Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to our most commonly asked questions, please ask if you do not find answers to your questions:
Do's and Don'ts
Do pray for Godís leading on whether you should go.
Do be flexible.
Donít expect the comforts of home.
Do be prepared for conditions to be primitive.
Donít expect clean or nice smelling bathrooms.
Do pray for this trip, the team, and the people we will be going to serve.
Do prepare your heart to be open to Godís teaching.
Do ask friends and family to pray for you and the team.
Donít be afraid to share your ideas: before, during and after the trip.
Donít worry about the money.
Do begin to work out by either walking or at the gym.
Do plan to help with fundraising and pill packing, etc. prior to the trip.
Donít hesitate to ask questions.
Do know that you will not return the same.
I cannot afford the cost. What do I do?
First of all, we highly encourage all our missionaries to write to friends, relatives, church members and business associates and let them know that you will be going on a mission trip. (We have sample letters for you to use.) For many of your friends, the idea of going on a mission trip is way out of their comfort zones, but they will gladly support someone like you financially! This is not a time to be timid or shy. Even if you can afford the trip, it is still a good idea to write anyway. First, you should ask for PRAYERS. The money will be there. However, it is through prayers that we remain safe and our trip successful. And if you fall Ďshortí just let us know and we can see if there may be others who received more than enough in donations to help defray your cost. In short Ė ďDonít
worry about the money!Ē
What documents and vaccinations are needed?
You will need a valid US Passport, which needs to be valid for at least six months AFTER the trip. So if you were to go in April, your passport needs to be good until October. With regard to vaccinations, we follow the listing of shots recommended by the Center for Disease Controls guidelines. You might want a tetanus booster; Hep A and B are needed; and you will be given a prescription for malaria prevention. We will remind you of these again prior to your trip.
You can check the CDC recommendation - HERE
Do I need to be bilingual to participate?
No hablo espanol? No problemo! We will have local translators that are fluent in English. It is very helpful if you know some common words such as hello, goodbye, thank you, where is the bathroom, etc. Most of us speak very little Spanish and have yet to have it be a problem on any trip.
What is a typical day like in the field?
Early days, late nights and lots of laughing are the best way to describe a day on the mission field. Each morning begins with breakfast, a brief prayer time and travel to the construction site. We usually make sandwiches at breakfast to carry into the field for lunch. At the end of every day, cleanup, dinner, worship time and general fellowship is typical. It's tempting to stay up late getting to know new people who might be on the trip, but remember that the rooster crows early!
For those involved with construction projects, it is physically demanding. Heat, humidity, rain and mud are common. Food and water are in abundance to keep everyone well hydrated and ready for work. However, all work ends for the day about an hour before sunset.
While at the site, there are many opportunities to meet the locals, explore and enjoy the natural features and beauty. There are always many kids who like to come and see what is going on. They will learn your names, hang out and bring a smile to your face. It is times like this that you get an opportunity to share Jesus Christ and share about your life.
For those on the evangeism team, you will normally travel to the construction site and go on from there. You could be going door to door or hosting vacation bible school. You will witness many coming to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior. You will go back with great satisfaction and certainty that God used you and worked through you.
Is there any danger involved?
Someone once stated, ďYou canít be any safer than where God wants you to be.Ē I firmly believe that. Letís face it. We take our lives into our own hands driving down the interstate. Honestly, you will not have any more danger on the trip than you would to visiting Europe.
Common sense dictates that you donít wander anywhere today alone. So we donít do that in the field either. You will be touched by the friendliness and out pouring of love from the people. Is there danger? Daily living has dangers and construction sites have dangers. This will not be any worse that what you have already. Finally, let me remind you that hundreds of people will be praying for us back home. You canít beat that!
What are the living conditions like?
This depends upon where the mission field is and access to facilities. In some cases, participants will be staying at a hotel or an established camp with bunks, and modern bathroom and shower facilities. In other cases, it's much like camping in a tent.
You will go to bed tired and wake up when the roosters crow or the donkeyís bray. We will eat well. We pre-arrange for locals to cook for us and will have bottled water. Everything we provide for you will be safe to eat or drink.
Three meals a day and snacks are often available during the day. We may have shower stalls or when camping find a local stream to bath in. Since we do often use outhouses, bring some toilet paper. In short, we ROUGH IT. Most of our mission team members tell us Ė ďHey, for a few days I can handle most anything.Ē I suspect you will be able to as well.
What do I need to pack?
It highly depends on what type of trip we are going on, but a comprehensive list is HERE
What should I know about Cultural Sensitivity?
In a recent trip, we had a great discussion about cultural sensitivity with the Honduran locals assisting us that will help anyone going to a Latin American country. Here are the notes from that discussion:
All Christians have the same virtues but communicate them differently. In America, honesty is the most important when it comes to communication. An American will want to know the truth even if it's not what he or she wants to hear; a disagreement is acceptable... just get it out into the open and then figure out a solution. But in Honduras and many other Latin American cultures, love is the foundational virtue of communication. When talking with a Honduran, they will be focused on loving you as they talk and will tend to tell you what you want to hear instead of telling you the actual truth. It's just a different hierarchy.
The best approach to take when you need a realistic estimate from a Honduran would be to detach the subject/question from any perceived need or agenda. For example, if our team will need to have roofing panels on-site by Thursday, it would be American to put the agenda first and ask this question: "We need to have the roofing panels here by Thursday; how soon can you have them here?" The Honuran will tell you he can have them all delivered by Thursday because it's what you want to hear, even if he knows that they won't come until Friday. Instead, the question should be decontextualized and asked in this manner: "How long, honestly, would it take you to get the roofing panels on-site?" With this style, your needs are not central to the answer and you have asked for an honest estimate; you're much more likely to get an accurate answer in the later case.
Americans -> Direct -> Agenda/Information First
Hondurans -> Indirect -> Love First
Although it can be frustrating for an American to work with a Honduran, it's important to have respect for how the Honurans communicate. Having love as the foundation for communication is actually very relationship oriented and relationships/unity is something that God loves. Hondurans begin phone calls with a lot of "small talk" because they genuinely are interested about each other and their lives. They show that appreciation by starting conversation with a display of genuine interest. (Sometimes Hondurans will even call just to "small talk" and never get to any kind of agenda). In America, it is understood that information is the main purpose of a phone call and not much time is spent on "small talk". Maybe showing more love during informational communication is something Americans could do better.
When we're on these missions trips, we as cultural outsiders need to do everything we can to avoid paternalism. We don't want to be the great white chief. The only title that we should take is "your servant". This missions thing needs to continue when we're not there any more. The native Hondurans must be at the central core of the leadership. We're here for them; what can we do to serve?
We need to show love and respect to the local leader at every opportunity because he is the "construction leader". Present ideas and options to the local leader, present advantages and disadvantages of each, and let him make the decision. Let him direct the local team and implement the decision. The local laborers need to know that local leader is in control and not us. Everyone must uphold this respect.
When we leave, we want the locals to know that this is their building and uphold the local authorities.
Your privacy is critically important to us. At Unashamed Missions we have a few fundamental principles:
We donít ask you for personal information unless we truly need it. (We canít stand services that ask you for things like your gender or income level for no apparent reason.)
We donít share your personal information with anyone except to comply with the law, develop our products, or protect our rights.
We donít store personal information on our servers unless required for the on-going operation of one of our services.
Like most website operators, Unashamed Missions collects non-personally-identifying information of the sort that web browsers and servers typically make available, such as the browser type, language preference, referring site, and the date and time of each visitor request. Unashamed Missionsís purpose in collecting non-personally identifying information is to better understand how Unashamed Missionsís visitors use its website. From time to time, Unashamed Missions may release non-personally-identifying information in the aggregate, e.g., by publishing a report on trends in the usage of its website.
Unashamed Missions may also collect potentially personally-identifying information like Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Unashamed Missions does not use such information to identify its visitors, however, and does not disclose such information, other than under the same circumstances that it uses and discloses personally-identifying information, as described below.
Gathering of Personally-Identifying Information
Certain visitors to Unashamed Missionsís websites choose to interact with Unashamed Missions in ways that require Unashamed Missions to gather personally-identifying information. The amount and type of information that Unashamed Missions gathers depends on the nature of the interaction. For example, we ask visitors who sign up for a blog at wordpress.com to provide a username and email address. Those who engage in transactions with Unashamed Missions Ė by purchasing access to the Akismet comment spam prevention service, for example Ė are asked to provide additional information, including as necessary the personal and financial information required to process those transactions. In each case, Unashamed Missions collects such information only insofar as is necessary or appropriate to fulfill the purpose of the visitorís interaction with Unashamed Missions. Unashamed Missions does not disclose personally-identifying information other than as described below. And visitors can always refuse to supply personally-identifying information, with the caveat that it may prevent them from engaging in certain website-related activities.
Protection of Certain Personally-Identifying Information
Unashamed Missions discloses potentially personally-identifying and personally-identifying information only to those of its employees, contractors and affiliated organizations that (i) need to know that information in order to process it on Unashamed Missionsís behalf or to provide services available at Unashamed Missionsís websites, and (ii) that have agreed not to disclose it to others. Some of those employees, contractors and affiliated organizations may be located outside of your home country; by using Unashamed Missionsís websites, you consent to the transfer of such information to them. Unashamed Missions will not rent or sell potentially personally-identifying and personally-identifying information to anyone. Other than to its employees, contractors and affiliated organizations, as described above, Unashamed Missions discloses potentially personally-identifying and personally-identifying information only when required to do so by law, or when Unashamed Missions believes in good faith that disclosure is reasonably necessary to protect the property or rights of Unashamed Missions, third parties or the public at large. If you are a registered user of an Unashamed Missions website and have supplied your email address, Unashamed Missions may occasionally send you an email to tell you about new features, solicit your feedback, or just keep you up to date with whatís going on with Unashamed Missions and our products. We primarily use our various product blogs to communicate this type of information, so we expect to keep this type of email to a minimum. If you send us a request (for example via a support email or via one of our feedback mechanisms), we reserve the right to publish it in order to help us clarify or respond to your request or to help us support other users. Unashamed Missions takes all measures reasonably necessary to protect against the unauthorized access, use, alteration or destruction of potentially personally-identifying and personally-identifying information.
Comments and other content submitted to our Akismet anti-spam service are not saved on our servers unless they were marked as false positives, in which case we store them long enough to use them to improve the service to avoid future false positives.