The 2 Suitcase Rule and the Backpack Goal

suitcasesCurt and I have a rule for Summit Church members going on a short term trip to visit an overseas church planter.

Ya gotta take 2 suitcases.

No whining about baggage rules and weight limits now. Most airlines will still allow 2 bags per overseas ticket up to 50 pounds. Without mentioning any names,  American Airlines, if you do incur a small baggage fee on your domestic flight, consider it your opportunity to practice Biblical generosity and simply pay it without complaining.

Why the two bag rule?… Don’t pilgrims travel light? Go minimalist? They certainly do, because just one of those bags is for you and your stuff, because the other is for the team you are going to work alongside. And that one needs to be filled right to that 50 pound weight limit too because its going to be chock full of stuff the team wants from the States. Not junk that you found when you cleaned out your pantry that you don’t want but you’re sure the people serving overseas would “because they should be grateful for anything,” but rather the entirety of their wish list, because you’re that thoughtful and awesome.

In the months leading up to your going, you will have emailed the team on the ground and asked, “What can we bring you from the States?” That question will have been posed to everyone on the team. And then your job will have been to pass along their wish lists to your small group, their small group, or anyone else you can involve in “blessing the missionaries” in a very western way — by doing what we do best in America — accumulating stuff!! Another way you can bless them is to provide your home address for them to pass on to their parents who may want to send a package to your home to be brought across the ocean.

I will never forget the first team that came to visit us in Southeast Asia. We had been on the ground for 6 months, living in a place where there was no mall, no Starbucks, no Target, no western anything really. (How DID we survive? After a while it was really rather easy. We just made do and learned to like what was available).

That first team had 6 people on it and all 6 brought 2 suitcases. Yes, they brought us SIX SUITCASES worth of cereal, pancake syrup, tennis shoes, Old Navy pants, cooking spray, brown sugar, chocolate chips, shampoo that wasn’t Pantene or Dove, toothpaste that didn’t have formaldehyde in it, ibuprofen, and other first world comforts that we couldn’t find in our city. I have never oohed and aahed so much as I did that day over things that we all take for granted because they are so readily available. It truly made our hearts sing to have western comforts brought all the way to the other side of the world for us. Even more so, it was so encouraging to us to hear about all the different people back home who had spent time gathering alllllllllll of those things for us. It felt like one big hug from our church back home. We felt very loved. So Curt and I want all of the Summit people serving overseas to feel that same kind of materialistic western American love, cuz it feels great when you are very far away from your familiar.

And for those of you who are realllllllly hard core, and want to take being like Jesus to a whole ‘nother level, you can take 2 suitcases and a backpack on your next short term trip. That backpack is what will hold your stuff, leaving you with two suitcases to bring stuff to the team.. Some people are just cool like that. I haven’t quite pulled that one off yet, but next time I go, I am going to try.


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