Things that might come in handy to pack for an LDS mission to Papua New Guinea
**THIS IS WHAT I HAVE PACKED & IS MY OPINION. DON'T CONSIDER ME AN EXPERT**
Over the past few months I have accumulated a few notes from talking with people who have been on a mission to PNG or a parent of someone who has a missionary in PNG. Because the cost of things in PNG are high, especially with no Wal-Mart around the corner-- or on the island, and the inventory for much needed/desired items is low, it becomes extremely difficult to find some of these items.
Something important to note, I have been told from many people that it is better to just send $$ ( like loading on a personal debit/credit card) instead of mailing items to them. Not only do you run the risk of it taking forecer together (or not arriving at all), the chances that someone will go though the package and take items (especially coming from the US) is extremely high, but the package itself can cost between $100-$200 US dollars (and up--depending obn the size and contents just to get it out of customs. If you still insist on sending items, cover the boxes with stickers of Jesus Christ and they are more likely to not go through the box and remove items. And if you are sending something like a new pair of shoes, send each shoe in a separate box so they wont steal it ( also will cost the Elder more since he needs to pay for 2 boxes through customs now) I have been told if you have family in AU, or NZ and they send items, they tend to have an easier time getting through customs and usually are not opened.
Here are a few items I am sending with my Elder that I KNOW he will be glad he has.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: I can’t stress enough the importance of labeling your Elders things (I labeled his socks, shirts, belts, shoes, pants, all his personal items, even down to his garments). I have been told that many of their items come up missing (or confused) with some of the other Elders.
Keep in mind that you can’t possibly send everything that your Elder will need with him for 2 years. I am sending the basics that he will need to get him going and keep for awhile. These items( if available in PNG will be expensive.
PERMETHRIN: Insect Repellent for your clothes and gear (bags, shoes, etc..) This stuff is great and last 6-8 weeks and through 6 washes befofe it needs to be reapplied to your clothing, etc… I got this at the Army Navy store (I couldn’t find it at Wal-Mart but I am sure you can order online from Amazon also). I am sending 2 of these with him, secured in double gallon size ziplock bags for travel. Once there he will put the sprayer inside the bottle.
NON-AEROSOL MOSQUITO REPELLANT: Make sure it is non-aerosol repellant or they won’t let it on the plane. I also bought him a few small ones to keep in his backpack. I am sending 2 of these in secure double ziplock bags.
MOSQUITO REPELLENT SLAP BRACELET: I got this from the ARMY NAVY Store. Easy Repellant that he can wear on him when he is out. The Elder does need to read the instructions on how to activate the slap bracelet.
STINGEZE MAX 2: For painful bites and stings. I got this at the ARMY NAVY STORE (there is one by our house in Taylorsville Utah). I am told that this stuff is excellent when applied to painful buts. I am sending a bunch of these with him.
CLOROX BLEACH PEN: The Lae mission they may be in the Highlands area and have to wash their clothing by hand. A small Clorox Bleach Pen can make a difference when their white shirt gets a yucky stain. (This is also why I am sending him with 11 shirts).
SOAP TO WASH HIS CLOTHES WITH IN THE BUSH: Your Elder may very possibly need to wash his clothes in the shower if he is sent to the highlands/bush area. In the city of Lae they actually have washers but he may not be in the actual city of Lae. Here is a clothing bar of soap I bought from Walmart.
AMERICAN MEDICINE: I went to COSTCO and stocked up on Tylenol (acetaminophen), Ibuprofen, Benadryl (allergy medicine excellent for bits or allergic reactions-- even sinus infections) and Mucinex DM (incase he gets a head cold- This kind of Mucinex is ok to take because you can get it over the counter without showing ID to the Pharmacist).
PERSONAL HYGIENE ITEMS: I went to COSTCO and stocked up on a few personal hygiene items.
MORE PERSONAL ITEMS: I got him a holder for his soap. Although many people are ok with sharing soap with others. I personally don’t like to share soap outside of my own family. I don’t want to wash my face with something that someone might have put their butt next to. I am also sending him with some chapstick. Even though it is humid in PNG, his lips might become sunburned and chapped.
MORE PERSONAL ITEMS: I stocked up on the deodorant, toothbrushes, and also sending some vaseline (double ziplock bag for that).
SMALL FIRST AID KIT TO KEEP IN HIS MISSIONARY BAG: I made this small first aid kit to keep in his missionary bag so he has it on him at all times when not home. It has Neosporin, bandaids, and alcohol wipes.
CLIPPERS FOR HIS HAIR: I was told by the past Mission Presidents wife (they were just released July 1, 2016) Sister Peteru, to bring a set of clippers to cut hair with. She stressed the importance of labeling it also (as with everything else) so that it doesn’t just walk off.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: I am sending my Elder with a battery operated (also plugs in) Electric Razor for shaving. I ordered a PHILIPS NORELCO ELECTRIC SHAVER 2100, S1560/81
from Philips Norelco on Amazon (hasn’t got here yet) so that he doesn’t have to keep buying cheap disposable
A PORTABLE CD PLAYER AND EXTRA DOUBLE AA BATTERIES. I know they can listen to CHURCH MUSIC ONLY so we bought him a portable cd player (Target) to take (with his name labelled on it). I am also sending him with a bunch of double AA batteries because of few of his items require them and I KNOW they are expensive to get in PNG.
TRAVEL OUTLET CONVERTER FOR ELECTRICITY: We bought this outlet converter for electricity (I am assuming they are Australia/NZ plugs like Samoa is) at Mr. Mac’s. I am sure you can find it other places or on AMAZON.
****IMPORTANT TO NOTE****
THE ELDERS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DRINK ANY OF THE WATER IN PNG THAT IS NOT BOTTLED WATER OR WATER THAT THE MISSION BRINGS IN FOR THEM. DO NOT ACCEPT WATER FROM MEMBERS AND ONLY BUY WATER FROM LEGITIMATE STORES (NOT FOOD STANDS) THAT STILL HAVE THE SEAL ON THE CAP. THIS ALSO INCLUDES ICE AND ANY OTHER DRINKS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN MADE BY LOCAL WATER.
With that being said, I bought this for my Elder from Field Supply online (also found in the Army Navy Store, and Amazon)
THE SAWYER STRAW. This straw filters 100,000 gallons of water. I encourage him to take it EVERYWHERE with him. It filters 99% of bacteria but you it DOESN’T FILTER VIRUS’s.
BANDAIDS FROM COSTCO: I stocked him up on various sizes of bandaids from Costco and put them in separate plastic bags for sizes and the in one gallon size plastic bag.
UMBRELLA AND LIGHT RAIN JACKET: We bought the umbrella (labelled) from Ross and the light rain jacket (labelled) from Walmart in the camping section.
MOLESKIN FOR BLISTERS: I got this moleskin at the ARMY NAVY store. Excellent for blisters and the Elders WILL BE DOING A LOT OF WALKING IN PNG.
MICROFIBER TRAVEL BLANKET: I bought this microfiber blanket for my Elder at Deseret Book. It is excellent for PNG and should keep him warm enough and travels well. (THEY CAN BUY A PILLOW WHEN THEY GET TO PNG) ALso, the MTC provides sheets, pillows, and blankets.
MICROFIBER TRAVEL TOWEL: I got this microfiber towel at DESERET BOOK. It is excellent for travel and dries extremely well without holding the moisture.
Our Elders may wish to look their best on their mission (as they should) but they need not have the BEST of everything. They are going to be amongst some VERY POOR investigators/members and other Elders from the PNG and the Pacific Islands. They will not only have all of their things coveted by these people, they will feel EXTREMELY uncomfortable when they are looking so “FLY” among everyone else. This maybe hard for them to understand as they are preparing for their mission (especially because they will be in the MTC for 2 weeks and possibly sent elsewhere in the States until their VISA comes through (a very good chance of that)) but they need to think in mind of how the people they will be surrounded with will feel if they are looking so good with name brand things, etc.. JUST A WORD OF ADVICE!!
WHITE SHIRTS: We bought about 7 of our ELDERS shirts from the LDS Distribution Center. We bought the Distribution Centers brand LONG SLEEVE because even though it is hot in PNG the long sleeve will protect him better from the mosquitos that are EVERYWHERE. THe Distribution Center brand is a lightweight brand. We also bought him 3 Costco brand short sleeve shirts that non-iron.
PANTS: Suits are NOT required in PNG missions so we bought him pants from COSTCO, the Kirkland Brand. They are non-iron pants and were about $16-$19 each.
MAKE SURE HE HAS A CHEAP WATCH (we got one from ROSS for $7)
PLENTY OF LDS GARMENTS. My husband informed me that my son may have to give some of his LDS garments to some of the Elders from PNG because they may not have enough. For this reason we are packing way more garments than necessary. (It is important to note that I recently had a dream where a voice kept telling me that I needed to bring extra garments for him on his mission for the other Elders. This makes sense with what my husband said).
OBVIOUSLY THIS IS ALL MY OPINION. Please feel free to leave a comment, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Facebook Erin Apelu if you have any other questions.