"Application for DBC Mission Trips"
1 DBC SHORT TERM MISSION PLANNING AND POLICIES 11.09.08 2 DBC SHORT TERM MISSION PLANNING AND POLICIES Chapter I: Overview of STM vision and values 4 Chapter II: Roles and Responsibilities of Team Leaders 8 Chapter III: Roles and Responsibilities of Missions Ministry 14 Chapter IV: Team Training 16 Appendix: Forms, Guidelines, Team Building 20 3 CHAPTER I OVERVIEW OF STM VALUES AND VISION 4 Chapter I: Overview of the purpose of DBC Short Term Missions It is important for teams and team leaders to understand the greater purpose of Short Term Missions and how they fit into the overall mission of DBC. We want you to know the part you are playing in the big picture. Part of your responsibility as a leader is to help your team members see the inspiring big picture and how their serving on this team fits into the larger story of God. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth, go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you; and I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 18 – 20 The purpose of the church is to make disciples of Jesus, to show His Way to all peoples. Central to this is the transformed life of each disciple that is then passed on to others. Thus, the DBC mission is to… Love Jesus and become more like him. DBC Core Values: Core Values are non-negotiable, in that everything that Dunwoody Baptist Church does must be done with these guiding principles in mind. To do something counter to these values would not be consistent with the mission of Dunwoody Baptist. Dunwoody Baptist Church draws all authority, including our Core Values, from Scripture as the Holy Spirit leads and identifies. A member of DBC will serve the real and felt needs of people, both in their community and beyond. This way of living involves intentionality and purpose. All of life is seen as a series of missional opportunities, reflecting Jesus in each and every relationship. Authority of Scripture: The Bible is the true and living Word of God, shaping our very lives as we journey through the ebb and flow of daily living. (Psalm 12:6; 2 Timothy 3:16 -17; 2 Peter 1:20-21) Worship: adoration of the risen Christ (Psalm 95:6; John 4:23-24; 1 Chronicles 16:29) Discipleship : embracing and sharing the living Word of God (Luke 9:23-24; Matthew 28:16-20; Ephesians 2:11-13) Community: intentionally fostering meaningful relationships with others (Acts 2:42-47; Philippians 2: 1-18; Hebrews 10:24-25) 5 Sharing: embracing opportunities to compassionately proclaim and share the living Word of God with others in word and in deed. (Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:11-21; Matthew 5:14-16; 1 Peter 3:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:8) Missional: Empowering people to use their passion on purpose to be the presence of Christ. (Luke 10:29, John 13:14-15, I Corinthians 4:1, Mark 10:45) Prayer: everything we do will be under-girded and surrounded by fervent prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17; John 15:5-16; 2 Chronicles 7:14) Faith – Ministry Priorities Dunwoody Baptist Church believes that how we accomplish our mission is as important as the mission itself. Therefore, we seek to glorify God through characteristics that honor people and exalt the Lord. Just as a family is accountable to one another, we as a church family and all members of the Body of Christ are also accountable to the Lord. The maturing follower of Christ celebrates their unique giftedness, yet takes seriously the new nature of who they are and who they are becoming in Christ. This new nature, if properly nurtured, ultimately transforms the entirety of one’s life and the following characteristics will become more evident as one submits to the standard as defined and embodied by Jesus Christ. A Christ follower will… Be a person of character – a result of a growing relationship with Jesus Christ; lives characterized by integrity; solid, stable and secure. Honor others – providing an atmosphere of respect where each person can contribute and thrive. Pursue graceful relationships – practicing thoughtfulness, kindness, generosity, courtesy, freedom, forgiveness, encouragement, and appreciation of others’ differences as we inspire greatness in those around us. Pursue excellence – reflecting the infinite excellence of the God we serve; producing the highest quality ministry programs, materials, and personal service possible. Glorify God – living by faith; entrusting our talents, finances, and plans to God’s control. Be accountable to one another – a willingness to answer for one’s life, characterized by vulnerability, teachability, honesty, and availability. Short-term Mission Trips Philosophy: The Global Outreach Team of DBC considers short-term mission trips as a key discipleship tool to be used in the life of a believer. Therefore, trips and training are designed to disciple participants into having a missionary mindset. A short-term mission trip is NOT a retreat or camp where you pay your money and then go. Being a team member is a privilege and, like Paul and Peter, one is recognized and earns the right to be sent. 6 Purpose of Short Term Mission Initiatives: For those going Short Term Mission teams provide a unique experience for people to experience significant life change and defining moments. It is our hope that each team reflects the DBC core values and priorities for each person that participates. We rely upon the authority of Scripture as a basis for our short term missions. Our God is a missionary God and as his people, we are called to “go” always. It is God’s will that all people know and obey him. We are always on mission. Scripture provides the scope of missions (all the world) and the function of missions (making disciples.) The response of each team should be that of worship. More than just being thankful for a meaningful experience, each person should be glad they know Christ. In Luke 10, Jesus sent out his followers. Upon their return, they spoke of the wonders they had seen. Jesus reminded them to be thankful that their names were written in heaven. In other words, remember that it is because of knowing Christ that we are able to have such meaningful experiences on mission. The goal of mission is to worship. As John Piper says, “missions exists because worship does not.” The purpose of our short term mission teams is discipleship. We want to help people love and become like Jesus. More than just the task of each team, our goal is to see transformation. Much of what we do can be accomplished by the local ministries we visit. However, the greatest benefit to short term missions is the impact it has on the people who go. The goal is lifelong change – discipleship – not just a short term experience. We hope people develop the mindset of always being a missionary. The context of the mission is community. Short term teams provide a unique opportunity for community to develop both for those going and for those the team meets on the field. It is our hope that each team develop close bonds with each other and the locals they serve that extend beyond the trip. We also want short term teams to be prepared to share their faith on the field and when they return home. The training can help prepare members to share their lives, their stories, and God’s purposes with those they meet on the field and at home. The short term mission experience can help people embrace a missional lifestyle – to live and think like a missionary – even after they return home. Prayer helps to shape the heart of the team to reflect that of Christ. It opens the door to the movement of God’s Spirit in and around the group. It prepares the field that the team will visit and increases the heart’s sensitivity to the work of God. Praying together is key for each team to grow closer to one another and develop dependence on God for their work. It is our hope that the discipline of prayer that is practiced will extend beyond the mission experience. 7 CHAPTER II ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE TEAM LEADER 8 Chapter II: Roles and Responsibilities of the Team Leader Role of a Team Leader: As a team leader, you are responsible for your team and your trip. You will have the primary responsibility for selecting, training, organizing, and leading the trip which may include communicating directly with the missionary or national on the field. This does not mean that you need to do all of the work by yourself- delegate! However, it does mean that you are responsible to see that it all gets done. The Missions Ministry is here to assist, serve, and help you in any way that we can. (See section: The Role and Responsibilities of the Missions Ministry) Responsibilities of a Team Leader: 1. Personally: Communication: Communicate with your co-leader(s) and your team – the more they know, the more effective they will be in the field. Communicate with the host missionary / contacts – plan details before you arrive and take responsibility to communicate while you are there. Communicate with the missions staff – you will be responsible for meeting deadlines and following a schedule. You should keep us informed as to the status of your team. If you need anything from the church (like a room for having team meetings) then you need to go through the Missions Ministry. Delegate Responsibility: This allows your team members to feel more connected as they take ownership and get involved. Practice and preach flexibility. Model how you want your team members to respond and act. 2. Administratively: Trip logistics – all travel arrangements, project needs, and medical/visa requirements Budget and accounting – creating and adhering to the team budget and accounting for all church money with a detailed spreadsheet. Prepare for possible emergencies – bring the medical supplies, copies of Passports, emergency information for each person on the team. 3. Team Preparation: (Chapter IV) Schedule, organize, and facilitate team preparation meetings. Help instill a vision for the trip as part of their loving and becoming like Jesus. Encourage team members in their fund-raising efforts. Help team develop cross-cultural knowledge and skills (learn as much about your host country and how to relate to nationals) Assign team roles: team accountant, photographer, transportation to and from airport, project leaders, etc. Debrief your team on the field and upon your return to help ensure long term growth beyond the trip. Plan the post-trip follow up meetings. 9 Administration Logistics: Team Selection - You and the Missions Ministry (staff and Global Team) will select the team members from the application and references. Travel Needs – Visas, shots, and travel advisories vary from country to country. You need to be aware of what the needs are for your team. Helpful websites include the Center for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) and the State Department (www.travel.state.gov) Team Itinerary – You will work with the Missions Ministry and the host missionary to determine the itinerary. Transportation – Transportation to and from the Atlanta airport, and transportation in the host country. Accommodations – Where will you stay in the host country? Do you need sleeping bags? Will you need a hotel? You will coordinate these details with the host missionary. Equipment and Supplies – You will find out from the host missionary what your team needs. Audio, video, sports equipment, construction materials, English materials, and instruments are a few possibilities. Project Needs – You will be responsible for making sure that your team is ready for the project. Most of this will be included in the team training. Paperwork: Team Budget – A best estimate and summary of what the trip will cost including all team training needs beforehand (ex. team retreat). Expense voucher for trip – You will be responsible for the money that you take with you. This means that you need to keep receipts or get a second signature when a receipt is impossible. The expense voucher must be turned in within two weeks of returning to the U.S. Short Term Team Application – Includes insurance information, liability release forms, emergency contact information. Copy of every team member’s passport - One copy to be turned into the Missions Associate in case of emergency and you should have a copy with you as well. Written summary of the purpose, location, and dates of the trip along with a team photo, if possible, to be submitted to the Missions Associate two months prior to the trip. This will help us promote and pray for your team. 10 Finances and Budget Budget: The biggest part of the budget is usually airfare. If possible, have the host missionary put together a budget for your stay. You will need travel insurance (acquired by Missions staff), possible taxes to enter the country, etc. Be sure to include any other items for training like retreats, books, and unexpected expenses. A team budget worksheet is provided in the Appendix. A budget includes pre-trip estimates of costs and post-trip actual costs. The actual costs of the trip will be compared to the pre-trip estimates to come up with the final expenses owed to / by DBC. Raising Support: You will be helping your team send out support letters. Make sure your team members do not wait too long to send out their letters. Challenge them to send out at least 50 letters – to friends, family, church members, etc. (Consider, just $40 per person = $2,000) Keep in mind the following guidelines: Members raise money for the team! Some members will raise more than others which goes to the team bottom line. Teams should expect to raise 100% of their funds. DBC will come in to make sure the trip happens, but it should not be assumed that DBC will contribute a set percentage to the team. Team members should intentionally send “thank you” notes after the trip. See the appendix for a detailed explanation of support raising. Accounting: The purchase of airline tickets can be done by any team leader and charged to a credit card. Once this is done, reimbursement requests should be made to the Missions Associate. Any money given to you before the trip needs to be accounted for with a travel expense voucher (see appendix). All of the money needs to be returned or explained for IRS purposes. Therefore, you need to keep receipts for all purchases or have two signatures on purchases where receipts are impossible. The money should be spent on meals, accommodations, travel, project needs, necessary living expenses, and emergency needs only; all personal expenses, snacks, or souvenirs are considered personal expenses. The travel expense voucher must be turned in within two weeks after you arrive home! 11 Trip Timeline It’s important to keep a schedule to help plan, promote, and prepare for your mission trip. This is a sample schedule and is not meant to be set in stone. You should submit a schedule of your trip plans to the Missions Associate at least 5 – 6 months prior to the trip if possible. A quality trip occurs in organized phases. These are guidelines and suggest the best case scenario for trip development. Phase 1: Trip Planning / Determination 8 months prior to departure: Contact Mission partner / host in the field to determine the needs / work of a potential team Potential team leaders identified Phase 2: Trip Publicity 6 Months prior to departure: Trip dates and objectives established Final approval of trip by Missions staff / Global Outreach Team Projected budget plans Team leaders selected and begin training using Team Leader Handbook (arrange with Missions staff) Major publicity for trip and applications given out (team recruitment) Phase 3: Team Selection 4 - 5 months prior to departure: Applications handed out and possible information meeting held Deadline for turning in applications – team leader begins selection process Team selection is finalized within one week and team members are notified of their selection and first meeting. Budget and all major logistical details are established (including airfare). Phase 4: Team Training 4 months prior to departure: First team meeting is held with a training schedule and important dates included. Support letters are sent out. Passport applied for if needed. 12 Phase 5: Church Involvement 2 - 3 months and immediately prior to departure: Order plane tickets / reimburse airfare DBC offers prayer support Commissioning service Phase 6: TRIP Phase 7: Re-entry and Follow-Up Return date to 1 month after returning home: Trip debriefing meetings Thank you letters to senders Leaders debrief meeting with Missions Minister and Associate Submitting final budget of actual costs to Missions Minister Settling of funds between DBC and team Communication plan of team experiences back to DBC developed 13 CHAPTER III ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE MISSIONS MINISTRY 14 Chapter III: The Role and Responsibilities of DBC Missions Ministry The DBC Missions Ministry is your partner in creating a successful team experience. We are here to support you in your calling to disciple your team and lead an effective mission. In addition to the roles and responsibilities outlined for each team leader, the DBC Missions staff (Missions Pastor and Associate) along with the Global Outreach Team is responsible to each team in the following ways. Leader Support: New Leader orientation through the STM Policies and Procedures Manual Regular communication with team leaders concerning finances, team selection, and trip details Assisting leaders in setting budgets, training timelines (so as not to conflict with other church events that might discourage participation), and administrating details of group insurance and reimbursements. Team Support: Arranging needed on campus resources (rooms, equipment) for team meetings Sending notes to team contacts / supporters as a way of thanking and preparing them for the return of team members (see appendix for sample note) Creating links between teams and groups (ex. classes, Core Groups) that will offer prayer and / or care packages for teams. Helping to communicate team stories to DBC family upon return Host Support: Communicating with hosts after the trip for team evaluations: How was the trip from their perspective? Evaluating needs for additional resources based on the team experiences: Are there other needs that DBC should consider in light of the recent STM? Making adjustments to current DBC support based on team experience: Should the partnership change in any way based on the experience of the STM? Missions Ministry Contact Info: Jeff Reams, Minister of Missions firstname.lastname@example.org 770.280.1200, ext. 3012 Jenna Montroy, Missions Associate email@example.com 770.280.1200, ext. 3014 15 CHAPTER IV TEAM TRAINING 16 Chapter IV: Team Training Sessions Team Training Leading your team into a cross-cultural experience is a big undertaking. It takes a great deal of preparation. Your effectiveness as a group depends on how well you function together and how prepared you are to perform the mission of your team. It is important to prepare the team to have a missionary mindset to effective serve cross-culturally. Training should be organized into three main areas: pre-field, on-field, post-field. Help your team to see that the post-field debriefing is much a part of their STM as anything else! People are busy so it is important that meetings be effective for training. Here are some basic guidelines: Give them the basic but necessary information in order to function as a unified team to engage the work they are to accomplish together (which often turns out NOT to be the work they have prepared for). Focus on the most important items they will need to be successful Focus on team building! Your unity as a team will be a good witness to your host. As the team leader, it is up to you to facilitate the training through your own efforts or by delegation. Creating the right environment for the team to learn and bond can be as important as the information you are teaching. Be creative and fun! Utilize different technologies to communicate – ex. consider a team blog! (www.blogger.com) Make the team meetings inspirational and interactive. Focus on team building, avoid reading information they can read on their own. The main topics you will need to cover include: General trip information Support raising Passports, Visas, Shots Team Policy Philosophy of STM at DBC Roles and Responsibilities of Team Leaders and Team Members How to prepare a testimony Cultural research and understanding Specific project preparation Packing and travel Post-trip debriefing dates 17 The preparation and training schedule is based on 10 team meetings (8 pre-field, 1 on-field, 1 post-field) but that can number can be reduced if you take a team retreat. You will need to set specific dates and plan out the training schedule before the first team meeting and coordinate the details with the Missions Associate. Below is an outline of the session topics. (Based on CultureLink,Inc.) Session 1: Pre-field paperwork Session 2: Being Together Session 3: Your Host Culture Session 4: Becoming Cross-Cultural Session 5: Ministry Preparation Session 6: Team Building Session 7: Travel, Packing and Health Session 8: Preparing to leave Session 9: On the field training Session 10: Post-field debriefing and follow-up Make this schedule work for you and your team. The most important thing is to unify your team and prepare them for the work. So, if you’d like to combine sessions into a retreat or cover multiple sessions in a lengthier meeting, do so. A retreat, for example, could combine sessions 5, 6, and 7. But, don’t skip anything just because you consider it unnecessary or because you feel like you’ve been on this trip so many times that you can skip certain training. Our goal is discipleship, not just doing a trip or getting a job done. Remember: Your host culture has changed since your last trip! There are members on your team who have never been and so need full training! This is a new team – either previous members have changed since the last trip or you’re taking along new members entirely! So, do the training!!!! Follow the team session instructions in CultureLink provided through the DBC Missions Ministry. For additional copies, contact the Missions Associate. **Inform the Missions Associate about your training schedule and topics. **Provide a training schedule to the team at the first meeting. Set the expectations early. **Decide how many meetings a person is allowed to miss – which ones are mandatory. 18 On-field Training/Debriefing In addition to the recommendations in CultureLink, consider the following questions during your team meetings on the field. Your main objective should be to help your team members process what they have experienced so that they can apply what they have learned to their every day life at home. Schedule a day of down time at the end of your trip. Encourage team members to take time out to process what they are seeing and doing. Seize moments to talk one-on-one with team members during the trip. Here are some sample questions you can ask during the debriefing time: What do you think is most challenging for the nationals ministering here? What would you dream for them? What advice would you give to a friend considering a mission trip? Who is the one person from this trip that you hope to keep in contact with? Explain the importance of keeping your promise to write. How were you challenged during this trip? Tell of one memorable moment in trying to communicate with the nationals. What one thing have you learned from the nationals? Tell of a time when you were frustrated on this trip. What did you do? What have you learned about yourself on this trip? What gave you the most joy on this trip? Tell of a time when you felt overwhelmed. What did you do? What one thing from home are you longing for? What is one word you would use to describe: o The food o The bathrooms o Sleeping in this country o The children o The church services o The smell that you associate with this country o The weather o The transportation What was a humorous moment for you on this trip? What new word did you learn? What are some things to pray for the host country? What one item do you now wish you had packed? What did you learn about being a part of a team? How is this trip different than what you expected? What best prepared you for this trip? Tell every member of the team what you appreciated about him or her. 19 APPENDIX FORMS GUIDELINES TEAM BUILDING HELPFUL WEBSITES 20 Appendix: Forms, Guidelines and Team Building Ideas Guidelines for STM Selection, Training and Support Raising: Location Selection: Short-term Mission trip locations will be selected using these criteria: • Field sites that support our on-going partnerships. • Field sites which promote on-going partnerships. • Field sites which have personnel to support a team well. • Field sites which share DBC’s short-term discipleship philosophy. • Field sites which have potential to become future DBC partners. • Field sites which have invited DBC to come to their field location. Team Selection Selection Process to be on a DBC team: Step 1: Each person must complete an application (prior to first team meeting) and turn it in to the team leader by the designated application deadline. The leader then sends the application to the Missions Associate. Applications will be kept on file. If one is selected for a team and serves on that team positively, they may re-activate their application for future teams by notifying the Missions Associate. Step 2: Applications will be reviewed by the GOT and the short-term team leaders of the trip for which they are applying. References may be checked for new applicants. All applicants will be considered, but will not necessarily be selected. Step 3: Applicants will be notified in writing about their application. If selected, they will receive a training schedule. If not, they will be informed why they were not selected. Selection Criterion: Criterion 1: Area of Ministry The applicant must be a match for the area and type of ministry in which the team will engage. In other words, can the applicant do the work of the team? Why? Why not? 21 Criterion 2: Church Participation The candidate must be actively involved at DBC. People involved in other local churches will be considered only after DBC participants have been given first priority. Criterion 3: Consistency of Character If any questions arise about an applicant’s character, attitude, etc., they will not be considered for a team. DBC will not jeopardize a field site with an unqualified applicant. Training: Because of DBC’s discipleship philosophy and its desire to enhance the ministry with whom the team will serve, training is required of all participants. Participants are expected to attend training sessions and engage faithfully in the process. Those not faithful to the process may be asked not to go on the trip. Financial Support It is the responsibility of team members to raise 100% of their support through the process outlined in the training. However, the Global Outreach Team is looking for people to be “faithful in the process.” If a participant is “faithful in the process” and is lacking some support, the Missions Ministry will supplement the difference. All funds raised for a particular team are designated and used for that team and its related projects. Key principles: God wants to show us his provision. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Support raising allows other people to take part in the mission. So, don’t keep others from being blessed by giving. Support raising is team building. So, build your support team by communicating the work of the team and saying thank you. Short-term Mission Trip Team Leaders • Team leaders are required to attend CultureLink training. • Team leaders are required to have participated on a DBC team prior to leading. • The Missions Ministry will underwrite 75% of the team leader’s expenses. 22 STM Financial Guidelines This is a reminder and a review of the general guidelines for fund raising that are listed in detail in another document. Experience has taught us that repetition is important. Each team member should inform all of their potential supporters of the following: 1) Make all checks to Dunwoody Baptist Church 2) In the Memo line, write Costa Rica Mission Trip or Jamaica Mission Trip, etc. 3) Donors are NOT to put the name of the team member on the check. (A note or “Post-It” can be attached to the check to identify the person being supported.) 4) Members should instruct donors to send checks to the team member (not DBC). 5) As each team member receives the donations, they should (a) send a Thank You note to the donor, and (b) give the checks and/or cash to the Point Person (Team Leader). 6) The Team Leader will bring all checks to the Mission Office to be deposited in the appropriate account. (Many Team Leaders make two such deposits – at the midpoint of the pre-trip training and again just prior to departure on the trip.) 7) Team Members should expect to raise 100% of their support. If you are underwriting your trip If you want to underwrite your trip, you should still send a prayer letter to help the team raise support. An example sentence in your letter might read, My personal needs for the trip are taken care of; however, if you would like to assist with the outreach project in _______, please make your check payable to “Dunwoody Baptist Church” and mail to me. Rather than sending me support, your help for the team would be greatly appreciated. These guidelines accomplish a number of important goals. First, writing the check to DBC in the manner described above (Steps 1-3) ensures that IRS guidelines for charitable giving are followed. The donor can be assured of tax deductible status of the donation. Second, routing the donations through the team member (Steps 4-5) enable team members to make contact with their supporters and to keep track of the amount of donations received. Third, if checks are sent by individual donors to the Mission Office, the accounting process is unduly complicated. For example, more than one mission trip may be planned within a short time frame. If the donor just puts Mission Trip on the check’s memo line (in spite of the team member’s instructions), the Mission Office has no idea which trip or which team member the donation is intended to assist. Fourth, in addition to each team member being informed of the amount of donations for their trip, the Team Leader will also be able to keep track of the support process. Since fund raising is a TEAM effort, the whole team will be kept current of their progress by adhering to the financial guidelines listed above. 11.08 23 STM Funding Levels Each team should expect to raise 100% of their funding. The Missions Ministry is looking for people to be faithful in the process of raising their funds. Thus, if a team is coming up short, the Missions Ministry will contribute funds based on the following percentages: Team Leader: 75% of cost up to $1,000 Team Member (first trip): 50% up to $1,000 Team Member: 25% up to $1,000 Student: 50% up to $1,000 24 Team Budget To give consistency to our accounting, each team leader should prepare this budget worksheet and give it to the Missions Associate about 6 months prior to departure. The Missions Pastor and Team Leader(s) will meet after the trip to discuss the differences in the estimate and actual costs to finalize the accounting of the trip. Category Estimated Cost Actual Cost Airfare Meals Lodging In-Country Transportation Team Insurance Country Entry Tax Country Exit Tax Team Projects Team Training Miscellaneous Total for team: Number of team members: Total per team member: Difference between estimated and actual: Sight seeing and touring expenses are considered personal and are not to be included in what DBC might be expected to underwrite. Other such expenses include immunizations and visas / passports. 25 See also the spreadsheet for team fund raising. We ask that each team assign the role of team accountant to keep track of donations and submitting those to the team leader. The team accountant can be a team leader. We request the following forms when accounting for your trip: 1. Team Budget 2. Support raising spreadsheet 3. Trip expense report Samples of all these forms are in this handbook. 26 Team Policy It is important to establish some basic expectations and team policies that all members agree to prior to leaving in the trip. The purpose of the team policy is to make sure all members are on the same page and to give leaders something to refer to in guiding the team. Feel free to adapt this template to fit the needs of your team. Be prepared to provide a copy of the team agreement to the Missions staff. The team policy should include: (adapted from CultureLink) Statement of purpose: What is the purpose of the team? What is your team going to do on the STM? Team Guidelines: Example topics. Team Unity: The members of the team commit to being one in spirit and purpose in order to make the joy of Christ complete by considering others needs ahead of our own and spurring one another on to love and good deeds. The team will work toward unity through meeting daily as a team, holding each other up in prayer and accountability. Relationships with the Opposite Gender: As a practice, men should minister to men and women to women. Team members should use discretion when relating to members of the opposite sex so as to be above reproach in all we do, and be an effective witness in our mission context. Conflict Resolution: o Within the team: Each member will be receptive toward constructive criticism and advice from others. Team members will maintain an attitude of learning. Team members will commit to pray about all grievances or complaints. Members will keep grievances to themselves without spreading negativity to the entire team. The team leaders will be consulted if the conflict can not be worked out between the members directly involved. There will be no public disagreements. Discussions will occur in private. Team leaders will not criticize team members publicly. Team members will not contradict team leaders publicly. o With a national: If there is a problem with a national, the situation will be brought to the team leaders who will then decide how to respond with the host missionary. Female team members should not approach male nationals. The team leaders are the final authority to conflict resolution. Team Preparation: Team members agree to participate in all of the training sessions (pre-field, on-field, post-field) unless the team leader has approved their absence. This includes team meetings prior to the trip, team meetings during the trip, and the debriefing sessions after the trip. The STM starts now and extends beyond arrival home to the final debriefing meeting. Thus, the team member’s role on the team begins upon approval for the team and ends at the last team debriefing meeting. A total of 2 meetings prior to the trip are excusable. Should a team member not be able to make sufficient meetings (at the discretion of the team leader), then the team member may consider taking a STM at another time and stepping down from the current mission team. 27 Dress: The team will respect the local customs of dress. Our purpose is to be Christ-like in attitude so we will dress with humility and sensitivity to others in order to focus our mission on the work Christ has for us to do. o General dress o Dress when involved in ministry activities o Dress at church services o Dress during personal time Gifts: Gifts will be given at the end of the trip so as not to make the receiver feel obligated to give a gift in return. Gifts given to a host family should be of the nature that both husband and wife can enjoy. Gifts given to nationals should be given in private, away from a public or group setting. We want to obey the teachings of Jesus in giving secretly. If a team member receives a gift that seems extravagant or make them uncomfortable, they should defer to the team leader before accepting the gift. The team leader should then respond to the giver. Relationships with Nationals: Team members will develop relationships with nationals using appropriate etiquette for the local culture. Team members should operate in a way consistent with following Jesus and that does not create an impression that would compromise the team’s testimony. Ministry Accountability: Each team member will meet with their prayer/accountability partners to pray and talk about the trip and needs they may have. Each team member will participate in team meetings. Spiritual Accountability: Each team member will nurture time with God in prayer and seeking God’s guidance first on all issues before bringing them to another team member. Politics: Team members will avoid talking about American or local politics in the presence of non- team members. If team members are asked their opinions about politics, they will try to emphasize a biblical perspective concerning relevant issues. Team members should use any such discussions as a stepping stone to share the gospel. Use discretion. Time and Flexibility: Team members must be punctual to team meetings and ministry events. The team will be flexible to unexpected changes to the schedule. Security and Protection: No team member will venture out by themselves without another team member unless approved by the team leadership. Team members should always inform team leaders of where they are going. Females should not go out without a male team member. Relationship with Missionaries: The team will submit to the leadership and instruction of the missionary. They know best how to do the work in their own context. Team members should avoid giving out personal information to those they interact with while on the mission field. If they are approached about personal information, the team member should say that they are doing all their communication with the host/missionary. So, if the national has any requests, they should make them through the host/missionary. Finances and Shopping: The team will honor the Lord with our personal finances by not exploiting wealth in front of nationals. Illness: If a team member becomes ill, the team will purpose to pray for their healing. The team will not use illness as an excuse not to participate and will be wise in protecting their bodies. The team will pray for the health of the team prior to departure. If someone needs to return home early, another team member will be assigned to travel with them. Promises: Team members may be tempted to make promises in the form of “coming back next year,” offering to help meet a particular need, or suggesting that DBC may create a “partnership” or give money. Avoid making any sort of statements that could be seen as a promise. Even an offer to “help” in most contexts can be seen as a promise of money. Team members can say that if God 28 wills they will return and/or they will pray for the particular need and see what God wants done. There is a process for establishing a DBC partnership, so do not make any suggestions that DBC will help the local ministry or national. Team leaders will share with the DBC Missions Staff any prospects for further developing partnerships. Adhere to the DBC STM Guidelines: o Team members are ambassadors for Christ. They represent Christ, DBC, and the USA. Thus, each team member should strive to be above reproach in action and attitude. o Team members must submit to the Team Leaders authority. o Team members must refrain from abusive language, alcohol consumption, illegal drugs, smoking, etc. o Team members must refrain from political discussions due to possible anti-American sentiment. o If at any time a team member’s behavior compromises the witness of the team, or effectiveness of the ministry, the team leader has the authority to return the candidate home. Any additional costs incurred as a result of this action will be at that candidate’s expense. As a member of this team, I have read and agree to the guidelines above. I agree to abide by these policies during our mission trip. Name Date Team member should be given a copy of this policy for their records. The original should be kept with the team leader. A copy should also be sent to the Missions Associate. 29 Master Checklist Use this master checklist to keep track of the paperwork for your mission team. The Missions Associate will regularly check in with the team leader to gauge the progress of the team. Initial Request Form Received – Date: Update Forms Received – Date: Applications Received: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Passports on File: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Insurance Obtained – Date: Copy of Airline Reservations Emergency Contact Information Listed – Date: Transportation to and from airport confirmed – Date: Room Reservation Forms (for meetings) filled out and turned in to Jenna 30 SHORT TERM MISSION TRIP (STM) INITIAL REQUEST FORM A. DESTINATION --- B. HOST/CONTACT(S) --- C. DATES --- Pre-Trip Information Meeting -- Deadline for sign-up – Training Meeting – Trip Departure date – Return Date – Post-Trip Post-trip Photo Party – Post-Trip Debriefing – D. PURPOSE OF THE TRIP --- E. ANTICIPATED COSTS (Total and per person) -- F. DESIRED TEAM MAKE-UP (Number of members, teams, etc.) -- G. LEADER(S) – Name Phone Email Submitted by: Date: 31 Sample letter sent (emailed or mailed) by the Missions Ministry to specified contacts of team members during the actual mission trip. March 9, 2009 Dear Family Members of the Jamaica 2009 Team, I know our Jamaica Team is having a blast and making a difference in the lives of nationals. Thanks for sharing them with the world! A mission trip can be life changing. God uses these experiences to bless the nations and the participants. We know that the team will return home with many stories to tell. We also know that folks back home have not had the experiences of the team so may not always be sure how best to talk with them about what they’ve seen and done. Enclosed is an article that will help you guide your returning world traveler in sharing about their trip. Take some time to review this document and spend time listening to their experiences! Thanks again for sending and supporting the Jamaica team. Blessings, Jeff Reams Minister with Missions Dunwoody Baptist Church Enclosure: “Welcome Home!” Article 32 Application for DBC Mission Trips DBC Short Term Mission 1445 Mt. Vernon Rd. Atlanta, GA 30338 770.280.1200, fax 770.280.1203 Mission trip (location and date): _________________________________ Personal Information Full Name: _____________________________ Preferred name:_____________ Address: _______________________________________________________ Email:_____________________ Telephone: __________________________ Male/Female: __________ Marital Status: _________________________ Spouse’s Name: ______________________________________________ Passport Number: ________________Place of Issue:___________________ Issue Date: ___________________Expiration Date:______________________ Country of Citizenship: ______________________________________ If not the US, are you a permanent resident? ___________ Emergency Contact Person: _____________________________ Relationship: _____________ Email: ________________________________ Telephone: (day) ___________________ (evening) ____________________ (cell) ___________________ Church Involvement Are you an active participant of Dunwoody Baptist Church? Yes No If yes, how long? _________________________________________________________________ If no, with which church are you a member and for how long? ______________________________ Have you taken DBC’s Discovery class? Yes No Are you currently a part of a Core Group and/or Sunday School class? Yes No 33 If yes, who is the leader of the group? __________________________________________________ Please list the ministries with which you have been involved. (Please list time of involvement, any leadership positions held, and the organization/church which was responsible for the ministry.) Missions Experience – Local & International What mission trips and/or community impact activities (i.e., Serving Atlanta) have you participated in during the last 12 months? ___________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Have you had any training in sharing your faith? ______ If yes, please describe: _____________________________________________________________________________ Health Please list any pre-existing illness, surgeries, allergies or medical conditions. ______________________________________________________________ Please list any medications you are presently taking. Are you in good health? ________ If no, please explain: ________________________________________________________________ Date of last physical examination: ____________________________________ Name & Phone Number of your Doctor: ________________________________ Do you have medical insurance: ________ Name of Insurance Company:_______________________________________ 34 Is there any reason why you cannot tolerate any of the following? ___Rigorous outdoor activity ___High temperatures ___High altitudes ___Low temperatures ___High humidity Please list any special dietary needs:______________________________ ___ Other: ____________________________________________________ Life Insurance Information Date of birth ________________________________________________ Beneficiary__________________________________________________ Relationship _________________________________________________ Address _____________________________________________________ Statement of Faith and Belief Please write a brief testimony sharing your salvation experience and beliefs: ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ What are two things you hope to see the Lord do in and through you on this mission trip: _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ What makes you interested in short-term service at this time? ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ 35 Please list any skills, talents or gifts that you feel may be helpful to this team: ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ References (For new applicants, please provide an email address where a reference form can be sent to each person listed.) Spiritual mentor/leader Name: ______________________________________ Relationship: ______________ Address: _______________________________________________________________ City: _________________________________ State:___________Zip: ______________ Phone: Home:__________________Work:____________________ Email:_______________________ Friend/co-worker (non relative) Name: __________________________________ Relationship: ______________ Address: _______________________________________________________________ City: _________________________________ State:_______________Zip:__________ Phone: Home:__________________Work:____________________ Email: ______________________ Authorization The information I have given Dunwoody Baptist Church is accurate and true to the best of my knowledge. I also give Dunwoody Baptist Church the right to use my picture, voice and/or testimony in any form of promotional advertising materials that may be developed. My signature, below, (and signature of my parent/legal guardian if I am under the age of 18) signifies authorization. If selected to be a part of this short term mission team, I make a commitment to: Go through the training process prior to departure and after I return from the trip Conduct myself in a manner worthy of the Lord while serving Him with the team Submit to the authority of the team leader and the host on the field and to team policies Refrain from any behavior which may compromise my witness, the witness of the team, or the ministry which we will be serving on the field (ex. abusive language, drug use, etc.) Additionally, if at any time while on the project my behavior constitutes a problem, the team leader has the authority to return me home. Any additional costs incurred as a result of this action will be at my expense. Signature__________________________________Date___________________ Signature of legal guardian (if under 18)________________________Date_____ 36 Legal Waiver I am aware that all positions on this mission team are voluntary, without financial remuneration. I agree to abide by all present and subsequent rules of Dunwoody Baptist Church. I clearly understand that raising expenses (see DBC guidelines for members), including travel to and from the designated mission location will be my responsibility. I further agree that Dunwoody Baptist Church has the right to discontinue my participation in this ministry at any time at its sole discretion. I recognize that participation on a trip of this nature may be hazardous or dangerous. Therefore, I am, for myself, my heirs, executer and/or administrator, releasing and forever discharging Dunwoody Baptist church and all its officers, agents, servants, and employees, acting officially or otherwise, from any and all reason of injury, damage (including property, damage to any of my belongings), loss or death which may occur from any cause including but not limited to, any accident and/or occurrence while participating individually or with others while with this mission agency and/or this mission trip. Furthermore, I realize all contributions to Dunwoody Baptist Church are tax deductible. Contributions are non-refundable in the event that the applicant chooses not to participate in the program. The financial disbursement of these funds is at the discretion of Dunwoody Baptist Church. I have read the above and understand my commitment to participate and my financial commitment. Signature ___________________________________Date_________________ Signature of Guardian (if under 18) ________________________Date________ 11.05.08 37 Re-activation of Application for DBC Mission Trips (Update Form for Persons Who Have Been on Previous DBC Mission Trips) Mission trip (location and date): _________________________________ Personal Information Full Name: _____________________________ Preferred name:_____________ Address: _______________________________________________________ Email:_____________________ Telephone: __________________________ Male/Female: __________ Marital Status: _________________________ Passport Number: ________________Place of Issue:___________________ Issue Date: ___________________Expiration Date:______________________ Country of Citizenship: ______________________________________ If not the US, are you a permanent resident? ___________ Emergency Contact Person: ________________________________________ Relationship: _____________ Email: ________________________________ Telephone: (day) ___________________ (evening) ____________________ (cell) ___________________ How would you describe your walk with Christ this past year? Church Involvement Are you an active participant of Dunwoody Baptist Church? Yes No If yes, how long? _________________________________________________________________ If no, with which church are you a member and for how long? ______________________________ 38 Have you taken DBC’s Discovery class? Yes No Are you currently a part of a Core Group and/or Sunday School class? Yes No If yes, who is the leader of the group? __________________________________________________ Please list the ministries with which you have been involved since your original application. What are two things you hope to see the Lord do in and through you on this mission trip: ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ What makes you interested in short-term service at this time? _____________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Health Please list any pre-existing illness, surgeries, allergies or medical conditions since your last application . ______________________________________________________________ Please list any medications you are presently taking. ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Are you in good health? ________ If no, please explain:_______________________________ Date of last physical examination: ____________________________________ Name & Phone Number of your Doctor: ________________________________ Do you have medical insurance: ________ Name of Insurance Company:_______________________________________ Is there any reason why you cannot tolerate any of the following? ___Rigorous outdoor activity ___High temperatures ___High altitudes ___Low temperatures ___High humidity 39 Please list any special dietary needs:______________________________ Life Insurance Information Date of birth ________________________________________________ Beneficiary__________________________________________________ Relationship _________________________________________________ Address _____________________________________________________ Authorization The information I have given Dunwoody Baptist Church is accurate and true to the best of my knowledge. I also give Dunwoody Baptist Church the right to use my picture, voice and/or testimony in any form of promotional advertising materials that may be developed. My signature, below, (and signature of my parent/legal guardian if I am under the age of 18) signifies authorization. If selected to be a part of this short term mission team, I make a commitment to: Go through the training process prior to departure and after I return from the trip Conduct myself in a manner worthy of the Lord while serving Him with the team Submit to the authority of the team leader and the host on the field and to team policies Refrain from any behavior which may compromise my witness, the witness of the team, or the ministry which we will be serving on the field (ex. abusive language, drug use, etc.) Additionally, if at any time while on the project my behavior constitutes a problem, the team leader has the authority to return me home. Any additional costs incurred as a result of this action will be at my cost. Signature__________________________________Date___________________ Signature of legal guardian (if under 18)________________________Date_____ 40 Legal Waiver I am aware that all positions on this mission team are voluntary, without financial remuneration. I agree to abide by all present and subsequent rules of Dunwoody Baptist Church. I clearly understand that raising expenses (see DBC guidelines for members), including travel to and from the designated mission location will be my responsibility. I further agree that Dunwoody Baptist Church has the right to discontinue my participation in this ministry at any time at its sole discretion. I recognize that participation on a trip of this nature may be hazardous or dangerous. Therefore, I am, for myself, my heirs, executer and/or administrator, releasing and forever discharging Dunwoody Baptist church and all its officers, agents, servants, and employees, acting officially or otherwise, from any and all reason of injury, damage (including property, damage to any of my belongings), loss or death which may occur from any cause including but not limited to, any accident and/or occurrence while participating individually or with others while with this mission agency and/or this mission trip. Furthermore, I realize all contributions to Dunwoody Baptist Church are tax deductible. Contributions are non-refundable in the event that the applicant chooses not to participate in the program. The financial disbursement of these funds is at the discretion of Dunwoody Baptist Church. I have read the above and understand my commitment to participate and my financial commitment. Signature ___________________________________Date_________________ Signature of Guardian (if under 18) ________________________Date________ 11.05.08 41 SHORT-TERM Mission REFERENCE FORM Dunwoody Baptist Church • Short Term Missions 1445 Mt. Vernon Rd. Atlanta, GA 30338, 770.280.1200 CONFIDENTIAL REFERENCE FORM Thank you for helping Dunwoody Baptist Church and the short-term applicant with the important process of assessing his/her fit for cross-cultural ministry. Your candid and fair responses will help us in this important discernment and assessment process. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jeff Reams at 770.280.1200 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Send / email completed form to Jeff Reams. Your Name: ___________________________________________ Date: _____________ Daytime Phone Number: _________________________________ Name of Applicant: ____________________________________________________________ GENERAL QUESTIONS We ask that you answer all of the questions. If the question is not applicable, just enter N/A in the space provided. How long have you known the applicant? __________________________________________________ In what relationship? ___________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ How do you think this applicant will function in a cross-cultural setting? ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________ How would you describe the applicant's relationship with Christ this past year? ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ 42 Describe how the applicant manages conflict with friends and/or co-workers. ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Describe the applicant's ability to take advice and submit to leadership. ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Is there any other information which we should consider before reaching a decision concerning this application? ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ PERSONAL QUESTIONS Listed below are a number of personal characteristics. Please select one of the choices listed for each grouping of questions that you feel best describes the applicant. HEALTH Frequently ill Fair health Good health Rugged and vigorous Not observed CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE a. Inconsistent and emotionalistic Occasional lapses Generally stable Constant, maturing, contagious Not observed b. Rarely shares faith, either in a program or individually Only shares faith when part of a program, group, or when expected Takes initiative to share occasionally Regularly looks for opportunities to share faith Not observed 43 BIBLICAL KNOWLEDGE Little evidence of in-depth biblical study Occasional Bible study Has taken special opportunities for biblical deepening Sound and extensive understanding of biblical truth Not observed INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS a. Slow to perceive feelings of others Reasonably responsive Understanding and thoughtful Unusually sensitive to the feelings of others; very considerate Not observed b. Easily irritated and offended Occasionally “flies off the handle” Generally patient Almost always copes well with personal frustration Not observed c. Prefers being alone Enjoys both solitude and company Prefers being with others; gregarious Must be with people to be happy Not observed RELATIONSHIP WITH OPPOSITE SEX Insensitive/inconsiderate Sensitive and considerate, but awkward Overly forward or flirtatious Feels at ease; respectful Not observed TASK ORIENTATION Prefers to work alone Usually cooperative Works well with others Most effective in teamwork Not observed 44 Expense Voucher Report for money sent from DBC Amount of $ sent from DBC for trip expenses Amount spent during trip Difference (+ / - ) (The amount spent will be added to the grand total of the total trip costs. DBC's contributions will be calculated based on the final expenses) Amount Amt Spent Receipt? Expense Local $US Y or N TOTAL 45 Summary of Trip Insurance Benefits Trip insurance for the team is secured by the missions office. Below are the basic details of the benefits your team receives from the insurance. The Missions office will provide team members with their insurance cards before leaving for the trip. Insurance Company: Adams and Associates Insurance Website: http://www.aaintl.com/ins_travel.cfm Travel insurance for the overseas volunteer will not cancel their US major medical insurance for the duration of the trip. The coverage includes... Medical Reimbursement Emergency Medical Evacuation Permanent Total Disability Accidental Death & Dismemberment Repatriation of Mortal Remains Travel and Medical Assistant Services EMERGENCY MEDICAL EVACUATION In the event of a medical emergency while abroad, adequate medical facilities may not exist in areas where missionaries may be serving. This covers the expense of transportation and other extraordinary expenses involved in the event of a medical emergency. If deemed medically necessary, arrangements can be made for land and air transport ranging from passage on a commercial airplane to an air ambulance with in-flight physicians, paramedics or nurses and in flight equipment. Included in this program is coverage for costs associated with the repatriation of mortal remains, if permitted by the country. An optional Family Coordination benefit is available to cover approved costs of family members traveling with an injured or deceased covered person. The Assistance Service product provides service benefits that include pre-trip advice and on-location assistance. Medical Assistance can help the traveler get medical attention when the covered person suddenly becomes ill or is in accident. This service helps locate medical facilities; verifies insurance coverage; makes arrangements with providers of medical care to avoid cash deposit requirements, where possible; communicates with family members, personal physicians and employers back home; and assists family or friends traveling with the patient. By simply calling the telephone number provided, the 24 hour service will assist you by providing medical assistance, emergency medical evacuation, repatriation, family coordination and/or legal assistance. 46 It is recommended that you contact AIG International Services (formerly AIG Assist) for any medical emergency so you can be pre-approved for medically necessary travel expenses. To help AIG International Services serve you quickly and efficiently, be sure to identify your group name and identification number, if available. The completion of a specific claim form may be required in some instances. Please refer to your coverage summary for details and specifics of coverage. An AIG International Services I.D. Card can be obtained from your program administrator. If you are set up for on-line enrollments, you may obtain your identification number from your summary page. AIG International Services (formerly AIG Assist): Call Houston, Texas: 24 Hour Service - 1-800-626-2427 Call Collect - 713-267-2525 E -mail at email@example.com 47 Summary of STM Planning and Policies DBC Mission: To love and become like Jesus Team Leader Responsibilities Communication Administration Team Preparation Mission Staff Responsibilities Leader Support Team Support Host Support Team Selection Process Submit Application: either by email or hard copy Application reviewed by Team Leaders, Global Outreach Team Notice of selection via email or letter. Qualifications for Team Selection Giftedness for team mission Active in DBC Consistent in character Team Meetings: Pre-Field, On-Field, Post-Field 8 – 10 in all (Retreat recommended) Follow CultureLink curriculum, team building examples Determine how many a team member can miss Vital to team bonding, establishing a missionary mindset in team Adapt to fit the needs of the team Focus on specific topics Establish debriefing dates prior to leaving Develop a team policy Be creative, have fun! Forms / Information Required to the DBC Staff: Prior to the Trip Copies of Team Applications including copies of passports, visas, waivers, reference forms Copy of Trip Request Form: Mission of Team, Key Contacts (team and in country), etc. Copy of Team Policy Copy of Team Budget Reservations for rooms on campus / supplies needed for team meetings Requests for payment of airfares (money will be transferred to the team account and used to reimburse team leader) 48 Forms / Information Required to the DBC Staff: Post Trip Expense Voucher Form Team Budget reflecting actual expenses Copy of Team Support Raising spreadsheet 49 8 Great Questions – Processing the trip experience You can use these questions to help team members process their trip experience. 50 Helpful Websites Team Building Games http://www.missiontriptraining.com/links.html - Great training aides on a lot of topics related to STM. http://wilderdom.com/games/MulticulturalExperientialActivities.html - Various games designed to help teams prepare for cross-cultural experiences. http://www.wessextraining.co.uk/colourblind-c-307-pr-16546.html - Various corporate training games that are also helpful to teams preparing for cross-cultural experiences. Country Information for Cross-Cultural Research www.infoplease.com/countries.html - Country maps, flags, history, government, etc. www.state.gov – Facts about country land, history, people, government, etc. www.culturegrams.com – Choose a country. See the flag, hear the national anthem, videos, slideshows, photos, recipes; information on its people, land, climate, lifestyle, etc. Travel Tips http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/tips_1232.html The U.S. State Department website with information about traveling in countries around the world. 51