Future missionaries, when your friends and family ask what you hope to find under the tree, consider giving them a few ideas that can help move you down the path toward becoming a global worker. (P.S. This list can also help you if you’re trying to buy the perfect gift for a future missionary—but you don’t want to burden them with stuff that they’ll have to manage when they move overseas.)

1. A nice suitcase. Better yet, one carryon and one bigger bag, so that you can take full advantage of airline luggage policies. A cheap bag makes travel irritating and can mean your stuff arrives damaged. A good bag will not only make getting through the airport easier, it will better protect whatever’s inside. (Example: My dad once rolled over my stuffed-to-the-brim, brand-new suitcase with his car, and everything inside survived. The suitcase, sad to say, did not.)

2. A luggage scale. With this handy device, you can pack your nice, new luggage to the absolute maximum weight allowance, without having to choose between paying big bucks for going over the limit or tossing your precious maple syrup or tortillas in the airport trash.

3. This multilingual scarfSo that you can say hello before you know how to say hello.


4. A passport. If you don’t have one yet, a US passport costs $145. You do have to apply in person, so consider a passport holder (lots of lovely options here) with some cold, hard cash tucked inside. Pro tip: Opt for the 52-page booklet. That dinky 28-page passport just can’t handle missionary life.

5. A subscription to the Dwell Bible appWhen your mind and eyes are exhausted from language study, this will let you soak in the Scripture without having to actually read. (Only available for iPhone right now, but Android is coming.)

6. Coffee shop gift cards. So that you can pick up the bill when you invite potential supporters to chat about the passion God’s given you to share Christ’s love with the lost.

7. A reusable shopping bag. Because in many places in the world, you bring your own bag. These are tough, wash well, smoosh up to fit in a purse or a pocket, and come in a rainbow of lovely colors (or just black, if that’s your bag).

8. An e-reader. English-language books will likely be hard to find/very expensive in your new home. With an e-reader, you might be able to check out books from your U.S. library no matter where you are in the world.

9. A travel pillow. Because you might not buy it for yourself, but you’ll be glad you have it when you drift away to sweet, sweet slumberland as you jet off to your new home.

Banner photo by Kira auf der Heide.

Passport photo by Jordan Madrid