Mission Team Members, Honduras has been an independent nation since it declared independence from Spain in 1821. It is one of the poorest Central American nations, with unemployment at about 25%. Some of the larger cities have become modern while many rural areas have no infrastructure. Medically, The fertility rate is approximately 3.7 per woman. The under-five mortality rate is at 40 per 1,000 live births. The health expenditure was US$ (PPP) 197 per person in 2004. There are about 57 physicians per 100,000 population. It is 2/3 the size of Missouri geographically, but has 2 million more people. The road system is poor, so travel is challenging. The literacy rate is estimated at over 85%, which is high for that part of the world. Religiously, estimates say that the population is from 47% to 95% Catholic, but there are lots of Evangelical Protestant groups there. The terrain is largely mountainous, with some fertile farmland in the north. It has a long coastline along the Atlantic ocean, and lots of seaports--some quite large. The people are descendants of Europeans as well as Mayan and other Indian tribes. A famous Mayan ruins is at Copan. The language is Spanish, although English is recognized to a large extent in the more affluent regions. Their currency is the Lempira, and the exchange rate is about 19 lempira per US dollar. The local businesses will all take dollars but your change will be in Lempira. We are going to Ocotepeque, which is in the furthest west area of Honduras and is 8 hours from the capital city of Tegucigalpa and 6 hours from the nearest other airport in Honduras. It is only a few miles from both Guatemala and El Salvador. ABOUT OUR TRIP
Some doctors will recommend that you take a prescription antibiotic with you in event of illness while we are in La Palma. The two that seem to be most recommended are Ciproflaxacin and Levaquin. Some recommend this to be taken as a preventive measure and some recommend having it 'just in case'. Others do not believe it is necessary. You can buy either of these at a local Farmacia within a block of our hotel without a prescription, so it is optional for you to get it in advance. It is not recommended for our March 2012 trip.
We will have a diet that is high in protein and carbohydrates and relatively low in fiber while we are there. In most of the restaurants we do not recommend eating the lettuce, tomatoes, or pickles because of possible health hazards. Consider taking natural or herbal fiber with you. Some electric outlets do not have 3-prong capability, and there are few outlets. For that reason consider taking adapters. The electricity is the same voltage as ours. We will have computer/printer capability at some commercial places nearby. Just bring any digital files that you think you might need and we can help you. Also, we can download photos onto the computer and then burn them onto a CD for you. Bring a jump drive and we will put your pictures on it. Power outages in the area are common. The hotel has a backup generator for those occasions. I warn you of the need to be flexible in planning. We plan and plan and plan for things, but there are sometimes reasons why we may have to change our plans. Please be flexible. Please bear with us if we have to make changes. If you are a regular blood donor and you declare that you have been to Honduras, you will be deferred for 2 years as a donor. Our country is in a serious debate about immigration. Please try to avoid discussions of our problems while we are there. It will be OK to answer questions, but we should keep our problems to ourselves if possible. There will be times when you see people in great need while you are there. Keep in mind that you help them most by teaching them values and spiritual applications. In some cases there are physical needs that we can help them with, but often we cannot. We can comfort and teach them. Beggars may ask you for money. If you give them money, they learn that begging works and they should continue doing it. We will discuss this more later, but please keep in mind that you may simply worsen their situation if you give them money. Some cultural things to ponder:
Handshakes are always appropriate when meeting someone or greeting
someone. Hugs are usually welcome, but if the other person hesitates, don't push it.
Touch children on the shoulder or arm, but try to avoid patting the head.
Some women and children have been taught that eye contact is flirting,
and they avoid it. Just bear with the situation. It is OK.
Girls and women often walk down the street holding hands. It is a custom
The people there are generally loving. The children are often starved for
attention and affection, particularly from an adult male. Most of the homes are managed and families raised by a woman. At the local church, you will be hugged by mobs of kids.
Time is not as critical to the people there as it is to us. When we say we
will meet someone at 9 am tomorrow, WE hear ‗9‘ and they hear ‗tomorrow‘. We cannot change that and maybe should not try. It is frustrating to us type A personalities, but it is reality. Sometimes they will be late because they are dependent on the public bus, but culturally, being late is accepted.
You communicate with the people whether you speak Spanish or not. We
need to constantly remember that. Try to learn a little bit of the language, but actions speak louder than words.
We are all very wealthy in comparison to them. Please do not use that to
be arrogant or showy. Avoid having large amounts of money showing when you buy something.
They eat foods very bland compared to our tastes. Their daily bread is the
tortilla, and it is often unsalted. We like to spice up our foods. They are not used to that. We will have catsup available for our fried potatoes. Bring any seasoning that you like, such as Creole.
The people there generally dress well. They often have only 2 or 3 outfits,
but they will be clean each day and seldom, seldom, seldom will you see a patched outfit. I do not know how they can keep their clothes as clean as they do with what they have to work with, but they do. It is amazing. We must take care of ourselves. It would be great if we were able to go into the homes of the people there and live with them. Sleep on the floors with them. Eat the food that they eat and drink the water they drink. We would not last long if we did that, so we have to be different from them in that way. We want to adapt to their culture and way of life when we can, but there is a line and we must stay on the safe side of it. We must separate kingdom issues from cultural issues. We are not there to change culture. We are there to make disciples – that leads to saving souls. Let‘s be able to recognize that cultures change slowly and we don‘t have time to do much about that. Of course we can teach them that washing hands before eating
is a healthy thing to do. We can teach them to boil water before drinking it. We can teach them to avoid open sewer ditches. And the list goes on. We should teach them those things. But we must focus on the things that will help them get to heaven and help others get to heaven. Some other items to take with you:
a pocket notebook to take notes in and write down names of people you meet
some sort of tablet or notebook to keep a journal of the trip--there are
memorable things happening all the time that we tend to forget unless we write it down
Gels and liquids must be in a ONE QUART baggie and taken out for security
checks (or put in your checked bag) Here is the information on carry-on luggage:
Continental will permit one bag plus one personal item (see below), per customer to be carried on the aircraft.
The maximum combined linear measurement (length + width + height) of carry-on bags must not exceed 14 inches x 9 inches x 22 inches (23 x 35 x 56 cm) or 45 linear inches (114 cm).
Please note: All carry-on items must be stowed under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin. Items may not be stowed in the seat back pocket. Any item in excess of carry-on baggage size or allowance requirements as listed above will be checked to your final destination and may be subject to applicable checked baggage fees.
In addition to the one carry-on item, you may bring one personal item such as a large shoulder bag, large backpack, laptop bag or an item of similar size.
The following items are not counted toward your one bag and one personal item limit:
Overcoat or wrap, umbrella, reasonable amount of reading material, cane/crutches, camera
You are allowed one check bag of 50 pounds. Extra bags or overweight bags cost $45 each. The following is about CHECKED bags: In general, Continental Airlines will accept up to two pieces of checked baggage (the second costs $40 extra) with a maximum weight of 50 pounds (23 kg) per bag and a maximum outside dimension of 62 inches (157 cm) per bag in exchange for the applicable service fees set forth below. Outside dimension of a bag is equal to the width + height + depth of the bag added together. Know the color, size and shape of the bag/suitcase that you check. That makes it easier to find on the luggage carousel at San Salvador, and it allows you to
properly fill out a claim form if the bag does not arrive. Taking a picture on a digital camera can help if there is a problem. A colored tag or ribbon also helps. Be sure to get and keep your baggage claim check at ticket check in. They usually paste the claim checks to a ticket folder. Keep it with you until you have claimed your bag.
There will be about 300 bags arriving on the carousel at one time and we have
to pick ours out of that bunch. We usually try to mark our checked bags with yellow duct tape, but anything that you will recognize -ribbon, tape, etc. - will work. It makes it easier to identify your bag.
If your bag does not arrive when we do, you will have to fill out a claim form.
Often that happens and they bring them to us the next day. They will ask you to describe the bag by shape and color and style, so you need to know that.
If it never shows up, (has happened to 2 bags), then a claim form must be filed
and you have to list the contents - sort of generically but in enough detail to establish a cost to replace them.
Consider bringing a small pocket-size container of hand sanitizer. We
want you to stay healthy, and hand washing is good for that. It must be put with your liquids and gels at airport security or in checked baggage. God doesn't fail us, but sometimes men and airlines do. If for any reason, you or your flight do not get to Houston as scheduled, please call the emergency number in this document for instructions about what to do next. We will have to make alternate travel plans. A suggestion about something to take along: since we may share motel rooms with others, and since some of us snore when we sleep, it is a really good idea to take some foam ear plugs to wear at night. They are inexpensive, not really uncomfortable, and are very helpful. That is an old military lesson that I will share with you. I want to address the subject of security in the simplest way possible. First, let me say that my biggest and probably most important job is to keep each of you safe and secure. Quite honestly, I will not sleep really well until every one of you is back home with your family. I try not to worry, but I do maintain a high amount of concern. All of the Central American countries have high crime rates, and Honduras has one of the highest. The high crime areas are in the big cities, and we will not be there except as we travel to and from the airport.
We have analyzed the risks in our mission trip and will work to minimize them. I am convinced that our greatest risk is from automobiles and buses. We hire the best bus drivers we can find. We let them know that we are concerned about safety. We monitor them and correct them as needed. We also ask each of you to watch out for traffic as you walk. Horns and brakes are used a lot. Don't be a target. Be careful in the showers. The floors can be very slick! Be careful. The floors seem to be slicker when you wear shower shoes, so we recommend leaving the shower shoes outside the shower and stepping out onto a towel or floor mat. Do not be out alone--always go in pairs as a minimum. After dark, a male must accompany any females that are out. I am not saying these things to scare you. I just want you to be careful and watchful. Each of us wants to know how much money to take with me on the trip!! Good Question!! First let me tell you what has been paid for in your package deal on the trip. You have an airline ticket paid for. You have immigration and emigration fees paid for. You have bottled water paid for while you are there. You have breakfast and an evening meal paid for --including tips-for each day. Your motel room is paid for. Your bus fare is paid. Just about everything else is at your expense--so what is that? Your travel to your departure airport is at your expense and arrangement. Whatever you eat on the morning of your travel to Houston is at your expense. We will try to provide you with noon meals, but we encourage you to take some of your favorite snacks with you in the event that we are not where food is available. Trail mix is a good one that takes up little space and keeps you going. Souvenirs - you can go from zero to a couple hundred on this one. There are thousands of souvenirs in the town for sale. There will be an offering taken for the local church on Sunday. We encourage you not to give money as gifts to the local people except in very rare circumstances--and that should only be to cover their expense in some
given situation. You may be temped or asked to give money--it almost always is the wrong thing to do. Ask for advice in these situations. The motel will do laundry for you at any time. They have a minimal charge for it. On the trip home, you will get breakfast at the motel. The rest of the day you will have to purchase what you eat or drink. There will be a large snack on the flight to Houston. You will probably want a cheeseburger and Dr. Pepper when you arrive in Houston. You are responsible for your ride home from your destination airport. Adding it up, you could go with $20 and get by, or you could spend a couple hundred. That is up to you. Please let me know if you have any questions about this. What about the weather? The temperature is about the same year round with a low of 65 and a high of 85. In December and January it may get a little cooler, but a light jacket is sufficient. It rains almost every day starting in May and lasting though November. From December through April it almost never rains. During the rainy season a light parka or an umbrella are handy. The climate is dry because of the elevation. This means that we need to drink a lot of water--more than you are used to. Here is what to expect on the travel day: (Note: we go through El Salvador because it shortens the bus ride upon arrival at the airport) Most of you will rise quite early. Most flights to Houston will be an hour to 2 hours long --depending on where you start. Consider a small snack at your original airport before boarding. If your flight to Houston has problems, call the emergency number below so we can make new arrangements. The flight leaves Houston at about 9:30 am. It is about 3 hours to San Salvador. There will be a large snack on the flight--typically it is an egg/ham sandwich and some other stuff--a full meal in reality. The next meal will be somewhere up the road, so enjoy the one on the plane and eat it all. Upon arriving in San Salvador, we deplane and go through the Immigration line.
It is recommended that you use the banjo/bathroom immediately after deplaning It will be a while before you get another one, although there is one near the baggage claim area also. In the immigration line, you will be asked how long you will stay and where you will go while in the country. You will be staying at the Sandoval hotel in Ocotepeque, Honduras, you are a tourist, and you will be helping in mission work--if asked. They may or may not ask if you are doing mission work. BE SURE YOU have your passport--in fact; you cannot board the plane without it. Check it to make sure it has not expired! After going through Immigration, you will wait for your checked bags. When all the bags have arrived, we go through customs. Do this as a group or as 2 or 3 groups, but wait until all the bags have arrived or been declared missing. It is more comfortable to wait inside than outside. Customs may ask to see everything in your baggage, or they may clear you with no inspection, or they may inspect a small part of the stuff. It depends on who is there and how far behind they are at the time and how long the line is. The usual method is to have one person push a button. If you get a green light, there is no inspection--just go on through. If you get a red light they must inspect something. Just obey the inspector. As you clear customs, you will leave the building and go outside--stay together as a group! There is almost always a large crowd waiting --and the heat and humidity will grab you big time. It will be hot and muggy humid. Taxi drivers will swarm you wanting to help you. As a group, to a point outside away from the biggest part of the crowd and wait for the bus. The bus ride through San Salvador is usually exciting. Keep your camera ready and the window open and look for those Kodak moments. The total bus ride from the airport to Ocotepeque is about 3 hours. We will stop somewhere along the way for a restroom break. We expect to arrive at the hotel in Ocotepeque about 5 pm. We will unload and check into rooms and then enjoy the first meal in this great city. You will be tired from being up early and from traveling. We will have a short devotional service and a briefing. We will get to sleep as early as possible that night. The emergency contacts in the USA are Monte Lalli
They can contact me and make any connections or notifications needed. To email me while I am there, use this address: [email protected] Here is some information about possible medical concerns while traveling: Our medical people will evaluate the illness and likely take you to the local hospital if it is needed. They have limited capability, so if it is serious you will likely be transported to a larger hospital, perhaps in San Salvador. They have big hospitals with good medical care and English speaking staff. Your insurance covers medical evacuation to the states if it is needed, and we will work with the US Embassy to make that happen. We do pray that everyone will remain healthy and productive during the trip. While you are away, you can communicate home in several ways. Some US cell phone companies have special plans available, but they are expensive. You may want to buy a cell phone there for calls home. They are in the $20-30 dollar range and you buy minutes as needed. If you have an iphone or other smartphone, you can download a free app that will allow you to call home free using the internet--Talkatone is one of them. The hotel has free wifi for that. We will be blogging daily about our work, so folks at home can keep up with you at
http://ocotepequechurch.blogspot.com/ it is a good idea to read
through this blog for some history on the town, the church, and what we have experienced in the past. The wifi allows you to do email also, and there is a computer at the hotel that you can use if you do not take a laptop. Many of you will be taking digital cameras with you and are concerned about taking more photos than your memory chip will allow. I will be taking my laptop computer and can download your photos onto a CD or your jump drive for you, allowing you to start over again--bring your adapter cord. Warm showers are standard in the Sandoval hotel. It is recommended that you are current on Hepatitis A and Tetanus immunizations for this trip. If you are doing medical work, you should get Hepatitis B shots as well.
The UV rays there are more intense than here. Do some preparing by spending time in the sun in order to avoid burning later. Take with you some good suntan lotion--the doctor recommends #45 or at least 30. Many of you will be working in the clinic or indoors and will have limited exposure, but we are making an attempt this year to get EVERYONE out into the town and into homes. This may only be a half day, but it could involve some sunshine. Get used to walking. We will walk a lot, and sometimes it will be several blocks. Get prepared. There are hundreds of Mototaxis in town, and they are safe and cheap to travel in--but only in town. Be making your packing lists now--think about what to take. You want to carry as little as you can get by with but have enough to make you comfortable. Many take clothing to wear while there with the intent of leaving it for someone in Ocotepeque to wear later. That makes coming home even easier and leaves someone there happy. On your list, be sure to include any medicines that you may need, and any vitamins that you take. These should be in your carryon luggage--not checked bags. Put in your carryon anything you might need for a few days in the event that your checked bags do not arrive.
1. Keep your passport or a copy of it on your person at all times.
2. Never venture out alone- two or more people required. Women must have
3. No youth groups will be allowed to go into the town at night. Everyone is
to be back at the motel by 9 pm unless authorized by a leader.
4. If confronted by an unruly local (drunk), smile and keep walking. We are
viewed as the wealthy Gringos, and be aware that public drunkenness is common.
5. Do not purchase food from ANY street vendor!
6. Eat only fully-cooked food that is and has been HOT since preparation.
7. Eat only fruit that YOU peeled; do not wash fruit in local water supply.
8. If it is not bottled, or you didn’t open it, do NOT drink it (except in approved
restaurants). Avoid ice. The hotel water is generally safe, but don't drink
it just to be safe. They have a 'bubbler' in the hallway that you can fill bottles and glasses with for drinking.
9. Ask your Doctor for a recommendation of medication for “travelers
sickness” in case you ignore commandments 5 thru 8. If you get sick, expect to be out of service for 36 hours. Note: on most trips we have either a doctor or a nurse for advice and help.
10. Remember that we are the aliens in the country; our Bill of Rights has no
validly there. We are to be ambassadors of Christ and of our nation.
These rules are made for the team’s safety and security and for the success of our mission. Let us all return home in good health and with the satisfaction of knowing we made a difference in the lives of many thankful people, for the glory of God!
Code of Conduct/Code of Dress
We must remember that we are guests of the local Christians on our mission trip. We must respect the customs of the people there and the wishes of the local church by remaining Godly in appearance and behavior. Accordingly, we establish some guidelines for personal appearance, dress, and actions. The people there have grown up to be conservative and modest. They see some things on television and from tourists passing through that degrade the moral code of the past and have started a decline in the decency standards once observed. The younger people try to imitate what they see. We have some requests from the church leaders that we want to honor with regard to dress, especially at worship. What we are asking is that each missionary display a Godly, modest appearance and behavior. We issue the following guidelines with the intent of having strict voluntary compliance; thus avoiding any need for correction. Here are the general guidelines: Missionaries will absolutely not drink any alcoholic beverages. Missionaries will not smoke while in the country. Missionaries who chew tobacco will not do so in public. Missionaries will dress modestly and decently in observance of their Godly mission. We will not wear shorts or cutoffs. We will not wear clothing with holes in them or patches sewn on. We will not wear exotic hairstyles or hair colors. We will not wear body piercing/jewelry other than ear rings on ladies. We will present Christ in our language and appearance and behavior. We are being watched and heard during the entire trip.
For worship: Ladies are requested to wear dresses/skirts that extend below the knee. Men are requested to wear collared shirts and slacks. Men preaching will wear a tie. Men are encouraged to wear a tie for Sunday worship. For work: Slacks/blue jeans are OK for men. Slacks are OK for women. Capris are OK. Scrub tops are preferred—blouses or shirts are OK. Wear comfortable shoes – tennis shoes are OK. For evangelist teams and teaching teams: Collared shirts and slacks are preferred for men. Dress shoes are preferred. Dresses or dress slacks are preferred for women. For other work: Jeans and shirts are OK. When meeting with community leaders, dress at a higher level.
Make a list ahead of time and check it off as you pack. Don't worry if you forget something (other than your passport)
Consider a Pouch to carry Passport in-you will need it with you all the time_____
Shots - Hepatitis A and Tetanus minimum _______
- Hepatitis B if doing medical work ______
Suitcase for carry-on______ 45 linear in (L+W+H)
One other bag - computer bag or briefcase or purse to carry on the plane______
Cash for miscellaneous expenses-$100 recommended ________. This amount is totally up to you. You can get by with $20 or spend $1500. The souvenirs you buy and the snacks you eat vary widely from person to person. You may not get a noon meal, and you could snack out of your suitcase or spend $5 for that).
Note: powdered drink mixes in the bottled water are becoming very popular. It is best to get the drink mix by Special K or similar that contains protein rather than just sugar. _________
Snacks in the event that you miss a meal. _______________
If you have special seasoning you like, bring it. The tortillas there taste better with peanut butter and jelly, so you might put some of that in a CHECK BAG. Don't try to get through customs with peanut butter or jelly in carryon. You might also bring your favorite BBQ sauce.
Clothes for at least 5 days work plus worship (figure on 1 laundry) ________ (recommended dress for worship is dress shirt and slacks for men, dresses for women, men wear a tie on Sunday and if/when you preach)
Enough prescription medicines for the trip ____
Consider a wide brimmed hat for sun protection__________--this also will provide rain protection
Sunblock--good stuff ___________ (there will be sunshine there!)
Long sleeve tops/shirts - optional but recommended for evening or long periods in the sun _______
Spend some time outside to get used to the sun and heat (seasonal) ______
Be getting in good physical condition-walk every day including some climbing____
A great attitude really is needed---check yours now! ____________
• Your growing baby needs oxygen just like you. • Every time you breathe, you give your baby all the• When you smoke, your baby is getting — Your baby’s heart will beat faster. — Your baby will cough and sputter. — Your baby will not develop as well because there will not • When you smoke you will have a greater risk of:— Vaginal bleeding. — Miscarriage. — Early delivery
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