Are you a missionary wife packing for your trip? Are you moving to a foreign country and packing for your long term missionary experience? Are you planning to be missionaries for a year, two years, ten years or even the rest of your lives? Are you wondering what all you should pack before you move to Africa, South America or another part of the world?
Below are a few missionary packing tips for missionary wives. Some of this might seem like common sense, but some people might not have even thought about it. This article covers some of the items that are necessary to bring, but you might have forgotten about. This is to supplement your basic list of items you wouldn’t forget such as clothing, sheets, towels, pots and pans, etc.
In nearly all parts of the world, you will still have access to fresh vegetables, fruit and more. However, it is still a healthy choice to take a vitamin daily. While you might be able to purchase these, it’s still a great idea to bring a few bottles with you. If you have children, bring chewable children’s vitamins. If you are planning on getting pregnant, bring prenatal vitamins. (You should take prenatal vitamins even before you conceive. Read “When Should I Take Prenatal Vitamins?” for more insight.
Over the Counter Yeast Infection Treatment
If you are going to a third world country, where medical care is limited, this is a necessity. In the event that you have a yeast infection, you will have medicine available. It can be very expensive (and embarrassing) to have someone mail you the medicine. Therefore, stock up on a few over the counter yeast infection treatment kits. Of course, in many countries, you can definitely buy this, but if you aren’t sure, pack some to be safe. Even if you have never had a yeast infection in your life, pack it.
You may not be able to purchase the type of sexual lubricant you want and need in some areas of the world. Therefore, be sure to pack extra packages of lubricant.
A Stash of All Types of OTC Medicine
Be sure to bring a container with all kinds of medicine. Include anti-diarrhea medication, tylenol, antihistamines, anti-nausea medicine and more. I recommend visiting Wal-Mart and basically buying all of the types of medication that you could need. While you might be able to purchase it where you live, it might be more expensive. Try to pack all of the medicine in a small plastic container.
Do you plan to have a baby overseas? This is something you can order, of course, when the time comes, but if you plan to get pregnant and have a baby within a year or two, it’s a great idea to bring this item. In the event that your baby refuses to nurse, you will have a pump as a back-up. While it is not ideal, it is possible, especially if you do not have access to safe water to use for formula. Read “How to Exclusively Pump Your Breast Milk For Your Baby” for advice.
Fluoride, Floss and Extra Toothbrushes
While you can probably purchase this where you go, it’s nice to bring some anyway. Many missionaries from Africa who return to the US end up needing thousands of dollars of dental work done on their teeth. The reason is that the water they drink is not treating with fluoride. So, if possible, you might pack some fluoride rinse, along with other dental hygiene products that you wouldn’t forget.
If you are planning on preventing pregnancy while overseas, this of course, is a given. You might talk to your doctor before leaving and explain the situation. He/she might be able to prescribe you a lot to take with you. Do not forget to bring condoms in case, for some reason or another, you are unable to take the birth control.
This one is a necessity to add to your missionary packing list. Even if you have already packed one, you might pack an additional thermometer. This is especially necessary if you have younger children. Thermometers do break easily, and you could lose the one you have.
Pepperoni / Bacon Bit Pieces / Summer Sausage
This one only applies to missionaries who are moving to an area where pepperoni is scare or hard to find, such as Mozambique. And, obviously, it is only if you use pepperoni or bacon bit pieces in your recipes! I included this one because it is a request I’ve heard from missionaries who live in Africa.
If you will be in a place where it is difficult to purchase deodorant, try to bring several sticks of deodorant with you, if you have any room left.
Toys / Sports Balls
This is an item not for yourself necessarily, but for some of the children you will encounter in your work. If you have room at all in your packing, pack a few small toys and perhaps a soccer ball.
These ideas are meant to supplement the items that you already know you should bring. Some additional items that you might try to bring are extra batteries, flashlight, soap, anti-bacterial gel, cleaning supplies, bug spray and sunscreen.
You might contact other missionaries you know and ask them “What are some items that you wish you had packed?” Also, you might visit forums for missionaries or expats such as the “Southern Africa moms” forum here.
Best wishes as you share the gospel and be an encouragement to others!