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					                  Last Revised on 4/23/09

Missions Manual
Table of Contents
Who Is ORPHANetwork?                                                                                        3
Having a Life Changing Trip                                                                                 5
Trip Details                                                                                                6
 Preparing to Go                                                                                            6
 Packing Checklist                                                                                          9
 While You Are There                                                                                       11
Team Roles                                                                                                 14
Nicaragua Info                                                                                             15
Frequently Asked Questions                                                                                 16
Our Board of Directors                                                                                     17
Staff                                                                                                      17

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…” (James 1:27)    2
Who Is ORPHANetwork?
Who We Are and What We Do
God has a tender place in his heart for orphans. ORPHANetwork is a compassion-based 501(c)(3)
Christian ministry that equips the church to care for orphans.

           Our mission is to help orphaned and abandoned children in third world countries
           fully realize their God-given potential.

We do that by creating relationships between developing nation and third world nation churches to
strengthen and expand the scope of care provided by Christian, church-connected orphanages. Together
these partnerships are helping meet children’s physical, emotional, spiritual and educational needs and
creating real lasting change in their communities.

Our History
ORPHANetwork began as a mission project of Spring Branch Community Church
(www.springbranch.org) in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The student ministry began making trips to Vera Cruz,
Nicaragua in 1995. Soon parents were noticing a change in their students who were now making
repeated trips to the region to care for orphans at Casa Bernabe orphanage. Spring Branch senior pastor
Michael Simone traveled to Vera Cruz and returned home to share the story of what was happening in
Nicaragua with his congregation.

The Spring Branch congregation responded by giving and going. Church members began giving regularly
through Spring Branch’s monthly community fund offering. Students, adults and entire families began
making short-term mission trips to the area. The church developed a “Christmas Wish” program to
provide orphans with a rare opportunity to shop at their local marketplace for clothes and toys.
Hundreds of people participated, enabling Spring Branch to partner with other churches and businesses to
make Christmas special for thousands of orphans.

As the mission grew, Simone realized that there was an enormous opportunity to share this life-changing
experience with other churches.

Spring Branch spun off its mission program to establish ORPHANetwork as an independent nonprofit
organization in 2000. Today we are a network of individuals, organizations and churches helping care “for
the least of these.”

Our Affiliations/Accreditations

          Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability

          Christian Stewardship Association

          National Points of Light Foundation

          Willow Creek Association

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…” (James 1:27)   3
Our Values

          To honor God and demonstrate the love of Christ in everything we do.

          To work with indigenous partners in accomplishing our mission.

          To operate with complete integrity.

          To equip and empower churches to be meaningfully engaged in overseas missions work.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…” (James 1:27)   4
Having a Life Changing Trip
A mission’s trip can be one of the most amazing weeks of your life, but it does take some work on your part to
prepare emotionally and spiritually. Here are some quick pointers:

     1.    Start preparing early

                  a.   Do not let trip deadlines sneak up on you. The additional stress of preparing for your trip will
                       create anxiety and hurt your overall trip experience.

                  b.   Fundraising can be one of the most difficult parts of preparing for a missions trip. Make sure
                       to create a good plan and get started early so you are not surprised with the trip approaching.

     2.    Pray

                  a.   Spend the time to bring your trip before the Lord before you go. He will begin to prepare
                       your heart for the things he will show you, and better equip you to serve the children.

     3.    Learn about Nicaragua, the orphanage, and the kids’ names

                  a.   It’s always best to spend a little time in books or on the internet learning about the place you
                       will be serving. ORPHANetwork has basic materials available, but there are plenty of other
                       resources to learn about the city you will be serving and Nicaragua as a whole.

     4.    Get to know your team

                  a.   It always helps to know the people with whom you will be serving. God will teach you a lot
                       through your serving as a body, and will often use these trips to form deep friendships.

                  b.   Consider serving with your team on something local before you leave. It will bind you
                       together as a group and teach you about what God has called you to do in Nicaragua.

     5.    Understand you are there to be servant’s, not saviors

                  a.   We follow Christ’s model in entering a broken world, “For even the Son of Man did not
                       come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." -Mark 10:45:

     6.    Before you leave prepare a plan to communicate with all the people that supported you

                  a. Spend time before you leave considering how you will communicate you experience to the
                       people that supported you both financially and prayerfully. Consider taking pictures or
                       keeping a journal that can bless them, and bring them into the experience.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…” (James 1:27)              5
Trip Details
Preparing to Go
One of the keys to a successful short-term mission trip is being properly prepared.

Our Host Partner
Cristiana Iglesia Verbo is our indigenous partner for trips to Veracruz, Puerto Cabezas, and Bluefields.
Verbo’s ministry includes a 90-acre training center and farm, three orphanages, four Hurricane Mitch
relief sites, a medical clinic, churches in the Puerto Cabezas and Bluefields, and a number of church plants
around Nicaragua. Verbo Ministries is currently educating more than 1,400 children in four schools.
Verbo Ministries is directed by Bob and Myra Trolese who have been serving in Central America since

Nicaraguan Foundation SIANIJ (SI A la NIñez y la Juventud), translated, this is “Yes to Childhood and
Youth” is our host partner for all trips going to the El Canyon orphanage. This is a German Foundation
that has been working with Nicaraguans in need for years. They have a school, orphanage, and family
feeding program. We also work closely with a Baptist church in the El Canyon community.

We customize each trip for specific groups (i.e. youth groups, families, ministry teams, college students,
etc.). We are not able to accommodate children under the age of 14 unless accompanied by parent or
guardian. We do create trips geared specifically for families.

Trip Costs
An 8-day trip to an orphanage in Nicaragua ranges in price between $1,200 to $1,800 depending on
airfare and the group’s choice of lodging and activities. Trip costs include: transportation (both roundtrip
airfare and travel within country), food and boarding, activities, supplies for onsite projects, and staff-
related supervision costs. Trip costs also vary based on the specific desires of each group such as staying
in a hotel, additional sight-seeing day, etc.

All payment deadlines will be set with your church leader. Checks will be handled within your church
allowing for more immediate accounting support. All deposits and payments are non-refundable. In order
to assure the most affordable trip pricing, all payments need to be postmarked by the due date. Late
payments may be subject to a late fee.

State Department Travel Information
Nicaragua is a young democracy with a developing economy. ORPHANetwork maintains an ongoing
presence in Nicaragua. We are in constant contact with our onsite staff and national partners about
travel conditions and check with the U.S. State Department before every trip’s departure. To learn more
about State Department travel advisories visit their website at www.state.gov.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…” (James 1:27)     6
Health Insurance
ORPHANetwork purchases insurance coverage on a case to case basis as discussed with the trip leaders from
each church.

Other Health Information
In the interest of your best health you are urged to drink only bottled water while in-country and to take
sunburn precaution with 30+ SPF sunscreen and possible (although rare) malaria on the East Coast by
applying insect repellent frequently.

Medical Requirements
The U.S. State Department strongly recommends that individuals traveling to Nicaragua ensure that all
their routine vaccinations are up to date. Vaccination against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B are
recommended by the CDC, although not required. Travelers taking prescription medications should bring
an adequate supply with them when coming to Nicaragua. Information on vaccinations and other health
precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at www.cdc.gov/travel .

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends being vaccinated for the following:
      Hepatitis A            Hepatitis B
      Rabies                 Typhoid

And that you have already received booster doses for:
       Tetanus        Diphtheria

You should bring any prescribed medications as well as any over the counter drugs you may need. Always
consult with a physician before taking any medication.

Required Documents
In order to go on an ORPHANetwork trip you must have:
     Trip Application
     Valid picture ID
     Current Passport
        If you do not have a passport, you can pick up an application at any Post Office. Be
        aware that it can take up to 8 weeks to process and receive your passport.

You will also need 2 copies of the following completed and signed documentation:
     Trip Application
     Release, Hold Harmless & Consent Form

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…” (James 1:27)    7
Devotional Material
Going on a short-term mission trip can be a life-changing experience. Before you board the plane, you
should make sure that you are spiritually prepared. ORPHANetwork provides pre-trip Bible study
material as well as daily devotionals for your time in country. If you would like to additional literature
that pertains to this missions’ experience, we recommend any of the following books:

          Good News About Injustice (Gary Haugen)
          If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got To Get Out of the Boat (John Ortberg)
          Compassion, A Reflection on the Christian Life (Henri Nouwen, Donald Mcneill, Douglas Morrison)
          No Greater Love; Total Surrender (Mother Theresa)
          Walking with the Poor (Bryant L. Myers)
          When Invisible Children Sing (Chi Huang, Irwin Tang)

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…” (James 1:27)     8
Packing Checklist
        Short sleeve or sleeveless shirts
        T-shirts (no spaghetti straps)
        Lightweight shorts (no short shorts)
        Swimsuit (one-piece, no bikinis)
        Beach towel
        Flip flops or sandals
        Tennis shoes
        Shower shoes/flip-flops
        Casual dress or skirt (for church)
        Hat (for sun and rain protection)
        Sleep wear
        Pair of pants or jeans
        Shell/rain jacket for rainy days (especially in Bluefields)
Note: Some of the clothing recommendations are made to be sensitive to the culture you will be visiting (i.e. no
tank tops or bikinis). Please consider it a small sacrifice to serve the people you will be visiting and living among.

          Sun block, lip balm
          Soap, shampoo
          Insect repellent
          Others (toothbrush/paste, deodorant, etc.)

          Alarm clock
          Bath towel (to leave at orphanage)
          Bible
          Journal/notebook and pen
          Camera & film
          Flashlight
          Extra batteries for flashlight, CD player, etc.
          Sunglasses
          Water bottle
          Hand sanitizer (i.e. Purell)
          Photo of family
          Snacks

First Aid/Medications
          Aspirin or pain reliever (i.e. Tylenol, Advil)
          Band-aids
          Antibacterial ointment (i.e. Neosporin)
          Imodium AD
          Pepto-Bismol
          Rolaids/Tums
          Eye drops
          Any medications you require

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…” (James 1:27)                 9
Packing Requirements
Baggage restrictions vary based on location. If you are taking a domestic flight you are only allowed 50lbs
per checked bag. All international flights allow two pieces of checked luggage per person.
ORPHANetwork will work with each group to deliver donations and letters in the available checked bags.
Here are some simple packing tips:
     Pack all personal items in carry-on if at all possible
     If traveling with checked bags, pack 2 days of clothing and toiletries in carry-on
     Do not pack valuables in checked bags

ORPHANetwork is not responsible for lost or stolen items in the airports, though, if needed, we will help
you replace them while in country.

If your group would like to bring gifts or supplies for the children and orphanage staff we recommend:
      Twin-size bed sheets
      Towels
      Diapers
      Baby wipes
      Baby formula
      Spanish-language books
      Spanish-language DVDs, computer games
      Clothing (all sizes, good condition)
      Tennis shoes
      Children’s toys
      Basic medical supplies (band-aids, gauze, children’s Tylenol, rubbing alcohol, thermometers, etc.)

Please check with our office prior to your trip and we will be able to tell you if there are any additional or
urgent needs that your group might want to collect goods and supplies for.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…” (James 1:27)   10
While You Are There

ORPHANetwork offers a variety of opportunities on our missions trips in order to best serve the unique needs
of your church. Our leaders work directly with your church to plan a trip that is just right for you.

Examples of onsite projects & activities

          Hosting Vacation Bible School
          Helping on onsite farming projects
          Hosting a carnival or BBQ
          Helping children with schoolwork
          Putting on an arts and crafts time or story time for younger children
          Helping build or repair facilities

Examples of offsite work opportunities

          Taking children to medical or dental appointments
          Taking children to the beach
          Visiting other nearby orphanages and refugee camps
          Distributing supplies and food to needy families in local communities
          Cultural trips in the community (vary based on location)

Sample Daily Schedule
8:00             Prayer and devotional time
8:30             Breakfast
9:15             Morning activity while kids are at school, such as a work project
12:30            Lunch
2:00             Afternoon activity with the children, such as trip to the local pool
6:00-7:00        Dinner
7:30-9:00        Porch time
This is a sample of what our daily trip schedule may look like. Times and events are subject to
change. Please remember that the key word in a third world country is flexibility!

Within our trip package ORPHANetwork works with each group to find the most affordable and
comfortable flight arrangements. Trips to Managua generally fly through Miami, Atlanta, Houston, or San
Salvador depending on the season for groups and location of the church.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…” (James 1:27)   11
Food and Water
All meals are well balanced and specially prepared for our teams. The meals will be a taste of Latin
culture, but more than comfortable for the group. Bottled water will also be available at all points during
the trip.

Medical Facilities
While it is our goal to have no health concerns on our trips, we still prepare for the event of an accident
at all our locations. In the event of a health issue, both the ORPHANetwork trip leader and the leader
from your church have authority to take action based on the severity of the issue. For example, either
leader can choose it is an appropriate time to send a team member to a clinic, hospital, home, etc.

Appropriate steps should be taken depending on the specific situation. ORPHANetwork deals with
health concerns in the following order:

          Patient visits team nurse (if available)
          Patient is sent to trusted medical support in local community (clinic, doctor, nurse, etc.)
          Patient is sent, with a team member if necessary, to the Vivian Pellas Hospital in Managua. This is
           the nicest hospital in Nicaragua and has exceptional care by physicians trained in the developed
          Patient is sent back to the states for medical attention

Payment for medical services is typically done on a cash basis although the Vivian Pellas Hospital will
accept major credit cards for payment. ORPHANetwork will assist the patient in working with the local
medical support, but cannot assume the responsibility to pay major medical bills. Insurance claims will be
dealt with on a case by case basis, depending on who is being reimbursed and the severity of the claim.

Entry Requirements
All trip participants are required to present a valid US passport into enter Nicaragua. Each traveler must
also purchase a $5 tourist card. The exit tax is covered in your ORPHANetwork fee.

Money Exchange
The local currency in Nicaragua is the Cordoba. The approximate exchange rate is US $1 = C $17. All items
needed items on your trip are covered by ORPHANetwork. We do recommend you bring cash for personal
items and souvenirs while on the trip. All cash should be in the form of new bills no greater than $20
bills. Larger bills are more difficult to exchange in Nicaragua. Credit cards are not widely
accepted. There is nowhere to cash traveler’s checks.

If you are serving the Casa Bernabe orphanage in Veracruz:
The onsite team houses have several rooms, with each room holding 4+ people. Each house has three
bathrooms. The guesthouses have electricity, running water and window unit air conditioning, fans, and full

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…” (James 1:27)      12
If you are serving the Casa Bernabe orphanage in Puerto Cabezas:

The onsite team house has several rooms, with each room holding 2-6 people. Others will stay in the
guestrooms of the Verbo Pastor, Earl Bowie. The houses have electricity, running water, fans, some air
conditioner window units, and full kitchen.

If you are serving the El Canyon orphanage in Managua:

The La Quinta Team House in Managua, minutes away from the El Canyon orphanage. There will be personal
beds with 4-8 people in a room. The La Quinta hotel is designed for missionaries and has hot water and fans
(AC is not as necessary at the higher altitude).

If you are serving in Bluefields:

The Caribbean Dream hotel in downtown Bluefields, minutes away from ministry activities and Pastor Ed’s
Church. There will be personal beds with two to three people in a room. All rooms have Air-conditioning,
housekeeping, and hot water.

Contact Information
A member from your trip team will be able to call a stateside contact upon arrival in country to let families know
of your safe arrival. In case of an emergency, you should contact ORPHANetwork Program
Director Tom Weiglein at 757-581-4224 . In country numbers change from trip to trip. Your
church leader will have contact information for the group while in Nicaragua

Trip Safety Rules & Regulations

In order to ensure the safety of each trip participant, to be culturally sensitive to our hosts, and to
maintain our reputation as a sending agency with donors and partners, we have a few policies that all trip
participants must obey. First, no team members may consume drugs or alcohol on a trip. Second, team
members must not be alone whenever they leave the orphanage compound. Third, team members are
not permitted to leave the group alone with a child. Depending on the nature and severity of the
violation, trip participants will be required to notify a parent (if they are a minor) and/or be sent home at
his/her expense.

ORPHANetwork will provide translators for your group. We encourage you to use the translators to
learn more about the children you are serving.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…” (James 1:27)       13
Team Roles
Just as a mission team is a unique part of the church body, each team member is a unique part of the team body.
To have a great trip it is important that your team has a few clear roles. Every team member will want to serve
within their gifts and these are specific areas that it will help to have assigned roles:

          Worship leader- someone to prepare for any team worship times in the evenings as part of the porch
           time activities.

          Team nurse- someone with basic first aid training and has a first aid kit available.

          Donation organizer- someone that is responsible for any donations brought by the team. It is
           important to be very clear on what has been donated and where it will be going. We choose to give all
           our donations to indigenous partners to allow them to distribute as needed.

          Crafts leader- someone that will lead all activities that involve crafts with the children at each
           orphanage. This person is responsible for purchasing the crafts in the US if not provided in Nicaragua.

          Work project leader- someone to lead all team members that are serving in a work project. This
           person is responsible for bringing in needed supplies for the project if they are not available in
           Nicaragua. Not all trips have work projects, but if yours does it is good to have someone that will be
           responsible for the team.

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each
part does its work (Ephesians 4:16)

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…” (James 1:27)               14
Nicaragua Info

NICARAGUA is the poorest Spanish-speaking country in the world. It is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Geography:             Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, approximately the size of New
                       York State. Geographically it is divided into three areas: the Pacific lowlands, the
                       North-Central mountains and the Mosquito Coast. The country consists of regions of
                       rain forests, mountains, and fertile plains. With the largest lake in Central America and
                       more than twenty volcanic peaks, Nicaragua is often called “the land of lakes and

Capital City:          Managua. It is the country’s largest and most urban city.

Climate:               Nicaragua’s climate is typically tropical and humid with dry and rainy seasons. Rainfall
                       varies between 60 and 200 inches a year. The average temperature is 80.

Population:            Over 4.6 million “mestizos” (people of mixed European and Native American descent),
                       ethnic minorities including Native Americans, Africans, and Europeans.

Economy:               Primarily agricultural. The country’s largest exports are coffee, sugar & bananas.

Language:              The national language is Spanish, yet most residents of the Caribbean coastal areas speak
                       English, as well.

Religion:              Roman Catholic (85% of the population)

Time:                  Central Standard Time or Mountain Standard Time at different times of the
                       year. Daylight savings time does change on the same dates as the US.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…” (James 1:27)                      15
Frequently Asked Questions

What does an ORPHANetwork mission trip cost?
Cost varies by site and can vary by trip. An average trip costs between $1,200 - $1,800 per person. The
total cost per participant includes all travel including round trip airfare, lodging, meals, project supplies,
cultural activities, staff-related costs, and pre-trip promotional and preparation materials.

Are there any age restrictions for ORPHANetwork mission trips?
Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian on an ORPHANetwork trip.

What ORPHANetwork staff supervision is at the site?
There will be at least 1-2 ORPHANetwork stateside staff as well as in-country orphanage staff on each
trip. Our staff and national partner staff is responsible for all logistics, transportation, food, lodging,
ministry opportunities, work projects and supplies. They also lead cultural activities and devotional times
at your request. All staff are very well trained and have spent considerable time in country.

How do we get there?
ORPHANetwork will make all travel arrangements for your group both from the States to Nicaragua and
while you’re in country. Most groups will fly from their hometown airport to either Atlanta or Miami
International and then on to Managua, Nicaragua. If your team is serving at an orphanage on the East
Coast you will then take a connecting flight out to either Puerto Cabezas or Bluefields. If you are serving
in Managua or Veracruz you will then travel by chartered bus to your lodging.

What documentation and identification is necessary for international travel?
For international travel you will need a valid photo ID and U.S. passport.

Where do we stay?
Your team will stay onsite at the orphanage in team housing, where possible. If not then we will provide
alternative lodging at a nearby hotel or residential housing we secure for the team.

What can I do to prepare for my trip?
Please see the list on page 6 of this manual.

How do I know it’s safe?
ORPHANetwork staff takes all precautions possible on our mission’s trip. All food is specially prepared
for the teams. All transportation is privately contracted. All medical facilities are accepted by
international insurance agencies. We are in constant communication with our partners regarding the
political climate and overall safety of bringing teams to Nicaragua.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…” (James 1:27)    16
Our Board of Directors

Ted Wille
Retired Executive Vice President & COO, Amerigroup Corporation
Chairman of the Board

John R. Caldwell, Jr.
Senior Vice President, Investments; Wachovia Securities

Todd Bramblett
CEO, LeverPoint, Inc.

Dustin Holliday
Director of Global Outreach, Christian Fellowship Church

Harry Tully
CEO, Uncle Harry’s, Inc.

Rev. Michael M. Simone
Senior Pastor, Spring Branch Community Church

Dick Anderson
Executive Director

Tom Weiglein
National Program Director

Eddy Morales
Field Director, Nicaragua

Mary Paasch
Administrative Assistant

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…” (James 1:27)   17
                                               1500 N. Great Neck Rd.
                                              Virginia Beach, VA 23454
                                        Phone 757.333.7200 • Fax 757.333.7233

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…” (James 1:27)   18

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