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Mexico offers a challenging missionary opportunity that almost staggers the
imagination. Because of its proximity to the United States, our neighbor to the
south can be reached quickly and at a low cost, regardless of whether the trip
is only to the border or deep into the interior of Mexico.
We purposely plan these trips not to be vacations or pleasure excursions. We ask those who go to be prepared to sacrifice and give of themselves totally to the work of the Lord for the whole of the mission trip. We find, however, that as we make these sacrifices the Lord multiplies our efforts.
We are fully aware that the missionary trip into Mexico is not the only method by which a person may be challenged to actively serve the Lord, but we are convinced that such a trip is an effective means of involving people in Christian work. The great spiritual impact that is made through this type of ministry leaves a vital and lasting impact in the missioners' lives, as well as in the lives of the Mexican people to whom they minister.
Many people have dedicated their lives to the ministry of the Gospel as a direct result of these types of mission outreach. We are convinced that short-term mission trips have proven that people can be realistically introduced to the work, the life, and the responsibility of the missionary, as well as the hardships they must endure.
Welcome to this opportunity of working for the Lord as a missionary. For the days spent in Mexico, please think of yourself as one answering the missionary call, totally consecrating every fiber of your being to this one obsession, winning souls for Christ. You can expect some thrilling moments; you may be asked to do some things you would rather not do, but when the mission is over you will have experienced one of the greatest blessings of a lifetime.
The mission is not a recreational outing, but rather a spiritual adventure. There will be opportunities to do practical missionary work and to share in the fellowship of God's people in another culture. Our prime motive is to assist the Mexican Christians in reaching the unsaved of their homeland. Full cooperation with the coordinating staff and strict adherence to all the rules and regulations are mandatory.
A time of preparation for your trip as a missionary is advised. It is recommended that you spend a season of fasting and prayer (you are encouraged to fast at least one meal a week for one month before the mission trip). Pray earnestly for the spiritual success of the trip. Faithfully pray daily for the trip to Mexico, and God will honor those prayers. (A sample devotional is enclosed for consideration as devotions during the mission trip.) Besides prayer and fasting, we ask that you read your Bible daily. Read Philippians 2: 1-17, Ephesians 4:5-20, and the gospel of John. His Word will strengthen you and prepare you for your special place of ministry.
You will be traveling many hours for several day prior to our arrival at our
destination in Mexico. Because of the length of the mission trip, rest is
very essential. Because of the close quarters when riding in the vehicles, please
be considerate of others and refrain from wearing heavy or strong perfumes.
In the interest of simplifying the exchange of money at hotels and restaurants where we will be eating or staying at the same location, LGOM will collect the exact amounts needed (including tips) before we leave the USA. Mexican businesses have a difficult time making change. This small action on our part will simplify the process immensely.
Crossing the Mexican Border
Crossing the Mexican border can be a very complex thing. It is vitally important that we have the total cooperation of all missioners, who should remain in the vehicles unless instructed otherwise. Please, no comments as to the efficiency of the authorities. If it is necessary to go to the customs inspection, stay with your luggage; open it when instructed to do so and close it when instructed to do so. While it may seem that the authorities make us wait for a long time, when they have completed their business, they expect us to move immediately. Be ready!!
Mexico Entry Requirements
1. Vehicle Title or Registration Receipt. Owner is considered the NAME(S) on the title only. For example: Wife cannot take car if the title is only in the husband's name. If names of both husband and wife appear on title, either one may take the car.
2. Birth Certificate or Passport. (Voter's registration card MAY be accepted)
3. Visa, MasterCard, Diner's, or American Express card with the SAME NAME as on title.
4. Valid Driver's License (with photo and same name as on title).
5. NOTARIZED letter of permission from the bank or Lienholder is sometimes required on FINANCED CARS.
6. NOTARIZED letter of permission is required on vehicles that are RENTAL CARS, LEASED CARS, OR COMPANY CARS (church owned vehicles included). This needs to be on company letterhead (see attached copy of ours).
7. No BORROWED CARS or BORROWED CREDIT CARDS are accepted.
8. You will sign an affidavit of promise to return the vehicle to the United States.
9. Car insurance is not required in Mexico, but it is strongly advised to obtain insurance before entering Mexico. Insurance can be obtained in Weslaco, Texas, upon arrival. See attached example of the rates from Sanborn's Insurance. These rates are subject to change.
10. If crossing with minors (under the age of 18), you will need a notarized letter of permission signed by both parents, or signed by one parent when with the other parent. If neither parent is available, a notarized letter stating the reason will be required.
11. It is against the law to transport weapons, firearms, or ammunition into Mexico.
12 A fee of approximately $21.00 (US) will be charged for each Tourist Visa the Mexican Government issues. This Fee is to be paid within 3 days of issuance of the Tourist Visa at a recognized Mexican Bank. The Fee is good for the length of the Visa only.
Please adhere to the following:
No one will be permitted to leave the group at anytime without the expressed consent of the mission coordinator or team leader in charge. Never under any circumstance will a mission member leave the group alone. No group will be permitted under any circumstance to leave the main mission group, except with the expressed permission of the mission coordinator or team leader in charge.
Water and unpacked or uncooked food in Mexico is subject to infestation of microscopic bugs that can cause extremely uncomfortable intestinal disorders. DO NOT DRINK THE WATER! Bottled, purified water is the only water safe to drink.
Do not eat in any location not approved by the mission coordinator or team leader in charge. We will most likely be served a meal at one or more of the churches and/or homes we could visit. DO NOT FEAR THESE MEALS. The Bible tells us in Luke 10: 7-8, "And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you." (KJV)
The rank and file of the citizens of Mexico are apt to judge our group, our Church, and our country by our dress and our behavior. Because their cultural background is so very different from ours, their views on good taste in dress and behavior also differ widely from ours. Mexican Christians can be seriously offended by many styles that are widely accepted in the U.S.A. In order to not be offensive to our friends whom we are visiting, we ask you to follow certain dress codes.
Dresses or skirts with blouses only when we leave the hotel for the church location. At the hotel or traveling to or from the US/Mexican border knee-length shorts or slacks are permitted. Makeup and jewelry are to be used moderation.
No dresses or skirts above the knees and no sleeveless dresses or blouses. Skirts should be full, pleated, or a-line. Shorts must be knee-length walking shorts. (No bike shorts.) One piece swim suits are permitted when at a swimming pool only.
Slacks and shirts are to be worn when we leave the hotel for the church location. At the hotel or traveling to or from the US/Mexican Border knee-length shorts are permitted.
Skin tight pants or cut-offs, tank tops, or sleeveless shirts are not appropriate. No earrings. Blue jeans (without holes) may be worn, and all shorts are to be knee-length walking shorts. (No bike shorts.) Modest swim suits are permitted when at a swimming pool only.
By using your best judgment and dressing modestly, we hope to avoid embarrassing situations. We cannot expect to influence men and women with the Gospel message if our freedom and customs are flaunted before them. Please read I Cor. 8:9-13. The Apostle Paul (he was also a missionary) was talking about eating meat here, but we can also apply this to our appearance. Do not treat this lightly. We don't want to be responsible for hindering someone from coming to Christ by our selfish insensitivity. Social customs in Mexico are quite different than in the United States. Do not insist that they understand our views as to what constitutes Christian conduct. We are visiting in their homeland and are the "foreigners" down there. The Christians of Mexico feel very strongly about appearances that contrast them with the unsaved.
The Mexican Christians' standards of friendship between boys and girls are quite conservative. Displays of affection between unmarried couples (inlcluding engaged couples) such as holding hands or embracing in public are not considered appropriate. Married couples may hold hands and embrace one another modestly. We ask our group to remember that we are consecrated as missionaries, and we can refrain from romantic activities for these few days.
Show deep respect for the Mexican people. They are wonderful human beings with dignity and personal pride. Do not speak disparagingly of them, their country, or even the dirt and other unsanitary conditions. Don't joke about their money, their homes, their food or anything about them. Remember many Mexicans can understand enough English to know what you are saying and will be offended by any unkind remark, although you may be kidding. For instance, don't discuss conditions in a given neighborhood when Mexicans are nearby.
Full respect for the coordinating staff should be shown at all times. Disregard for authority is offensive to the Mexican people.
Parents with small children are asked to keep an eye on them, as there will not be provision made to assume this position.
Any illness or accident, however slight, must be reported to the proper staff member.
Everyone is solely responsible for their own luggage, equipment, and personal effects at all times. You are responsible for any lost or stolen property of yours. We cannot be responsible for your gear.
Men: one suitcase and one shaving kit.
Women: one suitcase and one cosmetic case.
No animals, birds, plants, fresh fruit (with seeds) or vegetables may be brought back to the United States.
Most of the Mexican people you will meet will be smiling, courteous, helpful, and easy to please. They will be quick to be offended if you are rude or discourteous. Remember, you will be doing something worthwhile in winning friends among the Mexican people for yourself, but more importantly, for the Lord. You will be proving by your love, consideration, and concern that not all people from the United States are self-centered.
Our desire is that we might minister as effectively and for as long a period of time as possible. Because of this, the following have been considered so that adjustment to certain areas of our trip can be done quickly. Please read all of the following statements so that we can obtain the results which God would require of us on this mission trip to Mexico.
1. Smile. Always smile in Mexico when you meet people. Don't wait for them to smile first; they may be waiting for your smile.
2. Shake hands at every opportunity. The handshake is absolutely the greatest friendship gesture in Mexico. They will love you if you shake their hands. Even the children want to shake your hand, and will be disappointed if you ignore them. Don't pass up the opportunity to shake hands.
3. Don't poke fun at anybody or anything. The Mexicans are people, just like you. They may be shy, but they really feel honored when an American will show respect for them. They deeply resent being joked about. So don't make fun of their language (it is more expressive than ours), or their money. Never joke about their clothes, their customs, or anything about them. Remember you will be the foreigner down there, not them.
4. Don't pity them. Many of them are poverty stricken (by our standards). They may have very little food, they may dress poorly, and sanitary conditions may be deplorable compared to U.S. standards, but skip it and don't pity them. Accept them as they are, wonderful people, just like you. The dignity of man includes the wonderful people of Mexico, too.
5. Be courteous and gracious at all times. A slight bow of the head and a smile is a beautiful gesture in any land.
6. Laugh with them - never at them. The Mexican has a wonderful sense of humor, but he can pick up on an unkind remark quickly and will resent it.
7. Learn a little of their language. Even a few words will delight them. They love to hear Americans say things like, Muchas gracias (thank you), Buenos dias (good morning), Hermano (brother) or Hermana (sister), and especially Amigo (friend).
8. Don't hesitate to say "no" to anyone who tries to sell you something you don't want or something you suspect the price is too high on. Mexicans have been told "no" for centuries, and you won't offend if you say "no," especially if you add "Gracias" with it.
9. Remember, above everything else, this mission trip is designed to reach the lost of Mexico. All activities, recreation, etc. are secondary. At no time will we neglect the work of our primary objective which is winning the lost to Jesus Christ.
The people and conditions in Mexico, materially speaking, are basically poor. Everywhere we will go there will be those in need. Our specific purpose in Mexico is to help people to come to know Christ. From our affluent society, we as Christians have found that true joy doesn't come in having a lot of material possessions but in knowing a friend who is always faithful, and that friend is Jesus. With this in mind, no gifts should be given to the Pastors, children, or other individuals without first getting the approval of the mission coordinator.
We may forfeit the opportunity of ministering to many because they may think we are showing favoritism. Minister the Word to their hearts and their material needs will be provided for. Matt. 4:4 says, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
May each of us allow our lives to be brought into the unity of the body of Christ, that the ministry of this trip might be the most rewarding experience of our lives and of the lives of all those reached for Christ.
On the mission trip we want everyone to have at least one opportunity to give a testimony in Mexico. We strongly recommend that you take advantage of this opportunity to witness, through an interpreter, to the congregation among whom will be Mexican people who have never heard before that Jesus saves!
HOW TO GIVE A TESTIMONY IN MEXICO
The language barrier need not be a problem in worshipping with and ministering to the people of Mexico. There are a few things that should be observed in speaking to them through an interpreter.
1. SMILE!! The Mexican Christian expects the Christian from the U.S. to be happy. So smile. Not a forced, strained one, but a sincere smile of happiness in Christ.
2. Gesture a bit, naturally and not overdone. Let your enthusiasm for Christ show through.
3. BE VERY COMPLIMENTARY. The Mexican citizen is strongly nationalistic. They LOVE their country. They have heroes, holidays, and a culture that they are proud of. So speak of THEIR country as a wonderful place to visit. REMEMBER, you are a foreigner down there.
4. Speak up loud enough to be heard clearly.
5. BE BRIEF. Remember that a five minute testimony is really a ten minute testimony when given through an interpreter.
6. Give your testimony in short statements, pausing often for the interpreter to keep up with you.
7. Keep your testimony limited to what Christ has done for you, how much you love Him, and what He can do for them.
8. Photographs- DO NOT take pictures of military, police, or non-Christians (unless in a public area).
Prices will vary depending on the size of the group, the project you might do, the village or town visited, and/or the specific needs of the group. As a rule of thumb, prices will vary any where from $300.00 to $400.00 per person for a one-week (Monday thru Saturday) trip. This most often will include fuel, food, and lodging from your home location and return. These costs are meant to be examples and are not firm prices. Exact prices will be figured at the time of planning with your leadership or missions committee.
Hotel prices as of November 1998;
Prices are per room not per person.
1 person 150.00 pesos $15.00 US
2 persons 160.00 pesos 16.00 US
3 persons 180.00 pesos 18.00 US
4 persons 195.00 pesos 19.50 US
In addition, vans, mini and full size, are available to rent from National Rental in Harlingen, Texas. These vans will come with letters of permission and as of November, 1998, the cost is $750.00 US per week.
Remember: YOU ARE AN AMBASSADOR WHILE YOU ARE IN MEXICO, not only for your country, but for the Lord as well. The impression you leave will reflect favorably or unfavorably with those who are observing you.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact your trip coordinator, or you can reach the LGOM offices by calling 956.968.5784 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Thank You and God Bless,
Tom and Sheila Shidler
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