From time to time people ask for details about making a Missions Trip to Family Circus. I hope that the following questions from a pastor friend, along with my answers, may spur your interest and at least bring up new questions.
In it for the King and His Kids,
P.S. These comments were written just before we start formal work on the castle and while construction continues on the bakery. We currently have six work teams involved with these projects.
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This Sunday we have a "missions fair" where we explain all the trips our church has planned for the year. I'm sensing that our team would be about 10, but could be anywhere from 5-15. I'm a rookie inter-continental trip planner, and would love your guidance for setting up the trip. Perhaps you have already arranged for other teams to come over and you have many of the answers to my questions already.
5 – 15 in a team is no problem. They can include builders for all levels of construction, men and women, and those who’d like to hands-on help kids. The list of people who could help include optometrists, maybe ladies who’d like to teach sewing, hair cutting, welders, electricians, we could use a video security system set up. When working with kids we need to provide a high level of protection. Perhaps singers/musicians, drama, mime, puppeteers, nurses to give first aid, cooking even working in the bakery cafeteria, dentists, hearing aids for our elderly. The list of needs of people in poverty and kids is long. If it’s not mentioned here and someone has a skill they’d like to use to help, just email and I’ll confirm the need.
As the team leader, I want to make sure I have as much detailed information to hand out as possible. I have many, many questions for you.
1. Basically, can you give me a rundown of how your weekly ministry works, and also give me an idea of how we can best serve you and be useful to you. This will help in locking down the exact dates we need to plan to arrive and depart. This will help us lock in our airfare and travel details to get to Mindanao. It would also help us know what to prepare to bring with us.
If the team were to arrive say Wed PM overnight in Mania and fly down Thursday about noon they could go with us for a short community visit about 3:30 PM and then a BBQ with the team that evening.
- Friday involvement in whatever ministry or work that is happening.
- Saturday 8 AM ready to hands-on assist in ministry to the thousands that attend service. 1 PM outdoor outreach by the ocean. Wrap up the day with delicious native bbq chicken dinner 6 PM.
- Sunday 8 AM – 11 AM ministry again to the thousands attending.
- Monday could be a boat trip, snorkeling, discovery diving, beach and picnic lunch. Shopping whatever. (Die-hards could do construction if that was their preference).
- Tuesday – Wed repeat of Friday. Work, teach, train, depending on what best fits skill, training and desire.
2. Lodging. Do you have a dormitory where people would stay? If not, can you help us arrange for hotel rooms. Are there hotels where other teams have stayed before? If possible, I need to know what the cost would be per person/ room, etc.
We do have a dormitory style We R Inn available, clean with hot water, air conditioner, great service including breakfast for $20 - $30 a night for 2 – 5 people per room. Or a more upscale Regency hotel for a higher price $34+ for two. Both I think includes laundry. You tell us what you want. We even have $100+ a night Marco Polo hotel Five star.
3. Food. In one of your previous emails, you mentioned that you eat out a lot. What should we put in the budget for daily food per person? Should we plan to eat all our meals out?
Breakfast in both places I mentioned is easy. Then the other two meals, maybe a heavier lunch and a lighter dinner. Those meals would be eaten out or delivery at the site. Easy. Meals will average about $3 each. We have western food such as MacDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Pancake House, and a supermarket nearby and other Filipino restaurants’ for the adventurous. Some even deliver.
4. Team transportation. Do you have vehicles available for ministry teams that visit, or should we plan on renting vehicles? I'm not sure how it works in Davao? Could you assist us to arrange this? What would the cost be?
The places you stay at often have vans and we have our own Jeepney that can transport up to 18 or so Americans. The ministry vehicle cost would be simply keep it fueled up and we provide the drivers. There may also be occasional need for taxi fare, most trips can be done for $1 in an air conditioned taxi. We are trying to have cell phones available at least for team leaders or others that may desire (good security device). Internet café’s are cheap here and readily available. At our office we have wireless, and the hotels often do as well. A weeks rental of $10 and the cost of the prepaid card $10 would cover a lot of texting. Long distance calls at $.40 cents a minute would eat it up fast.
5. You had mentioned ATM's and having cash on hand. As a team leader, how much money should I be planning on bringing? Should I be bringing checks to pay for things? Should I plan on using credit cards?
As to funds to bring, I think Ken can give you a better picture of this. Debit cards work well. We have ONE bank that will allow us to access $1,000 in Pesos in a 24 hour period, but your debit card needs to allow that limit. One of my debit cards I had to call to change the limit from $500 - $1,000. That was convenient, and I think safer than carrying it out. Some $’s are good new bills you get better exchange rate for new versus old and the bigger the bill i.e. $20 $50, $100 gets better rate. When you clear customs in Manila immediately outside the customs door to the left are some ATM’s to access pesos for the immediate needs such as taxi, and whatever. If you stay overnight at the Guest house near the airport it will be about $25 for 3 or 4 persons per room.
6. How does the time zone/ date work when traveling to Davao City and back to the US?
You lose a day coming and gain it returning. Arrive back home about the same time you depart from the Philippines.
I feel pretty good about your guidelines for dress code and such, so I can ask you that at a later date. I'm assuming that long pants are to be worn everywhere but the beach. Is this accurate?
Long pants are acceptable and if the guys wanted to wear longer shorts for construction they could though for safety when working with concrete etc I’d not recommend it. Baseball hats with the material to shade from the sun in the back is good for construction workers. Often we have needs of items/tools/ things for the kids that can either be collected in advance and carried out in advance. Example first aid supplies, small toys, etc.