I went on my first mission trip a few weeks ago. It still feels like it was yesterday, what with all the fun times we as a group shared and with the great time we had fellowshipping with the congregations we visited.

I also had no idea that I would be going to a place so dear to my heart to spread His Word – the United Kingdom. I’ve felt a desire to serve the congregations in that area since high school, I can gladly and confidently say that God has been faithful to fulfill those desires of my heart.

If you are planning on going on your first mission trip, I want to share a few little tips I learned to keep in mind before you go to a new place, whether that’s to another country or into a new area of your own community. Even if this is your second, third, or tenth trip, I hope you can take some of these tips with you on your next missionary journey.

Before you go, be praying for God to open your heart to wisdom and discernment that comes from Him.

If you’re afraid that you don’t know how to evangelize, pray. If you’re nervous to go door-knocking for the first time, pray. He will provide help and reassurance, as well as give you the guidance in order to take the initiative to spread the Gospel. In short, He will help us in our weaknesses, and he will help us in ways we never even knew we needed (Romans 8:26). He can provide guidance through His Word and also through the people you’re ministering with and also the people you will minister to. Something as simple as singing with a group of Christians from the church you visit can teach you more than you can imagine, so pray and allow the Lord to use the little, simple things to help you grow in your faith and lead you Heavenward. Have the attitude of Isaiah: “Here am I! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8b).

Make a point to participate in fellowship with the Christians you meet in your mission field, even before you leave.

This includes adding them as friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media. In this way, you gain modern-day pen pals that you can not only keep in touch with, but also partner with in accountability to each other when it comes to your faith. It’s amazing to me how much I have in common with the twenty-something-year-old Christians I met on my first mission trip, and it’s even more amazing that I will be able to continue that fellowship into eternity as well as in this life on earth. This is all because we all have fellowship with Jesus Himself (1 John 1:3, 7).

Get to know and be unified with the people you’re working with on the mission field.

This was one thing that my congregation specifically wanted to do along with fellowship, encouragement, and evangelism within the churches and communities we were visiting. The people you work with – whether they’re from your home congregation, your family, old friends, new friends, or the like – have the same goal that you do when you embark on your missionary journey. Take comfort in and delight in this. The fellowship you have with your fellow Christians in this work will encourage you to keep pressing forward and to keep spreading the gospel boldly, as Paul did shortly after his conversion with Barnabas by his side (Acts 9:27-28).

Go outside your comfort zone, even among your fellow missionaries.

Up until recently, I had never been door-knocking before. I was so thankful that I had teammates who walked me through it – and helped me feel safe while doing so – and it wound up being a lot of fun. I also led a ladies’ devotional for the other ladies in my mission group. Again, this is not something I do a lot, but it was so much fun, and it brought me even closer to my sisters in Christ. The point is to not let fear get in the way of fulfilling your calling to preach the Gospel to everyone. In fact, perfect love – the love Christ gives us and imbues us with – casts our fears away (1 John 4:18). Allow the assurance that He loves you and is looking out for you to help you when you reach beyond your comfort zone to serve. Granted, safety is important in any situation, but when you’re among the company of fellow Christians, you can also allow them to surround you and help you in evangelism, and do the same for them.

At the end of the day, your goal as a missionary is to spread His Word to all nations (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15), and because God wants us to do this, He will be faithful to help us in that endeavor; we need only ask. I could write other various lists of tips, but that won’t hold a candle to His wisdom, understanding, and love that He can impart to us regarding these matters of mission work. All we need to do is follow His calling in faith, and He will show us the way we should go.

By Savannah Cottrell