By Jennifer L Griffith
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God … James 1:5
In last week’s article, A Prelude to Mission Preparations, you can read why my preparations for a mission trip to Swaziland and southern Africa may look different than yours. I will travel overseas with a “thorn in my side” – Multiple Chemical Sensitivities [MCS]. This is defined as an adverse reaction to ambient doses of toxic chemicals in our air, food, and water at levels which are generally accepted as subtoxic. To elaborate, everything we eat, touch, and even smell has to be processed by the liver. In normal phase 1 metabolism, the by-product becomes concentrated, thus more toxic. Enzymes then break it down and dilute it in Phase 2, creating a less toxic solution. In people with MCS, an error occurs between phase 1 and phase 2. This leaves a harmful, metabolic by-product that overloads the body, making one sick. So what’s my bottom line? I have to limit the burden on my body.
There are exposures to environmental pollutants that are beyond my control. But there’s much I can do. By eating mostly organic foods, I minimize the pesticides and artificial additives that my liver must process. By using fragrance-free hygiene products, and especially laundry detergents, I significantly reduce the toxic load on my liver. Organic essential oils are the best alternative to fragrances, and each offer healthy benefits instead of detriments.
Thriving requires a daily awareness on my part. I walk a fine line, but it’s been proven possible. And with organizations like the American Christian Fiction Writers who make their conferences “fragrance -free,” awareness of others is a key factor. As you can imagine, traveling beyond these borders requires lots of forethought. Confined spaces like an airplane or a bus are a challenge. Add in a third world destination for 10 weeks, and this brings in recommendations of vaccines, and the possibly of other medications.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight. Proverbs 3:5
I’ve solicited input from those who’ve gone on mission trips, and several who’ve gone to Swaziland. I’ve taken each concern before the Lord, sought the advice of my physician, and I’ve found alternatives to fit my physical needs. Each person considering foreign travel should consult a physician who can assess their own health before going abroad.
Through prayer and research, this is how I will address the most suggested health essentials:
- Immunization – Each country will have its own recommendations and requirements. My physician, who has prepared countless missionaries, put me on a broad-spectrum homeopathic called Travel Immunization by Professional Complimentary Health Formulas. This combination protects against Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Cholera, Hepatitis A, B and C, Polio, Japanese Encephalitis, and Malaria.
- Insect repellant – Garlic and essential oils. Starting six weeks from my departure, and throughout my time in southern Africa, I will take Standard Processes’ Garlic supplement, 1 – 3x’s a day. This is the equivalent of eating three garlic cloves, without the stinky breath. Garlic is also anti-bacterial, viral and fungal. I will also bring essential oils known to repel mosquitoes like peppermint, thyme, basil or lemongrass.
- Traveler’s insurance – This should not optional for anyone traveling on a mission trip abroad. The plan has proven to be worth far more than the minimal annual premium.
- Hand wipes – Blum Naturals Towelettes offers wipes with organic tea tree essential oil – a natural, full-spectrum anti-septic.
- Essential oils – Personally, I will pack Tea Tree, Oregano, Rosemary, Peppermint, and Grapefruit. This selection offers an array of options to combat parasites, digestive issues, bacteria, viruses, fungi, bites, oral health, overall well-being.
- Hygiene products– Bronner’s castile liquid soap can be used for toothpaste, washing hands, showers, shampoo, etc. Coconut oil is good to moisturize,and I like to add in essential oils when applying for a safe fragrance.
- Foundational Supplements – Probiotics, Lypospheric Vitamin C, Fermented Cod Liver and Butter Oil, and Black Seed Oil
However, the most important step to my mission preparations is to fast and pray before I go, and also along the way. This enables me to seek God’s will and wisdom with more clarity. To listen more than request. To depend on Him, more than myself or the world. This prepares my heart to give and receive all that God desires for me, and for the lives of others in Swaziland. My true “safe zone” is found where He calls.
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 2 Thes 3:3
And that’s my solid bottom line.
If you’d like to keep up with Jennifer’s journey to Swaziland, know her prayer concerns, and/or support financially, go here. Be blessed, and just GO!