My Account

Between Two Worlds, Part 2

…. continued from an earlier post.

Q: How in the world do you condense your life down to a dozen or so packing bins? Can you describe your process?

Mission Aviation Fellowship Missionary packing for overseas assignmentAs we walk through Target or IKEA, I find myself unconsciously picking things up and feeling the weight of them. Does it feel heavy? Then we probably can’t bring it—it’ll take up too much of our 1000-pound limit. There is a “sweet spot” of items that get selected: Lightweight? Durable? Does it fit into a suitcase? Does it have sentimental value or something special about it? Is it cheaper to get it here than there? If it meets those criteria, then it makes the cut and gets added to our growing pile of “things to take overseas.” Otherwise, it gets sorted into the piles for “things to leave in storage with family,” “donate,” or “trash.” Or we choose not to buy it in the first place!

For our particular location of service, we have the option of taking a lot of checked baggage (and paying excess baggage fees), or sending an air shipment of plastic “action packer” tubs. At other MAF mission locations, families can send a shipment by sea in a wooden crate. Those shipments are regulated by size, not weight, so those families fill every nook and cranny of their crates!

As far as items that are considered a necessity, we’re packing water filters and water bottles, carbon monoxide detectors (we’ll use wood-burning stoves during winter), long underwear, and basic medicines like ibuprofen, cold medicine, and stomach medicine (for the likely upset stomachs we’ll get as we adjust to a new cuisine).

Of course, we’re taking the basics too—toothbrushes, deodorant, and a wardrobe for all of us, including bigger sizes for our daughter. We use cloth diapers on her so, of course, we’ll take those along. We’ll also bring our favorite kitchen essentials, like a durable can opener, a set of newly-sharpened kitchen knives, and a mesh strainer.

“Luxury” items include toys and children’s books for our daughter (a Kindle e-reader for the grown-ups), craft supplies, birthday candles, a miniature Christmas tree, and a few mementos and knick-knacks to make our house feel like “home.”

There are times when shopping and packing can get pretty draining. But other times it’s kind of fun. There’s a feeling of victory that comes when you see a huge pile of stuff on the floor, and somehow it miraculously fits into one plastic tub!

Our hope is to have a simple, pleasant home. It will feel good to be done with packing and finally arrive at our destination in a few months … and start unpacking! We’re ready to get settled.


This family are MAF pre-fielders, which means they’ve applied to and been accepted to serve with MAF and are in the process of building their ministry partnership team of financial and prayer supporters. [Names are purposefully left out for security reasons.]

Click here to learn more about the process of serving domestically or internationally with MAF.


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