The Ron Coale Family at Hong Kong Airport, 3AM, 1996. Tired but excited going through customs.
Logistical-administrative things can be extremely difficult. They are not usually thought of until the last minute. At that time, it can be too late to deal with them.
There is always something that a missionary might want to take with them to the foreign field that ends up being forgotten. On the other hand, there are many things that the missionary family takes with them that they didn’t need at all because, those items were abundant where they were going.
When I was a missionary, my family and I had no idea what was available where we were going. We did our best to take what we might need if we couldn’t get it there. These items were mostly clothing, shoes and underwear. We each had two trunks and two carry on bags. You can imagine how much luggage we had for a six person family. When we got to our destination, we had to rent an extra van just to carry our luggage. How surprised you can imagine we were when we found out that most of the things we brought could be bought in the city there (and at a much lower price).
However, there were some things that were forgotten that were of the utmost importance. Immunizations were one of these things. Immunizations require boosters that take time. If you don’t get these done before you leave for your field, then you either won’t be able to go or you will scramble to find a place there where you can get the boosters.
Passports and visas take time to process. You can’t wait until the last minute to get these things taken care of. Yes, they can usually “fast track” your application, but that usually requires you be there in person to do it, and they may not have an embassy in the city where you are at. It can be costly to have to fly to a city where the embassy is and walk through a visa application. Sometimes you can hire agents to do this for you, but it is risky and expensive.
Physical’s may not be able to get done at the last minute. If they are, and they produce some problem, then you might need time for the doctors to cure your ailment and clear you for travel.
These are some of the many things that Missionaries forget. In my experience they seem to be the most common. Let me assure you, there are plethora of things beyond these things listed here. The list can be endless as it becomes specific to each individual family as well as the different fields to which they are going. I am sure that you can think of other forgotten things. If you can, this article has been a success in stimulating your mind to think about missions, missionaries and what they go through.
10 Things Missionaries Forget