Security Issues

General Comments | Crime | Basic Tips | Airline Security
Travel Folder | Lost Wallet/Purse | Uganda Mission Home

General Comments
The effect of sin on the world in which we live is undeniable. People lie, cheat, steal, and kill, and without Christ they will continue to do so without remorse. Our mission is to take the message of Christ to such people. But we should not assume that since we are doing God's work, we are in a safety cocoon. Paul suffered greatly while taking the message of salvation to the lost and counted it all joy to do so. (Romans 5:1-6) We should not fancy ourselves to be exempt.

People constantly respond to my going to Uganda with startled looks and questions of danger. I usually remind them that the same year tourists were murdered by Rwandan rebels at Bwindi Park in Uganda, tourists were also murdered in Yellowstone Park in the US. I am then told "That's different." However, I doubt the victims would make such a distinction.

We must go with the assurance that we belong to Christ and He will not suffer us to be moved until He is ready. We are His servants, to be used at His good pleasure, to the praise of His glorious grace. For us "to live is Christ, to die is gain -- that gain is more of Christ." (Philippians 1:21) We must begin our security in the power of our sovereign God and build around us a wall of prayer from relatives and friends as we travel.

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Crime is a reality everywhere. There are certainly things you can do that make yourself a more opportune target for crime and there are things you can do the make yourself less vulnerable. This is true everywhere, including Uganda. The standard list of things to avoid include:

Basic Tips

  • Don't flash a lot of cash in public
  • Don't wear a lot of expensive jewelry
  • Don't lean out of a car window with an expensive camera in a crowded area where someone could snatch the camera and be gone before you knew what was happening
  • Don't travel by yourself in strange places
  • Don't eat or drink anything a stranger offers you unless it is safety sealed
  • Don't leave valuables in the open where just anyone can see them
  • "Don't keep all your eggs in one basket." This simple axiom applies to most areas of life. Valuables should be disbursed in a billfold/purse, a fanny pack, a hidden pouch and/or a money belt. In this way, if one item is lost or stolen, all is not gone
  • Don't keep valuables in your wallet/purse that are seldom needed (i.e. Social Security Card, credit cards to businesses you only shop at once or twice a year, etc)
  • When traveling overseas, carry only those items that you know you potentially need and will use (e.g. leave your local health club pass card at home, they probably don't have a branch in Uganda)
  • Consider a credit card from a company that digitally inserts your photograph and signature on the card as an added measure of security
  • Make a list of the serial numbers of your large cash bills. If they are stolen and if the authorities should catch the thief (a very big if even in the US), your having a list of the serial numbers would surely reduce the "your word against his" argument

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Home Travel Folder
Before leaving for Uganda, I create a Home Travel Folder containing photocopies of important information which I leave with family members. Additionally, I scan digital copies of most of these documents as well and save them into a folder on the desktop of my computer. In this way, a family member back home can either fax or cut-n-paste to email information for me anywhere I need it.

Items to place in Home Travel Folder:

  • Contact Numbers (as supplied by ACTI team leader)
  • Photocopy of Passport main page
  • Photocopy of Passport page with Uganda entrance Visa
  • Photocopy of Drivers license
  • Photocopy of Health Insurance Card(s) - both sides
  • Documentation about special medical conditions
  • Photocopy of airline tickets
  • Credit Card number and the number to call for lost, stolen, or fraudulent card use, this will be an 800 number your family can call within the USA and there should also be a regular number including area code which you should take with you as most credit card companies will accept collect calls from overseas
  • List of serial numbers of large bills ($20s, $50s, $100s) and for travelers checks

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Lost Wallet/Purse
Lost or stolen identification and financial documents can create a nightmare for you in only a few hours. However, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the harm done. This information is useful when traveling overseas or just in your home town.

Listed below is helpful advice and information in no special order.

  • If you discover your wallet/purse or even one credit card missing, file a police report immediately in that jurisdiction and do your best to get a photo copy of the police report or at a minimum, the phone and fax number of the police office and the date, time, report number, and name of the individual taking your report.
  • In the USA contact the three national credit reporting organizations immediately and place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. Since almost every company that extends credit to consumers will checks with at least one of these agencies, any attempt to even access your file in their data bank will raise a red flag.

    Equifax Fraud Assistance
    PO Box 740256
    Atlanta, GA 30374
    800-525-6285 ~ fraud
    800-685-1111 ~ credit report
    770-375-2821 ~ fax
    Experian (TRW) Fraud Assistance
    PO Box 1017
    Allen, TX 75013
    888 397 3742 ~ fraud
    888 397 3742 ~ credit report
    972-390-3974 ~ fax
    Trans Union Fraud Assistance
    PO Box 6790
    Fullerton, CA 92834
    800-680-7289 ~ fraud
    800-888-4213 ~ credit report
    714-447-6034 ~ fax

  • The US Social Security Administration fraud line 800-269-0271
  • Make a list of information in your wallet/purse including account numbers and phone numbers to call and report lost/stolen items. Most people realize only after a credit card is missing that without the card in hand, not only do they not know what phone number to call to make a report, they do not know their card number either.

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