Have you ever looked at pictures of a vacation or holiday and come across a picture of someone or something you'd forgotten? That experience shows the need to keep a trip journal. A trip journal is a record of your experiences written while you are on your trip.
Every day you will have new experiences, meet new people, learn new lessons. You may think that these experiences are so different or amazing that you will not forget them. But the very intensity of mission trips tend to make these experiences blur and fade quickly when you return. It would be a shame if they were forgotten when you got back home.
Every day, too, you will see the faithfulness of God as He works through you and your team and as He answers prayer. Writing these things down will help you "Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels..." (Ps 105:5) and you won't be like the rebellious Israelites who "did not remember His power" (Ps 78:42).
In years to come you will be blessed all over again as you read your personal record of your mission trip.
Your trip journal is more than a remembrance, as important as that is. Your trip journal is also a resource. First, it is a resource for your report to the church and your supporters when you return. As you write each day, make a note of the things you should tell your supporters and church about. The trip journal format we publish makes this easy and even provides a planning page for your report back to your church.
Second, your trip journal is a resource for your new vision of Christ's purpose for your life. Inevitably, you will see your life, work, and ministry back home in a new light, and want to make some changes. Your trip journal is the place to record those impulses for change so that they aren't forgotten.
Third, your trip journal is a resource for your later leadership. If the Lord calls on you to make (or perhaps lead) a mission trip in the future, your trip journal will be an invaluable help for preparing yourself and others. I refer back to my trip journals in preparation for each new mission trip.
MissionTripTools.com has an excellent trip journal which provides a place for your daily record, and other helps for keeping up with how you have acknowledged your supporters, tracking purchases for Customs, words you've learned, and things to do at home.
Our journal is customized with your trip leader's name and the destination (and trip dates if you know them). It is provided as a PDF file (readable and printable by Adobe Acrobat Reader). Since you print them yourself, you can make them as plain or as fancy as you wish by your selection of notebooks/binders, paper type, etc.