We usually do not have a rigid plan for visitors. We will attempt to find out your interests, skills, and experience and fit you into some aspect of the work where you can make a contribution. The work in Africa is constantly changing and expanding. New projects are being started and existing projects are being expanded. We are convinced that every willing person can make a meaningful contribution to God's work. How can you plan to be effective volunteer and a good guest? Here are some suggests:
Be a learner: You will probably be seeing many new things, meeting many new people, and trying to understand cultural differences. You may be puzzled or offended by some things. An open mind and spirit will prepare you to receive the maximum benefit from your mission trip. Feel free to discuss anything and everything with your missionary hosts. They will be happy to interact with you.
Be flexible: You will need to adapt your skills and talents into a new and quite different situation. A willing spirit is all that you need. You will need to fit into the work of the mission and the needs of the moment. Don't expect everything to be planned in advance for you. The mission just doesn't operate that way. Come expecting to join the mission family for the time you are there and just 'fit in'. Also, local culture must be considered. For example, you may find that attitudes toward the issue of 'time' are quite different in Africa than in the U.S.A. Flexibility will smooth the way for effectiveness.
Be prepared: Make sure you can take care of your own unique needs. Such things as medicines and other special items may not be available. Give some thought to how to make sure you do not create an emergency situation. For example, don't put all your medicine in one bag that can be lost. Communications can be difficult or costly. Leave all your credit card information with a responsible person in the USA so if your wallet is stolen you can make one telephone call and get everything put on hold. The fewer 'special situation' problems the missionaries have to deal with will give them more time to maximize your trip experience.
Be realistic: Africa is not the USA. You will have a good measure of down time. Bring along that book you have been meaning to read. Be prepared to fill some hours of your time on your own. The missionaries will need to tend work that is unrelated to your trip. Be understanding of the fact that while this is a very special trip for you, it is just life for the missionaries.
Know what you can realistically expect: You will have a clean bed, good food, and a healthful environment. Your missionary hosts will work hard to make sure you are enjoying yourself. If an emergency arises, the full efforts of Joy in the Harvest will be at your disposal. Know that you will need to trust God for your entire self: mind, body, and spirit. Expect God to be at work in your life in a special way during this trip. Be prepared to have your heart broken with what you see and experience.
Realize you are more than a tourist: You are representing Christ the King. Come prepared to share with an African congregation a 3 to 5 minute testimony about what Christ means to you. We are glad you are coming! We will pray and work for this trip to be a wonderful experience in your life. May God bless you as you seek to learn, serve, and worship in Africa.