We are having a short-term missions team join us this week. We have been keeping in communication with the team over Facebook as they have been preparing to come. This has helped us answer any questions they had and also allowed us to offer some tips and advice from our own experience.
Therefore, this is a short series on some very practical tips, helps, and suggestions that we offered to the group. I think they will be a help to anyone taking a short-term missions trip to China.
#1 – Learn to use Chopsticks! Seriously, they don’t use forks. Chopsticks are the utensil of choice.
#2 – If you are not used to being called fat, being stared at, or having people wanting to take pictures with you, then get used to it! (Note: Even if you don’t think your fat, no worries, they probably do.)
#3 – Time Change is hard. You will probably have a 12 or 13 hour time change (depends where you are coming from)! On the plane I wouldn’t try to force yourself to sleep at certain times, I found it easier just to fall asleep whenever I was tired and then wake up whenever, dosing in and out of sleep.
#4 – Stay up the first full day here. You will be worn out and want to sleep, but try to stay up the first day you are in China and it will help you adjust for the rest of the week.
#5 – You will get meals on the plane, but it is also a good idea to bring snacks. (Plane Food = Not always the best.)
#6 – I hope you like Chinese food, because we will eat a lot of it! The only American restaurants we have in our city are McDonalds, KFC, and Pizza Hut.
#7 – Practice you squatting skills! Most of the public bathrooms here are porcelain holes in the ground.
#8 – Make sure to always have toilet paper on you. Most bathrooms don’t have toilet paper in them.
#9 – Culture shock that you might experience from a short-trip: time change, huge city, poverty, dirtiness, the only white people are in our group, the amount of people, eating different foods, or not being able to speak to the majority of the people.
#10 – Take an extra pair of clothes with you in your carry on. My first time coming to China they lost my luggage and never found it
#11 – We ask groups to dress modestly (at your discretion under the guidance of the Holy Spirit) to be an example to the church here.
#12 – Sunday’s service guys in leadership usually were a shirt, tie, or suite. This isn’t a requirement, just letting you know what we usually do. Wednesday is pretty casual.
#13 – During the week, feel free to dress casual. Our city is dirty and we will be doing a lot of travel.
#14 – Bring / wear comfortable walking shoes. Door-2-door here means climbing several flights of stairs.
#15 – Wear comfortable clothes when traveling, you will be in them for a long time. Also, at the airports you will be going through several metal detectors etc. so don’t wear to much bling.
#16 – Yes, it is okay to wear shirts with “Christian logos” (cross, church, verses, etc.).