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Contingency planning on a short-term trip

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I received an email yesterday asking about contingency planning. In this world of terrorist activity, bird flu worries, and political instability, a good contingency plan can be essential for those going on overseas short-term mission trips. Contingency plans are often a function …
By Seth Barnes

I received an email yesterday asking about contingency planning.

In this
world of terrorist activity, bird flu worries, and political instability, a
good contingency plan can be essential for those going on overseas short-term
mission trips.

Contingency
plans are often a function of scale – that is, the size of the organization
planning the trip. A smaller agency or a
single church is often going to need to partner w/ a bigger organization that
has a basket of alternatives and connections to draw upon (AIM took 8000 or so people on trips this year and we’ve got contingency plans for all of them). For example, if you go to Haiti, you better have a back-up project ready to go in neighboring Dominican Republic.  Haiti seems to have a political mess every other year.

There is no one-size-fits-all plan. Most contingency plans have to be tailored to
the trip in question to take into account the unique circumstances. Last week we made the call not to go into Israel with one of our teams and re-directed the
team to Croatia. We were able to do that because of the
connections we had there.

The most
important factor in implementing a contingency plan is the presence of
empowered leaders who know how to pray thru a complicated situation and make tough
decisions in a wise and timely way. If
you’re responsible for a team that needs a contingency plan, this is the first
thing to assess.

If you need specific help, feel free to email me and I can give you some quick, specific advice.

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