It is highly recommended that you keep a journal while on your trip as you will find this a valuable part of your mission trip. Each day will be packed with new experiences – keeping an immediate written record will help you recall them later. When you return home, your journal will enable you to relive many of them. It is also the best place to put your frustrations and negative feelings, rather than in teammate’s ears. Make sure your journal is portable so you can take it with a good pen during the day, those slack moments that are sure to occur, are good times to add to it. Though you will be very busy, make an effort to use every opportunity to keep it up to date.
Even if you have never done it before, now is the time to consider keeping a journal. You don’t have to be a terrific writer or make long entries. Even just a few words that will trigger a memory will do. This is just for you, so as long as you know what you mean, that’s all that matters. The journal will enable you to keep track of what is happening to you. It is great to have to refer to when you return home and are asked to talk about your trip. With all the rush and excitement of the project you may not have a lot of time to think about everything that God is teaching you. Once you get home and have time to reflect you may find all kinds of treasure waiting for you in your journal. You may also find that when you get back into the routine of life at home you forget the changes God was making in your heart. A journal is helpful to remind you of what you were thinking and feeling, what kinds of things you felt were important and what you wanted to be committed to doing at home. There may also be times when you are missing the people you worked with, and a trip through your journal can let you relive some of the adventures you had together. So, spend a few minutes everyday making a few notes, it’s a great investment!
SOME THINGS TO WRITE ABOUT IN YOUR JOURNAL
- First impression of sights, sounds, smells
- Feelings and emotions
- Expectations about what will happen
- Names, titles and addresses of people you meet
- Highlights of what happened to the team today
- What events or encounters touch your heart with joy or grief
- What stories did you hear today?
- What do you think God is trying to teach you through what happened today?
- Quotes from team members, hosts
- Funny things that happen
- What is the team praying about?
- How have you “caught God at work” in the lives of your hosts and your team