any prescription drug or other legal substance is prohibited. Any prescription drugs being taken should have already been disclosed on your application. (If you did not disclose this information, please contact our office.)
You will not participate in fraternizing of any kind with any individual (other than your spouse) which includes but is not limited to:
Physical contact with any individual (other than your spouse) with any hint of sexual behavior.
Guys and girls pairing off alone in any scenario.
Verbally sharing your romantic feelings with an individual. Please note: We understand that you are an adult and we are not against marriage or individuals finding their soul-mate on the mission field; however, for the sake of the expedition we must keep these strict guidelines. If you do fall madly in love during your expedition, congratulations! We, however, ask that you wait to confess this until you are finished with the expedition and arrive home.
Vulgar/obscene language, off-color joking or any other obnoxious behavior will not be tolerated
Complaining, insulting, degrading language and cursing will not be tolerated.
Destruction, theft or general disrespect of property other than your own is strictly prohibited.
Unless permitted by GMR staff, no one will be permitted to go off alone. Team members must remain in groups of at least three and girls must be accompanied by a guy.
Modest clothing must be worn at all times. If you are not sure if it is appropriate – don’t pack it! GMR leaders reserve the right to instruct individuals on how to dress modestly for cultural sensitivity. This could include removing nose rings, toe rings, ankle bracelets, and other forms of jewelry.
During free time your whereabouts must be made known to your leader at all times.
No team member is allowed to rent a car, motorcycle, boat, or hotel room, without direct permission from GMR staff.
In the unlikely event of an emergency, GMR staff will take full control of every situation and team members may be called upon to help according to their skill level. Team members must only use initiative if a GMR staff member is not available.
As a safety factor, GMR staff must be respected and obeyed at all times regardless of your opinion of them. If you must complain, you will have an opportunity to do it after the expedition is over.
Each team member is expected to treat others with respect and to do their share. Be prepared to get dirty and work hard.
Team members will NOT add anyone we meet to social media.
Each team member is expected to participate in all daily activities, be prompt for meetings and faithful with their daily devotions.
In short don’t do anything illegal or non-biblical, and treat others the way you would like to be treated.
Upon your arrival in India, you will be greeted by your expedition leaders who will guide you through the duration of the trip. GMR staff are trained in medical and ministry work specific to India and have developed working relationships with ministries across India with whom you will be working. Once all the team members have arrived in India there will be a full orientation on the ground covering safety, culture, ministry, and team dynamics.
Your GMR staff will have made all the necessary arrangements for your lodging. Typically this will either be a modest rented apartment or a hotel but you may also be staying in tents or as guests in an Indian’s house. Be prepared for all possibilities as plans change frequently during ministry. In any case bear in mind that you are guests and be mindful of presenting a Christ like attitude towards your hosts, the Indians. Team members may be separated into working groups and will be responsible for clean up duties and other regular chores. The GMR staff member is responsible for the running of the housing activities, which will take on its own routine as you settle in. Keep in mind that you are in India, and conditions may be different than what you are used to. You may not be able to shower every day, and an opportunity to clean up may be a cool “bucket-shower.” Toilets may be nothing more than a hole in the ground behind the house. Remember, these challenges and circumstances of discomfort are only temporary.
Most of the time, a hired cook will prepare the food for the expedition. All drinking water is purchased in bottle form (with a good seal). Drinking water for teams is never obtained from wells or taps, but bought at local stands and stores. Staple foods on our expeditions are rice, chicken, and vegetables in the form of various curry dishes. All of your food and water will be provided on the expedition. The team will be eating with churches and in villages. All of their food is well prepared, but you may experience a new variety of tastes. In the homes in which you maybe eating it is culturally sound to eat the food and be happy about it. If you are unsure about the food you are about to eat, please question the GMR staff that is with you. Each person’s body is different and will respond differently to the food in India. It is best to bring medication for traveler’s diarrhea as a precaution if your digestive system has a difficult time adjusting.
Be aware of what’s happening around you. No one wants to play the part of the clumsy tourist. Yet some people do as they please, without giving a thought to local standards or conduct. Indians think differently and do things differently than we do. Their attitudes towards time, business or politics are governed by different traditions and philosophies. Don’t expect Western culture and standards in India; remember to never complain. When you approach Indians do so with an attitude of respect. On the whole Indians are hospitable people, ready with a smile and a greeting. They use respectful language and gentle expressions. Be careful not to behave in a manner that might be seen as condescending. Normal business transactions take longer than in Western societies. Generally well-mannered patience is the best approach.
There will be many opportunities to preach, teach and minister in the areas that we will be involved in on this expedition. Over the years GMR has developed an extensive network of indigenous Indian pastors and ministries. We have come alongside these men and women to both train them in discipleship and assist in their ministries with long term and short term missions. This expedition will be working closely with several of these ministries and pastors to assist them in various areas. Your ministry on this trip could include any of the following activities:
Preaching and ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ to villages and churches
Training pastors through apostolic schools
Outreaches to the poor
Caring for the sick
Visiting children’s homes
It is vital that no matter what you are doing you are prepared to take on a servant’s heart both to the pastors that we work with and to the crowds and churches that we visit.
To those unaccustomed to the social and cultural aspects of India it can be challenging to feel like you are communicating effectively with the Indian people. Subtle communication techniques that we take for granted (or don’t even think about) in our culture may have little or no effect when communicating with the Indians. Many times you will find yourself speaking through an interpreter, which can add an extra level of frustration to a situation. You will have plenty of opportunities to share your testimony, give a word of encouragement, or preach a message to Indian audiences so it is vital that you make note of the following tips to ensure good communication during ministry or one-on-one sharing.
What NOT to share:
Do NOT share about past addictions such as drugs, alcohol, etc. This is a sensitive issue to the Indian people, especially those in more remote villages. If you must refer to these types of things in your testimony refer to it as “past sin” or something generic like that.
Do NOT share about past divorces or past marriages. Family relationships are the utmost priority to the Indians and they may become very offended. If you do have a second marriage simply introduce the person as your spouse.
Do NOT use the word “dating” when referring to relationships. Use terms like “knowing each other” or “when we met.” As funny as they may sound to us these are appropriate terms for a dating relationship in the Indian culture.
What SHOULD be shared:
A short testimony is always effective and productive. It may consist of:
Your past life (minus the above recommendations) – i.e. before accepting Christ.
How, where, when you accepted Jesus.
What happened when you accepted Him into your life.
The blessings that you experience by knowing Jesus.
Jesus is the ONLY God. There are many gods in the Indian culture so stressing this point is a must in ministry.
The importance of going to church regularly to be with the body of Christ (Heb. 10:25).
The importance of Heaven and an eternal relationship with God.
The Indians appreciate education so share as much as you want about it. Job titles are impressive and earn respect in their culture e.g. engineer, artist, musician, doctor, paramedic etc.
In addition to the above points for sharing your testimony you might consider jotting down notes for two or three small sermons (10-20 min). Keep the subject matter as basic as possible.
Relating to Pastors: Pastors play a fundamental and vital role in their area for the Kingdom. Your job is to encourage them in every way possible. You must serve them; however, they may not accept it because of how humble they are. When you esteem them more important than yourself, they develop in themselves a confidence that uplifts and strengthens their ministry more than you can imagine.
Remember: 2 Cor. 5:16 says: “We regard no one according to the flesh!” When it says no one, who does that include? Yes, it includes the people we will minister to, but it also includes you. You cannot be an ambassador for Christ and be self-conscious at the same time. To be aware of our faults, failures, and lacks is to do a disservice to the nations. Because when we are aware of ourselves, we draw attention to everything else but the message of the cross – culture, economics, education, and all things that are in the flesh.
Do not be intimidated by the thought of having to communicate the Gospel cross-culturally in an environment you are not familiar with. Never forget that you are ambassadors for Christ. You do not have to come up with your own message. It is merely a matter of communicating what God has already spoken. The message is already exactly the way God wants it; our job is merely to get the information to the people.
We strongly encourage all team members to keep a daily activity/ministry journal while on the expedition. Not only will regular journaling enhance your memories about the trip, it will also help you remember vital points to your ministry testimony that can be shared once you get home.
3,287,263 sq km
Hindi 41%, Bengali 8.1%, Telugu 7.2%, Marathi 7%, Tamil 5.9%, Urdu 5%, Gujarati 4.5%, Kannada 3.7%, Malayalam 3.2%, Oriya 3.2%, Punjabi 2.8%, Assamese 1.3%, Maithili 1.2%, other 5.9%
Hindu 79.8%, Muslim 14.2%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.7%, Other 1.8% unspecified .1% (2011 Census)
Male 64 years, Female 68 years
Country Dialing Code
240 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second
India lies within the 10/40 window. The 10/40 window is so named because it lies between 10°N and 40°N latitude. This window extends from West Africa to East Asia. 82% of the poorest of the poor live within this geographical window. It is said that on average each person lives on less than 0 a year, or less than .40 per day.
The Time Difference: in India is 13 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (12 ahead of PDT). India does not observe daylight savings.
Christianity is India’s third-largest religion, with approximately 29.2 million followers, constituting 2.3% of India’s population. The works of scholars and Eastern Christian writings state that Christianity was introduced to India by Thomas the Apostle, who visited Muziris in 52 AD to spread the gospel amongst Kerala’s Jewish settlements. Although, the exact origins of Christianity in India remain unclear, it is generally agreed upon that Christianity in India is almost as old as Christianity itself and spread in India even before it spread to many predominantly Christian nations of Europe.
Most Christians in India are Roman Catholics (Latin rite). Eastern Churches include the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church and the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, Which are prominent in Kerala. Major Protestant denominations include the Church of South India (CSI), the Church of North India (CNI), the Presbyterian Church of India, Baptists, Lutherans, and other evangelical groups. The Christian Church runs thousands of educational institutions and hospitals contributing significantly to the development of the nation.
India’s language, religions, dance, music, architecture, food and customs differ from place to place within the country, but nevertheless possess a commonality. The culture of India is an amalgamation of these diverse sub-cultures spread all over the Indian subcontinent and traditions that are several millennia old. Regarded by some historians as the “oldest living civilization of Earth,” the Indian tradition dates back to 8000 BC and has a continuous recorded history since the time of the Vedas for over 5,500 years. Several elements of India’s diverse culture – such as Indian religions, yoga and Indian cuisine – have had a profound impact across the world.
Religion and Spirituality
India is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, collectively known as Indian religions. India is one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world, with some of the most deeply religious societies and cultures. Religion still plays a central and definitive role in the life of many of its people. The religion of 79% of the people is Hinduism. Islam is practiced by 14% of all Indians.
For centuries, arranged marriages have been the tradition in Indian society. Even today, the vast majority of Indians have their marriages planned by their parents and other respected family-members, with the consent of the bride and groom. They also demand dowry, which has been outlawed by the Indian government, but Indian society and culture still promotes and maintains it. They get around the prohibition by not letting the authorities know the arrangements of money. Arranged matches are made after taking into account factors such as age, height, personal values and tastes, the backgrounds of their families (wealth and social standing), their castes and the astrological compatibility of the couple’s horoscopes. In India, the marriage is thought to be for life, and the divorce rate is extremely low – 1.1% compared to 50% in the United States. The arranged marriages generally have a much lover divorce rate, although divorce rates have risen significantly in recent years.
India, being multi-cultural and multi-religious society, celebrates holidays and festivals of various religions, the three national holidays in India, the Independence Day, the Republic Day and the Gandhi Jayanti, are celebrated with zeal and enthusiasm across India. In addition, many states and regions have local festivals depending on prevalent religious and linguistic demographics.
Traditional clothing in India greatly varies across different parts of the country and is influenced immensely by local culture, geography and climate. Popular styles of dress include draped garments such as a sari for women and dhoti or lungi for men; in addition, stitched clothes such as churidar for women and kurta-pyjama and European-style trousers and shirts for men, are also popular. In India, a person’s social status is perceived to be symbolized by his or her attire. Indian dress etiquette discourages exposure of skin and wearing transparent or tight clothes. Most Indian clothes are made from cotton, which is ideal for the region’s hot weather. Since India’s weather is mostly hot and rainy, the majority of Indians wear sandals. Worn by women on their forehead, the bindi is considered to be a highly auspicious mark in Hindu religion. Traditionally, the red bindi (or sindoor) was worn by the married Hindu women, but now it has become part of women’s fashion. Some Indian traditions consider the bindi to be representative of the third eye.
India is home to two major language families: Indo-Aryan (spoken by about 74% of the population) and Dravidian (spoken by about 24%). Other languages spoken in India come from the Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman language families. India has one national language. Hindi, with the largest number of speakers, is the official language of the union. English is used extensively in business and administration and has the status of a “subsidiary official language;” it is also important in education, especially as a medium of high education. Every state and union territory had its own official languages, and the constitution recognizes in particular 21 “scheduled languages.”
While you are in a country it is useful, respectful, and often fun to learn some daily greetings in the native tongue: it always brightens up a face when a foreigner is able to respond to local greetings.
The climate of India comprises a wide range of weather conditions across a vast geographic scale and varied topography, making generalizations difficult. India hosts six major climate subtypes, ranging from arid desert in the west, alpine tundra and glaciers in the north, and humid tropical regions supporting rain forests in the southwest and the island territories. Many regions have starkly different microclimates.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) designates four official seasons:
Winter, Occurring between January and March. The year’s coldest months are December and January, when temperatures average 10°-15°C (50°-59°F) in the northwest; temperatures rise as one proceeds towards the equator, peaking around 20°-25°C (68°-77°F) in mainland India’s southeast.
Summer or pre-monsoon season, lasting form March to June (April to July in Northwestern India). In wester and southern regions, the hottest month is April; for northern regions, May is the hottest month. Temperatures average around 32°-40°C (90°-104°F) in most interior.
Monsoon or rainy season, lasting from June to September. The season is dominated by the humid southwest summer monsoon, which slowly sweeps across the country beginning in late May or early June. Monsoon rains begin to recede from North India at the beginning of October.
Post-Monsoon season, lasting from October to December. South India typically receives more precipitation. Monsoon rains begin to recede from North India at the beginning of October. In northwestern India, October and November are usually cloudless. Parts of the country experience the dry northeast monsoon.
Indian cuisine is characterized by the extensive use of various Indian spices, herbs, vegetables and fruit, and is also known for the widespread practice of vegetarianism in Indian society. Each family of Indian cuisine includes a wide assortment of dishes and cooking techniques.
Rice is the staple starch and is usually consumed with a variety of curries and lentil soups or broths. Although many people there are vegetarian, people living in the coastal areas are known for their seafood dishes. Most Indian foods are known for their heavy use of spices and chilies. One of the most important parts of cuisine are the various pickles. The most common pickles are made from green mangoes, gongura plant, or chillies. Curds are a common addition to meals to neutralize the spiciness of the food in some states. One of the most popular dishes in India is known as “biryani,” and its origin is traced back to Afghani traditional food. It is a special blend of basmati rice and spices such as anise, cardamon, cloves, and cinnamon. Biryani is the most popularly shared dish in India among festivals and celebrations. Almost any restaurant in India will serve the tastiest Biryani!
RESEARCH AND PREPARATION
Such a Great Salvation – Mike Petzer
The Bible in the Light of Our Redemption – E. W. Kenyon
A Tale of Three Kings – Gene Edwards
Come Back Alive – Robert Young Pelton
21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John C Maxwell
Dr. Leon’s Online Bible School – http://www2.ebibleinstitute.org/login.php
India Specific Literature
New Birth or Rebirth?: Jesus Talks with Krishna – Ravi Zacharias
Sharing Your Faith With a Hindu – Madasamy Thirumalai
The Cross and the Crescent, Understanding the Muslim Heart and Mind – Phil Parshall
You must have a passport that is valid for no less than 6 months after the scheduled departure date from India. Please ensure there are adequate blank pages in your passport for required visas. If you do not have a passport or it does not fit the criteria just described, you need to apply for one AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! The following government website will give you the most updated information for obtaining/renewing your passport: http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html
You will need an Indian Travel Visa to get into the country. We recommend using this travel site below to apply for Indian visas.
The visa sites are well set up and answer many questions you may have when applying for the Indian visa. In short you will fill out the application for the Indian visa on their website and then either mail or deliver in person the completed application to one of their headquarter sites. We have found them to be very helpful through the application process and have had good experiences with them. Use the below information when filing out the application:
You will apply for a 10 year, multiple entry TOURIST Visa. Do NOT apply for any other type of visa other than Tourist Visa.
For “Places You Plan To Visit” list Latur, and Daund, Maharashtra.
List your “Object of Journey” as Tourism.
For your occupation be as generic as possible e.g. teacher, mechanic, carpenter, student etc.
Port of Arrival in India should be listed as Mumbai. If you are unsure contact your expedition leader to find out.
For the Reference Name, Address and phone in India:
Good News Centre
For the Reference Name, Address and Phone in the United States use the information of a parent, spouse or close relative.
Make two copies of all documentation (i.e. passport, visa, driver’s license, credit cards). Leave one set of copies at home and carry the other set with you separate from your wallet or other documents.
It is useful to carry extra passport photos of yourself, as these are a common condition to purchase visas, and are helpful if you find yourself addressing any unforeseen passport or consulate issues.
If a Team Member needs to make a telephone call to the US, we will try to provide an opportunity. The cost of the telephone call is calculated according to the length of the conversation and the place being called. Each Team Member will be responsible for paying for their personal calls upon completion of the call. The timing of the telephone calls will need to be coordinated in advance and may not conflict with the group’s scheduled commitments. The time difference between India and the USA also needs to be taken into account.
Internet access is something that is NOT to be expected on a normal basis. Occasionally access to the internet is available and in the event it is your team leaders will let you know; however, if there are constraints on the connection the team leaders may elect to send out a group email to the families of the team members. Make sure you communicate any email addresses with the leader so they can send this email to those awaiting news of your safety back home. If internet access is available via a public computer make sure that you do not log into email, Facebook, bank accounts, or any other private sites. Key-loggers are commonly installed on public computers by hackers for the purpose of obtaining private information typed by the user.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING
Longterm Trip Requirements
We have put together the following packing list as a suggestion. As long as your luggage is within the weight limit you can have fun with your packing. There will be plenty of opportunities for your clothes to be washed along the way, therefore pack light-weight clothes. We suggest that you leave room in your luggage for personal purchases. India has some amazing gifts and souvenirs that you may like to bring home.
1 Suitcase/Duffle bag/Ruck sack – Make sure you are able to personally carry your luggage. Do not over pack!
1 small Backpack/Daypack
Short Term Requirements
Because we will be traveling throughout the expedition, it is important that we pack smart! The limits below are mandatory for every team member and not to be exceeded without consent. While we know that these limits are small, it is important to be able to carry and travel all luggages swiftly and safely. We will often be in small cars, trains, and other vehicles where there will not be a lot of room. If you over pack, we may tell you to repack and leave something behind. Team members should not bring CHECKED luggage without prior approval. This is due to the reality that some luggage may be lost/delayed in transit, and if that happens you will be without your luggage for the DURATION of the expedition.
Luggage Limits: Approximately 20lbs
1 Carry-On Luggage – Make sure you are able to personally carry your luggage onto the plane. Do not over pack!
1 small Backpack/Daypack
NO CHECKED LUGGAGE unless approved by your expedition leader.
GMR Expedition Leaders may ask team members to take checked luggage to be a blessing to our missionaries and other ministry workers based in India. For example: humanitarian relief items, gifts, or personal items for our missionary families. Items such as non-perishable food, or snacks from North America will be a treat. This is also a great way to minister to those serving in India. Unfortunately, the cost of shipping to India is very high, therefore, this is the most efficient and cost effective way.
Daypack: A small bag or pack is essential to carry your Bible, diary, camera, sweater, sun block, water bottle, and other things needed during each day. It also makes a great carry-on bag for the plane. It’s a great idea to have a change of clothes with your daypack as you fly, as it can take almost two days to get to your final destination in India.
For Contact Lens Wearers: Contact lens wearers might experience problems when they travel because of the dust. Bring plenty of saline solution and bring a pair of glasses as a backup. A set of disposable contacts is a good option for the time you are in India.
Pants/Trousers: Two pairs of durable cotton (cargo-style) pants, one pair of dressier pants for church services (Men), one pair of jogging (or fleece) pants for cold nights. Blue jeans are not recommended as they are uncomfortable in hot weather and take ages to dry. Cargo pants with inside zippers or secret pockets are recommended.
Skirts or Dresses: All women on expedition must wear skirts or dresses each day spent in the villages doing ministry. This is done out of respect of the culture and the people you will be ministering to. The length of the skirts/dresses must reach to the ankle. Each female team member should bring 3-4 skirts/dresses to use during the course of the expedition.
Shirts: Five or six short sleeve shirts or t-shirts, at least two long sleeve shirts for sun protection or cool weather (think layers for changes in temperatures between night and day), and at least one warm sweater/jersey. Women must wear modest clothing, and make sure chest, shoulders, and legs are adequately covered.
Underwear and Socks: Cotton is best in warm climates, or newly designed synthetic materials.
Pajamas/Sleep wear: One warm set as temperatures can drop significantly during the night. Ladies, do not bring “short” shorts to sleep in! Indians are very modest with all of their dress. We will be staying with Indian families we need to maintain a very modest dress code.
Shorts (Guys Only): Two or three pairs of hiking/outdoor, or durable shorts and one swimsuit (women still need to be fully covered while swimming).
Sweaters/jerseys: At least one thick fleece, as it packs well. Also one waterproof windbreaker made of Goretex or other breathable fabric is recommended. Canvas jackets are fine, however they are very heavy.
Footwear: One pair of comfortable walking shoes with traction soles, which can also be worn to evening church services. Bring one pair of thong sandals/flip flops or one with straps for use in the showers, and for everyday wear. (It is common for you to have to take your shoes off in every house/church you go to).
Towel and Toiletries: At least one body towel and one hand towel, and your personal toiletries.
Money Belt: Since you will often be exposed to public situations it is essential that you bring a money belt. A money belt that is hidden is best as an exposed belt or lanyard wallet around your neck make easy targets for thieves who are skilled at cutting them off quickly.
A Travel Journal: We suggest that everyone make daily journal entries during the expeditions. It will help you remember details to share with others when you return.
Important Miscellaneous Items: Toilet Paper (around 6 rolls for 2 weeks), hand sanitizer, wet wipes, and antibacterial wipes. A headlamp is necessary! Bring extra batteries or a back-up flashlight, sunscreen, sunglasses, and insect repellant (DEET or Lemon Eucalyptus).
Optional Miscellaneous: Cameras and photographic equipment, a stuff-bag for dirty clothes, multi-tool or small Swiss Army knife, reference and reading books (Be sure to pack knives and multi-tools in checked in luggage!)
Food Suggestions: While most westerners enjoy the Indian cuisine during their stay, it is still helpful to bring a few supplemental food items. Remember to bring snack foods you like that do well without refrigeration. Peanut butter, crackers, beef or chicken jerky, granola bars, dried fruit, Rice Krispie treats, trail mix, Vienna sausages, Spam, cheese in a can, dried prunes, cereal bars, Slim Jim’s, and so on. Gatorade dry mix is refreshing and energizing when added to bottled water. Gatorade chews are good for dehydration.
Notes for Women: In India, tampons and sanitary pads are not freely available outside of major city centers. Also they might be expensive when you find them, so bring an adequate supply. A supply of wet wipes is a great idea.
Electronic devices such as iPods and cell phones are discouraged.
Laptop: Bringing a laptop is not recommended as there is limited to no network connectivity in the areas we will be ministering in. If you must bring a laptop, however, pay attention to the electricity constraints below.
Electricity: Most voltage in India is 220/240. If you have appliances that are not capable of running of 220/240volts (most US appliances are strictly 110/120 volts) then you will need a small travel voltage converter to step down the voltage from 220/240 volts to 110/120 volts. You will also need a travel adapter so that you will be able to plug your appliances in. All-in-one or universal travel adapters are very cheap and are your best option here.
Example Voltage Converter: http://www.amazon.com/Simran-Converter-Products-Countries-SM-1875/dp/B000W91XBO/ref=acc_glance_e_ai_ps_t3_t_3
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Your health and safety is of top priority to GMR while you are in India. GMR staff and leadership have been trained in first-aid and all expeditions are equipped with an emergency first-aid kit for your team. Safety protocol is in place and healthcare professionals are on-call to manage potential emergencies from the GMR office. Team leaders are also in regular contact with GMR international office by internet, cell or satellite phone. Still, practicing proactive prevention is the best guard from potentially harmful situations. Please go over the following sections carefully to ensure you have taken all possible precautions.
The hospitality and genuine welcome of the Indian people is remarkable, however, there is often the presence of pickpockets and petty theft in towns. GMR cannot be held responsible for the loss or theft of any valuable items while you are traveling. We recommend you carry any valuables on your person, in a secure and non-visible manner while you are on the field; or don’t bring them at all.
GMR requires that each member of the team carry travelers insurance to protect against losses from theft and medical emergencies. The price of the travelers insurance is relatively cheap and is built into the total price you are paying for the expedition. Your expedition leader will arrange this insurance for you. If you end up making a claim against the travelers insurance policy make sure that you have adequate documentation. This might include:
Original receipts for any luggage or item that has the potential to go missing
Documentation from Hospitals or Doctors that you may need to visit while in India.
Check with your local Travel Health Department concerning precautions you can take before leaving your home country for India. Most Health Departments will have a list of vaccinations they advise you to receive, but not all are mandatory. We strongly advise you to follow the travel requirements and recommendations set by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. Visit the CDC website to determine what is required: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/india.htm
To find a Travel Health clinic in your country and area, visit The International Society of Travel Medicine’s website: http://www.istm.org/
Other informative websites covering medications and health:
Travel safety and health recommendations can change frequently. Be sure to check with the CDC, your local Travel Health Department, and your Primary Care Physician for the most up to date information for the countries you will be traveling through.
MEDICAL ESSENTIALS KIT
Your GMR expedition leaders will have general use first-aid kits to meet most medical emergencies. In addition, many travelers find it helpful to bring basic supplies to meet common and daily needs. Here is a list of suggestions for a small kit that meets daily needs:
Several sterile gauze pads (2x2, 4x4)
Bandaids/plasters – assorted types and size
Alcohol/Antiseptic/BZK swabs – for cleaning small cuts, available in individual size
Tweezers & safety pins – for removing splinters and securing clothing or bandages
Loperamide HCI (Lomotil, Immodium) – symptomatic relief for non-specific traveler’s diarrhea; or
Pink Bismuth (Bismuth Subsalicylate, Pepto Bismol) – for indigestion, diarrhea, gas or nausea
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) – for fever and aches
Extra supply of any personal prescription medications, with written letter from your physician
Hand sanitizer or wet wipes
Small scissors, blade, or multi-tool
Length of twine or string
Cravats or handkerchief
Signal mirror or plastic whistle
Powdered or concentrated drink mixes for electrolyte replacement or sugars (Gatorade, Crystal Lyte, Emergen-C)
In addition to the below precautions remember to inform your team leadership of any injury or sickness you might be feeling at anytime as soon as possible after symptoms start.
Drink only bottle water. It will be provided for you. Drink a lot of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. You can get dehydrated easily in India’s hot climate.
Remember to use bottled water when brushing your teeth. Do not rinse your toothbrush under the tap.
When drinking soft drinks, wipe off the top of the bottle with something, preferably an antibacterial cloth.
Wash hands often with soap and water. Use Purell wipes and lotion often throughout the day to keep your hands germ free.
Don’t eat food purchased from street vendors.
Don’t handle animals, especially monkeys, dogs and cats, and don’t approach a strange animal to try to pet it. They are wild animals and will bite you if you get too close. It is safer to keep your distance from them.
In addition to your expedition cost, which covers food, accommodation and local transportation, you will be responsible for any of the following during the expedition:
Additional activities that you desire to participate in during free time
Spending in the airport while traveling
Passport and visa fees necessary to enter/exit each country.
Spending Money: We recommend that you bring at least 0 cash for spending and miscellaneous fees such as airport taxes. You will have an opportunity to exchange your money upon arriving in the country of your expedition. We also recommend that you bring a credit card in case of emergency. We do not recommend travelers checks.
Before you dive into sending your letters and raising your support, take a look into your heart and examine your perspective. Make sure you are carrying a Godly view on raising support for ministry. Don’t approach your support raising with the idea that you are begging for money. If you believe God has called you, then you are asking people to support the work of God. You are the vessel that God will use to reach out to the unreached/neglected and your testimony will inspire others when you return. Many Christians and churches have a genuine interest in supporting missions. Many people also have a heart for the nations but are unable to go, so they feel that by sponsoring someone who is going, they themselves get to be a part of what God is doing in the remote isolated areas of the world.
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” Romans 10:14-15
Often, even non-Christians will sponsor you because they respect you or because they want to do “the right thing.”Communicate your excitement and vision to go to the nations with your potential sponsors. Let them know what caught your attention and what made you want to go. Also, resist the attitude of “entitlement” regarding fundraising; always be thankful and expectant. Don’t hesitate to ask someone to partner with you on your expedition. You are literally giving them an opportunity to send. View your fund raising as sharing in the mission and the harvest with the people in your life.
You are the treasured son or daughter of the most-high God. Not only “the cattle on a thousand hills,” but everything in heaven and on earth belongs to Him. He has asked you and appointed you to go to the nations (Mark 16:15) So why would God, your loving Father who has given you an assignment, not equip you with what you need to complete that task? It will be difficult and frustrating at times. So ask Him for help – pray specific prayers and you will see specific answers.
Begin to pray for the salvation of souls in the place where you are looking to go.
Ask Him to help you figure out which fund raising strategies you will be most effective at.
Ask Him to connect you with the right people at the right times and ask Him to go before you to speak to their hearts.
Pray for “bull-dog” faith, strength and determination.
Thank Him and worship Him in advance for providing the full amount to go.
"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32
Options and Planning
As you think of potential partners, don’t ask yourself, “Who would be willing to support me?” Instead, ask yourself, “Who would be willing to hear my story?” Start “name-storming” – write down everyone that comes to mind. Even if you think you don’t know that many people, you will be surprised. The average person knows about 250 people. Think beyond those in your normal comfort zone or immediate circle. Try thinking in categories to help you such as co-workers, neighbors, family, friends from school, friends from church, small group, sports teammates, family friends, etc. Don’t forget to include those who have supported you in previous ministry endeavors. They will be some of the most likely people to give. Collect as much contact information as possible, including home, cell and work numbers, email address and home address. For those you already have information for, make sure it is up-to-date. Ask others to help you gather contact information for people you don’t know. Don’t wait until you’re out of names and still haven’t raised the full amount until you ask for referrals. Ask those who agree to partner with you if they know of anyone else who you could share the opportunity with!
Meet with people face-to-face
A personal connection with someone face-to-face for 45 min or so is the most effective way to raise support. You can look them in the eye, answer questions, get to know each other and they will be able to hear and see your passion. You may not be able to do this with everyone on your list, but pick your top 10 or 20 most likely partners including your pastor and/or the missions board at your church. When you are meeting with these people, make sure to communicate the specific need and ask! Have a support letter and response slip on hand to give at the end if needed.
Send support letters
Many missionaries choose this option and are very successful at it. A support letter is simply a letter that you write to your friends, family, church family and co-workers informing them of your desire to see un-reached people groups touched with the love and salvation of God and your need for financial support (or sponsorship). What to do when writing your support letter:
Make it personal – the opening sentence should establish some sort of personal connection.
Keep the letter to one page, if possible.
Remember the purpose of the letter. Do not wander in your subject matter.
Use a picture of you in the upper left-hand corner.
Build the letter with these components:
Appreciate them and their interest in you
Share briefly about your journey in missions or how God has given you a passion for missions, what expedition you’re going on and why you’re going.
Transition into the need and share the specific need.
Give them an opportunity to respond – ask.
Communicate urgency and set deadline for them to respond OR let them know when you’ll call for an answer (i.e. in one week). Note: If you do not hear anything from them by the deadline date, phone them.
Always include a hand-written or typed “P. S.”
Sign each letter personally.
Have it proof read by at least one person.
Other possible inserts with the letter:
Response coupon with self-addressed return envelope
Could include: More specific details about GMR, Your specific ministry calling, your financial needs or how to give.
As always, pictures!
Follow up with a phone call. Follow up is critical! Don’t just send the letter and wait and wait. Everyone’s good intention will become no intention as bills and other responsibilities pile up on top of your letter on their desk. Be proactive. Sometimes its not that they wouldn’t give, its that they forgot or time slipped away from them. Also, if you say you will call for an answer in a week, make sure you call when you said you would.
You may want to get help from friends, family, a home group, the youth group or children’s ministry.
Have a garage sale – get your junk, your friend’s junk, your mom’s junk and your friends’ moms’ junk and sell it all!
Sell tickets for a church/missions spaghetti dinner. Have other missionaries, your pastor or yourself talk briefly about missions. Add music, a skit, a bake sale or all of the above.
Have a car wash, baby-sit, mow lawns.
If you can cook, sell food!
If you can, sell items like jewelry, photography or artwork that you have made.
Get a second job. If you have enough time to work two jobs, get a second job and put your 2nd paycheck into your expedition account. Pretend you don’t have two incomes.
Thank your partners and communicate with them
For each check or contribution you receive, make sure to send a thank you card right away. It is also very important to communicate with those who are standing behind you (prayerfully and financially) in your endeavors. Make time to update them and thank them after you return home on what God has done in and through you on the mission field. One fun way to appreciate your partners is to bring them gifts from the countries you’ve been ministering in. Take your list of partners with you when you go in order to help you remember who to buy for.
Note: if you are looking to raise long-term support you may want to read books such as “Funding Your Ministry” by Scott Morton or “Friendraising” by Betty Barnett
We hope this orientation has been of help to you. If you have any further questions or suggestions on improving this document please don’t hesitate to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Portions of this document have been borrowed from documents published by Overland Missions – www.overlandmissions.com