FAQSClick on a question to learn a bit more about the ministry and get some of your questions answered here.
Is Mexico safe?
There has been many questions and concerns regarding the safety and situation in some of the border areas in Mexico. We commit to addressing these questions with honesty, diligence, and responsibility. We continue to work in safe communities and environments. For more information and updates addressing safety in Mexico, click here
Where will I stay in while on a YUGO missions trip in Mexico
Each of the various ministry sites have different accomidations
EOC - Enclosed camp facility including: full service kitchen, dining hall, chapel, cafe, & meeting rooms. Sleeping accomidations: dorm-style housing (bunk beds, & some couple and "family size" rooms). Campers must bring own linens unless ordered/arranged ahead of time.
ROC - Ranch-style camp facility including: full service kitchen, outdoor chapel/ampatheatre, & meeting rooms. Sleeping accomidations: some dorm-style housing (bunk beds) and tenting. Campers must bring own linens.
GCH - On site dormitory including: kitchen, & meeting room. Sleeping accomidations: dorm-style (bunk beds) Campers must bring own linens. Other off-site options available as well.
GBH- On site dormitory including: kitchen, & meeting room. Sleeping accomidations: dorm-style (bunk beds) Campers must bring own linens.
El Faro - Home style living including: kitchen, living room, & dining room. Sleeping accomidations: private bedrooms.
Other - Depends on the ministry site; most offering some sort of dorm-style housing, guest rooms, or lodgings in their local church.
What kinds of foods will I eat? Is the food and water safe?
Depends on the ministry site you will be visiting. In most sites (ex. the Outreach Centers) will provide healthy & yummy meals for your team! We will prepare a mix of traditional/familiar American meals (pastas, hamburgers, pancakes) to sharing some great Mexican dishes with you (tacos, burritos, chilaquiles). Investigate the specifics of your ministry site to see what food services are offered.
If you have dietary needs, some sites may be able to provide some options, but it is often encouraged to bring any special foods along with you.All meals will be prepared with attention to quality, freshness and cleanliness. When off site, eat and drink only at approved local sites. Ask if in doubt.We ensure food is prepared in safe manner - including washed in safe drinking water. YUGO sites use all purified drinking water. Don't drink water or brush teeth from sinks/regular taps.
What happens if I get sick or hurt?
As with any outing or adventure there is always some risk. A little prevention and common sense can avoid most illness or injury. Most common illnesses that people encounter on programs such as this can be solved by drinking water. Dehydration or sun stroke will cause dizziness, fatigue, headaches, sore throats and a variety of other symptoms that can easily be avoided. Do your part to ensure you have a pleasant and healthy experience by drinking plenty of water, using sun screen/hat, pacing yourself/know your limits, wash your hands/sanatize regularly, and use common sense. Also be cautious when on construction sites and other ministry sites - avoiding rowdy horseplay, don't use tools you don't know how, and be aware of those around you. It is also important each team comes down with a well-stocked first aid kit for each of their ministry teams.
In the event of illness or injury, YUGO knows the best pharmacies, clinics and hospitals in the area. We equip our staff on which hospitals to take campers to in the case of emergency. Very few, if any, Mexican medical facilities accept American/Cdn insurance. You will need to pay with credit card or cash. Once the emergency is stabilized you will need to call your insurance company to report the incident. The facility will supply a detailed breakdown of the services provided so you may submit the bill to your insurance carrier when you return home.
Will I have access/ability to communicate back home?
In the case of emergency, each YUGO site has the ability to call and receive calls out of country (often have US internet lines). You can contact your cell phone carrier to discuss international possibilities if you would like to use your personal phone for your personal communications and travelling.
Some of the sites also have wireless/internet access for team leaders to communicate updates back home. Please inquire if your ministry site has this available.
(also note that some sites will post regular team updates & photos on their facebook pages - follow us on social networks here)
What if I don't speak Spanish?
You will discover that language barriers can soon be broken down after being together, playing together, working together. You will find ways to connect and communicate through simple words, gestures, and don't forget hugs and kapochis (piggy-back rides!). Take some time before your trip to learn some helpful phrases. There are many online resources such as here, here or here . Most of our YUGO staff are bi-lingual on various levels and will help communicate as well. You can also hire interpreters through YUGO to help with your program teaching and communications.
How long does it take to cross the border?
Coming into Mexico, there is often no line up or wait at the border. You will likely not even have to stop or be checked. In some cases you may be pulled into 'secondary' and questioned (often with trailers, large trucks, etc). They usually just want to make sure you aren't taking items into Mexico to be sold. Simply share the purpose of your trip to Mexico, explain the suitcases are your personal luggage for your team and you should be on your way again within minutes. If you are taking large amounts of donations (lots of extra clothing, large items, etc) into Mexico, it can be more difficult. Be sure to talk to our YUGO site coordinator on how to proceed.
Returning to the States, however, is a different story. The San Ysidro border crossing is the busiest port of entry in the world. Over 200,000 people cross through the border between San Diego and Tijuana each day. Border traffic is a fluid situation that is never predictable. Certain days and times are typically busier than others but we have found we can never second-guess a typical day. We know for sure that any US or Mexican Holiday will be extra busy which can add an easy hour to the usual 1-2 hours. If you are flying home the same day you are departing Mexico, it is highly recommended your flight departure time is late afternoon or early evening - especially if you are working with the Ensenada Outreach Center or further south. You may even want to consider having a hotel room lined up in San Diego the day you depart Mexico and fly out early the next morning. This also helps avoid driving in the middle of the night/morning to meet your flight.
Do I need any shots?
There are no required or mandatory shots. Please check with your church/teams requirements. However it is highly encouraged to have an up-to-date tetanus shot. Some consider having Hepatitis A & B shots since we are working with children.
Do we have to have construction experience to participate in the homes of hope ministry?
Absolutely not! We have worked with teams of all shapes and sizes - professional contractors to junior high kids to families. Whether you know how to swing a hammer or not, we can use you. The ministry will provide the plans, materials, tools, and leadership to get the project completed. We know what needs to be done each day in order to meet the goal. We just ask you come ready to work hard and serve. There will be jobs for everyone - painting, cutting, hammering, etc - each with different levels of skill needed. It's always helpful if your team has a key leader that has experience in construction to work alongside our YUGO foreman, as well as leadership to organize your team, keep them motivated, etc.
Who chooses the families to receive houses in the homes of hope program?
How is the ministry funded?
The ministry is completely funded by the support and donations of our partners. Various churches, individuals, and organizations donate funds to YUGO and its staff (who are also dependent on raising their own support) When teams participate in mission trips and partner with us, we are able to do more for the people of Mexico. Also, 10% of your donations are held for administrative fees and development. Consider how you can support YUGO Ministries here
What does YUGO mean?
YUGO is an acronym for Youth Unlimited Gospel Outreach. It also is the spanish word for "yoke" in which we can see the biblical images of bearing the burdens or carrying the yoke for others. And finally, with the word YUGO, we can also hear the phrase "You go!" which speaks to our desire to encourage and call people into action!