Q. What about Impact? Dependency? Sustainability? Ownership?
A. The Worldwide Hands Program is deeply aware of these vital and critical questions related to short term volunteer mission teams. And there are many strong opinions regarding each of these topics within the missional/missions community. In this section of FAQ we will answer some of your questions regarding our missional approach to short term missions. Please also look at our blog regarding the “Myths about Missions -I.” & “Myths about Missions – II.
- Impact: The impact of our program is clear with thousands of children attending schools around the world that would not exist but for the work of our wonderful HANDS volunteers and supporters. We give thanks to God for each child that is attending school through this program and each successful partner relationship through our ministry.
- Dependency: Our goal regarding dependency is to focus on partnering with national and local leadership to equip schools with truly necessary resources and educational facilities that can be maintained and used by each community without our continued support.
- Sustainability: Our project review process considers deeply if the school is able to function through local financial support. It is our desire that each school becomes self-relent.
- Ownership: From the conception of Worldwide Christian Schools, our philosophy of ownership focuses on empowering local communities, churches and boards to control and operate their own schools. Worldwide Christian Schools does not own or operate any of the schools that we partner with around the globe.
Read on to find out more about our Worldwide HANDS program:
Q. Are Worldwide HANDS Teams effective?
A. For 25 years volunteer mission teams have helped to provided access to Christ-centered schools through the Worldwide Build Program. During this quarter century of mission teams, the Worldwide HANDS program has learned countless lessons on how to effectively work in communities to avoid the issues of dependency and to encourage local school ownership, local project leadership and cross-cultural interaction of local and international volunteers as together we provide the necessary access for children to education.
Q. Do local schools provide part of the cost of construction?
A. Yes, many schools do provide some of the resources for a school even if a vast majority of the cost is beyond their economic means to construct a school. In 2012, the church in Chuixchimal, Guatemala rallied 293 volunteers to pour the 2nd floor of the Esmirna School. They worked from 5:30 AM-noon and as a community with a dream of education, they carried stone, sand, & cement and together, with no international labor, completed an amazing amount of work for this new school project. Leading up to the huge day of cement mixing, the lead construction coordinator would challenge the members of the congregation weekly to purchase a bag of concrete or even 1/2 of a bag of concrete to help out with construction costs. While most of the project materials came from international sources for this project, it was encouraging to see the local support and ownership of their Christian School.
Common Trip Questions:
Q. What do we need to know about lodging?
A. Lodging is provided through Worldwide Hands. Facilities are equipped running water, modern septic system and shower facilities. Many times rooms will be dormitory style and men and women will have separate rooms. If separate rooms are requested for teams they can be arranged most times, but at increased lodging expense
Q. What is the climate?
Q. Can we drink the water?
A. Unless directed otherwise assume that you cannot drink the water. We ask that each person take their own water bottle with them. The team host will supply safe, clean drinking water for the team.
Q. Where do we eat?
A. Team meals are arranged by our in-country hosts. Often you will be eating family style and there may be an occasional meal at a restaurant. Food allergies can be accommodated within reason.
Q. What clothes should we wear?
A. We ask you to dress conservatively while on mission trips. Men and Women should have tops with sleeves. We ask you to wear pants during the work project. Women should have knee length or longer skirts/dresses with blouse for Sunday services. Men should have a dress pants and shirt. No tie is required. (Please bring your one piece swimsuit for hot springs or expect to wear cover shirts for two pcs suits.)
Q. What funds do we need?
A. You will need to expect to pay for meals in transit to the location and on your return to the USA, as well as your airfare to and from the location. All other meals, transportation, lodging, and work project materials are covered in the cost of your trip. Note: There will be ample time to purchase souvenirs, wool blankets, and native handicrafts on this trip. $100 to $200 should be plenty of funds for these items. Credit cards will work at larger markets only.
Q. How do I form or join a mission team?
A. You can find out more information about joining or starting a mission team by going to the Contact page on our website, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Lori Anderson at 303-877-7490.
Q. Do I need building experience?
A. It certainly helps, but is absolutely not necessary. We have designed our projects so anyone, young, old, or anywhere in between can help with the construction; just come ready to serve and be impacted forever.
Q. Do I need to speak the language?
A. Absolutely not! Though speaking the language will help you communicate, we actually enjoy it if you cannot. Our hosts enjoy teaching you and appreciate any attempt to speak in their language. If you do not speak the language, you cannot hide behind words like we do so often. Smile and they will smile, love and they will love in return. You’ll be amazed at how God will open your heart and theirs through the lack of communication!
Q. What will my mission team be doing?
A. Worldwide Hands teams do a variety of things while on trips, including building schools, constructing playgrounds, painting , and spending time with the local population. You will also be able to enjoy new experiences, change lives, and bring hope to others while on the mission trip.
Q. How long is the mission trip?
A. Most of our mission trips are from 7 days to 2 weeks, depending on the project and the time a team desires to be in country.
Q. Will there be an orientation for my team?
A. Each team can receive an orientation for their trip. This can be done in person locally, conference call or via a social communication platform like WebEx.
Q. How long is each day of the mission trip?
A. Normally each day starts with breakfast around 7 AM and the work project begins at 8 AM until 5 PM each day. Each location can be slightly different depending on travel arrangements and other local schedules. Evening meal is normally around 6 PM and we encourage teams to relax in the evening and take part in a Night Wrap (devotions and discussion about your day).
Q. What else is my team responsible for paying?
A. Your team is responsible for paying for all the expenses related to this trip. Worldwide Hands will make all your project and logistical arrangements for the group and give you a budget that will cover the basics of your trip. However, any additional fees, activities, travel, etc by the team over and above the budgeted amounts will be the responsibility of the group or individual.
Q. When are our team costs due?
A. A $100 registration fee is due to secure your team on our calendar. Deadlines for airlines vary depending on the airline the team is using. However, here are some really rough guidelines that will be refined for each mission trip:
120 days before a trip all registration forms are due
90 days before a trip final names & airline costs are due
60 days before the trip all team costs are due.
Q. How many people should be on my mission team?
A. Different locations can handle different size teams. So the project will vary on how many can go to serve. Normally groups are between 8-14 people. If you have a larger group we will work to provide you with a work project for a team of 10, 20, 30, or 40 people.
Q. Who makes travel & airline reservations?
A. Worldwide Hands provides transportation in the destination country.
We also gladly make both group and individual travel arrangements for each team. Normally it works better if Worldwide HANDS staff handles this for your group as it needs to coordinate with the in-country transportation and lodging as well. (For example: in Guatemala all teams must arrive by 2 PM or there will be a mandatory night in a hotel in Guatemala City).
Q. Is International travel safe?
A. The safety of team members should be a group concern whenever you are stepping out of your local environment and venturing to another location be it local or international. Worldwide HANDS Teams are normally led by nationals who understand their culture and know of any local safety risks. Normally international travel is safe provided you use some basic travel guidelines:
- Do not leave the group or travel anywhere without the hosts/team leader’s permission.
- Do not travel at night and always let your hosts drive! Always!
- It is best to be in groups of 3-5 people as you visit tourist locations.
- Be discrete in handling money, in wearing jewelry and in moving about unfamiliar places.
- Be familiar with the travel advisories for your specific country. http://travel.state.gov/travel/ is a helpful website for information.
Q. Anything special that my team should bring?
A. We will provide you with a list of items needed and supplies we recommend.
Q. Will my team have time to do some sight-seeing?
A. We want each team to experience the culture of the country and community they are partnering with on a project. Some teams will experience a special performance by the children, others will see a city open air market or cultural site. Others have experienced some special natural environment in that region. You can expect to have several times of cultural enrichment during your trip.
Updates from the field
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- MNN Interview
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- Myths about Missions Part I
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Click on this link: Team Blog follows..