25 Tips, Tricks and Essential items for the NET Missionary

Have you ever wondered what the practicalities of a NET missionary’s lifestyle entail? As NET Canada is celebrating 25 years of bringing youth to Christ, let's take a look at 25 essentials that make a NET missionary’s life a lot easier (especially for those considering becoming a missionary, or those curious of what the missionary lifestyle looks like)...

1. Prayer 
Prayer shouldn’t just be something that you start doing when you get to NET training, it needs to start before.  Prayer can be and is a beautiful way to prepare yourself for the upcoming year and to ask for the graces to help you along the way.  An easy way to start making a habit of praying every day is to do it as soon as you wake up, whether it means waking up a little bit earlier or going to bed earlier, it makes all the difference to start your day with a prayer. 

2. Less Is More
When packing for your year whether you’re coming from overseas or from the other side of the country remember less is more.  Pack your bag so it is lighter than the weight limit if possible. You will find as the year progresses you will start to accumulate more items and your bag will get heavier, and trust me from experience you do not want to pay an overweight baggage fee on a missionary’s salary (in this case, no salary)!

3. Shoes!
When choosing which shoes to bring try and bring ones that will go with all your clothes.  It sounds boring but it makes packing your clothes easier because you won’t have to worry about your shoes not going with your outfits.  Only bring a maximum of 5 pairs, trust me from experience I brought 9 and it’s crazy trying to pack my suitcase!

4. If you're considering applying, don’t hesitate.
Applying doesn’t mean you’re committed! If you’re even just considering NET as an option, fill out an application.  The process of filling one out could tell you whether or not NET is something you want or are being called to do. If you are hesitant about this that is completely ok, give the NET Office a call and anyone will be happy to answer any questions that you have about the ministry!

5. Journal! 
Journaling is one of the best things you can do on the road, it gives you a record of the things that have happened, it’s also a great way to pray!  Using your journal as a tool to pray is super helpful, you’re able to write down things that come to you in prayer so you can look back on them at a later date and see how you have grown as a person and in your relationship with the Lord.

6. Dry Shampoo
Girls, bring dry shampoo!  It will save you from quick greasy hair situations. However don’t give up on having showers they are super necessary and should happen regularly :)    

7. If your host home has a gym, use it
While on the road, there are not many opportunities to work out,  or there may be and you’re already exhausted from your busy day. If your host home offers you their gym/gym equipment, use it! Working out can help you keep your body strong and your mind sharp! Exercise also gives you endorphins which help put you in a good mood and make you happy.

8. Go to bed at a reasonable time! 
As a Missionary you have long days and if you’re doing it right you should be tired by the end of the day.  You do not have to stay up late, going to bed earlier rather than later will benefit you in many ways and will ensure that you are ready for the next day.   

9. Peppermint Oil
This may sound odd but peppermint oil is refreshing and helpful in getting rid of headaches. It’s a more natural approach than using traditional painkillers.

10. Travel Mug!
A travel mug may seem like a trivial item but when you’re waking up at 6:00am on a regular basis and can’t bring your daily cup of coffee or tea with you, you’ll wish you had one.

11. Servant’s Heart
When you come on NET ready yourself to be treated absolutely amazing and served in ways you’ve never been served before.  Also, prepare your heart to be a servant, the gift of service is a beautiful one that can be given freely without cost and is returned in unexpected ways.  Never be afraid to serve the people around whether it be in little ways or big. 

12. Small bag or purse
This will come in handy many times throughout your year when you only want to bring a few items with you and not have to lug around your backpack.

13. Packing Cubes 
When packing your bag, invest in a couple of packing cubes.  These have a double purpose, they save space and help keep your suitcase organized and tidy for when in host homes. 

14. Toiletries
Only bring one bag that can fit all of your essential toiletries. Remember, less is more. 

15. Try to pack without using the expansion on your suitcase
Try as hard as you can to pack your suitcase without using the expansion, as your year goes on you’ll accumulate more items and will eventually need to use the extension.

16. Daily Mass Readings 
Having the daily readings is a great way to pray with Scripture. An app that you can use is Living with Christ (Canada). It can be found on the App Store or on The Google Play Store.

17. Spotify (or Apple Music)!
You’re going to want to have music during your time on the road.  It’s a great way to just chill and relax and gives you a little escape when you need you time.  Also have a good Praise and Worship playlist downloaded. It will come in handy:)

18. Wrist watch!
Watches are a very important thing to have on your mission year especially on retreats.  As NET missionaries we try to not use our phones during retreats even just to check the time. Staying off of our phones is a big witness to the youth, especially in today’s culture.

19. Rosary
The Rosary is a beautiful way to place your future team and partnership in Mary’s hands. This gives us the opportunity to be vulnerable and show Mary and Jesus how much we trust and love them. 

20. Not every piece of clothing has to be versatile
On NET there’s this really cool thing called “purge”.  What this means is that if you have summertime clothes that you don’t want to wear at training but don’t want to bring around the country with you, you can store them at the NET office.  However this doesn’t mean pack a ton more clothes than you need, space is limited!

21. Headphones 
Headphones will be very handy for you on the year, it’s pretty self-explanatory :)

22. A Strong Backpack
Having a strong backpack is essential, you will find that you accumulate a lot of books and other items. They have to go somewhere, but they get can really heavy so quality is key. 

23. A Letter Writing Pack
Writing letters can be a really great way to keep in touch with family and friends, even though we could just message them, there’s nothing like receiving a letter and having it forever.  A letter is more personal and can make your family or friends feel really special.

24. Slippers  
This is not an “essential” item but they are very handy and comfortable when a host home is very cold and you don’t want to wear socks or when you’re on a weekend retreat and you don’t want to wear real shoes.

25. A smile! 
A smile can be and is one of your biggest assets in this ministry. When a student sees you smiling it shows that you are approachable.  Being aware of your facial expressions is super key to helping the youth have as good of an experience as possible. It doesn’t matter if you’re tired or just in a bad mood, the youth come first and foremost.

I hope you found this helpful as you prepare for your NET year, or at least a fun look insight into the life of a NET Canada missionary! Please keep the NET missionaries and all of the young people we encounter in your prayers! 

Sarah Irving, Team 3