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Trips

Mission Trip or Vacation?

Mission Trip or Vacation?

The difference between a mission trip and a vacation

“A mission trip is just a vacation that someone else pays for.” Lots of mission trip critics say this, and they’re right. Sometimes. At first glance mission trips and vacations do look pretty similar. They both involve taking time off from school or work, traveling to a new place, and taking lots of pictures.

However, if you’re really going on a mission trip, there will always be one huge difference. The difference is your purpose.

However, if you're really going on a mission trip, there will always be one huge difference. 

The difference is your purpose.

Self-centered vs. Selfless

The purpose of a vacation is to maximize your own personal enjoyment, relaxation, and pleasure. It's a trip that's all about you. It's self-centered.

On the other hand, the purpose of a mission trip is to maximize the name of Jesus by serving others. It's a trip that's all about others. It's selfless.

When a mission trip turns into a vacation

Can a mission trip turn into a vacation? Yes, if you're not being intentional.

What are your motives and reasons for going? To snap some cool pictures, get to know a cute guy or girl, or travel to an exotic place? If this is where your motives start and end, you're not honestly on a mission trip; you're more on a vacation because you're only focusing on yourself (self-centered).

What's your motivation?

Since we're all naturally self-centered, we need to be intentional about having selfless motives. It's not bad or wrong to take pictures, have fun with your teammates, or enjoy traveling. However, you don't want one of those to be your primary motivations during your trip. Motives turn into actions. So, if taking pictures is your primary motive, it'll be your primary action all throughout your mission trip.


On the other hand, if you're intentional about having motives like serving others, digging wells, or sharing God's love with children, then these will be the motives that turn into actions on your mission trip.

Think about it

Which way is your trip leaning? The mission trip side or the vacation side? The selfless side or the self-centered side?

No trip is perfect, and we all struggle with self-centered motives. However, if we're striving to be better reflections of Jesus, we need to be moving in a selfless direction. Jesus was rarely focused on getting great selfies during His trips.

Connect Global Visit to the Comedor de JesuCristo in La Ceiba Honduras

Connect Global Visit to the Comedor de JesuCristo in La Ceiba Honduras

Pastor Fredy Ventura is a very dedicated servant to the people of La Ceiba.

He is a man that holds in very high regard the responsibility God has bestowed upon him. His work is run on Faith in God alone. 

Pastor Fredy Ventura in his office at the Comedor de JesuCristo in La Ceiba, Honduras

7 days a week and 24 hours a day, people in La Ceiba can come to the Comedor de JesuCristo and receive a meal.

There are three designated meal times set aside to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, however, because of a rotation of volunteer pastors and church leaders, they will serve a meal to someone in need at any time of day or night. 

The location is centrally located and easy to access. There are no forms to sign, or agreements between those serving and those eating. They have stripped everything down to a basic service of feeding the hungry. At each meal the word of God is preached, and food is served. They do so based on a belief of biblical scriptures instructing them to do so. People wishing to get a meal do not need to do anything except show up. 

Pastor Fredy has told us of numerous times when this community kitchen was out of food with no resources left to purchase food as well.

Serving up to three hundred meals each day is a huge task to undertake and being without food in the pantry is a major problem. Pastor Fredy described one such occasion when one of the volunteer cooks called him and told him the pantry was completely empty. Being a man of great faith, and conviction, he instructed her to put the pots and pans on the stove and to begin boiling water. She did as he said, while Freddy drove up to the kitchen. When he arrived he circled up all of the volunteers to pray for provisions. As they concluded their prayers, a vehicle approached, and out stepped a person no one had ever met offering a trunk load of food to be donated to the feeding program.  

Pastor Freddy truly believes that every meal provided by this program past, present and in the future is directly from God, and he continues to feed those who come because of that faith.

He has shared with us that he has seen many people benefit from this program in their time of need so much so that he has even seen some people get off the street and return to their family and employment. They also have several "graduates' who now volunteer their time and no longer live on the streets like those they now get the chance to serve. 

We are grateful to be able to support Comedor de JesuCristo, Our Team in July served here as well as donated several hundred pounds of food, and medical supplies for a free clinic that is also available.

Pastor Donny Kyker of Odessa, and Javier Mendoza of Connect Global speaking to the guests of Comedor de JesuCristo in La Ceiba.

Pastor Donny Kyker of Odessa, and Javier Mendoza of Connect Global speaking to the guests of Comedor de JesuCristo in La Ceiba.

Connect Global at DINAF in La Ceiba Honduras

Connect Global at DINAF in La Ceiba Honduras

Connect Global Team at DINAF in La Ceiba

Connect Global April Team in front of DINAF in La Ceiba Honduras

Connect Global April Team in front of DINAF in La Ceiba Honduras

Connect Global has been introduced this year to Dirección Nacional de la Niñez y la Familia (DINAF)  a community organization charged with the enforcement of the protection of children, adolescents, and families. They are the front line of child abuse, adoption, fostering, and family counseling. The local branch in La Ceiba has a school with the capacity of 90 and serves between 30 and 40 families a month though free counseling, light medical treatment, groceries, and daycare for working parents. 

The school currently has around 30 students, and between 5 and 10 preschoolers. 

Javier Mendoza, Mayor Carlos Aguilar, Director of Dinaf Rosa, and Travis Moffitt. 

Javier Mendoza, Mayor Carlos Aguilar, Director of Dinaf Rosa, and Travis Moffitt. 

Rosa, the director, has been great contact and has been able to guide us as we jump in and help. 

The Bathrooms at DINAF were unsanitary, hazardous, and in need of consistent running water.

The Bathrooms at DINAF were unsanitary, hazardous, and in need of consistent running water.

In March we began the renovation of two bathrooms that were in very bad shape. The water was not running, the pipes were strewn across the room, and open drains caused not only a danger to little feet, but an overall health hazard to all. 

We also noticed that the kids area was in need of new dining tables for the cafeteria, a new medical table for their nurses station, and several pieces of school furniture needed refurbishing. 

The Connect Global team that arrived in April, was able to jump right into the renovations, and made a huge difference to the place. Sanders, Paint brushes and Mr Clean in Hand, the team made light work of the children's furniture, bathrooms, and medical area. 

Our team, and network of churches, individuals and local businesses made several monetary and physical donations including Medical Supplies, School Supplies, a new Medical Exam Table, and NEW School lunch tables made by a local craftsman and business owner, Oscar Canales. 

I am so proud of the team and their efforts. I am also grateful for the several local and international partners that came together to make the start of this partnership a success. Special Thanks to: Open Arms Church, Revival Temple, Joshua Nations, Oscar Canales, JIlma Molinero, CCI Church La Ceiba, Life Community Church, Dr. Oviedo, Smart Copy Honduras, and Luis and Juana. 

The team was joined on one of the work days, by the Lady Lee Foundation of Honduras, and the Mayor of the City of La Ceiba, Carlos Aguilar, to complete the donations and gifts. 

 

"[DINAF is] a new paradigm of child protection consisting of a decentralized governance with the participation of churches and NGOs engaged in the care of children" - Creación de DINAF para atender a la niñez y adolescencia -

 

Difficult Things

Difficult Things

Difficult things take a long time, impossible things a little longer.
— Author Unknown
Difficult Things take a long time, Impossibe things a little longer. - Author Unknown

Difficult Things take a long time, Impossibe things a little longer. - Author Unknown

Sometimes in life things are difficult and may even seem to be impossible.

Fret not because somewhere in the world today someone is achieving the impossible, and you can too. It will not be easy and it will not come without discipline but it just might take a little longer than you expected. 

Go and make the impossible happen! 


 
 

17 Tips for Surviving a Long Flight in Coach | The Points Guy

17 Tips for Surviving a Long Flight in Coach | The Points Guy

While I usually try to fly business or first on international flights, once in a while a great coach fare comes along and I have to hop on it and deal with the impending doom that I’ll be packed in like a sardine for a number of hours. However, over the years I’ve learned some tips to maximize the coach experience on long flights. In fact, occasional long-haul trips in coach help me stay grounded and appreciate the fortune of knowing how to maximize the value of my points.

I’m 6’7″, so for me, riding in a regular seat with someone reclined in front of me is hell. In fact, I did it recently on a relatively short MIA-JFK flight and at the end of the 2.5 hours, I was about to have a panic/claustrophobic attack. However, I flew to Dublin this weekend formy year-end mileage runand used the following tips with great success.

1)Choose exit row or premium seats.Exit rows have miles of extra leg-room and seats towards the front of the plane or in mini-cabins can provide nicer flying conditions (and may also have power outlets, which are a nice perk). While most airlines block them for elites, some (like Delta) will let anyone choose them at purchase for international flights. If you can’t select an exit row seat, call the airline and ask. Tip: if you snag an exit row, pack an extra sweater- it can be freezing in flight- I have learned this the hard way.


2)Useseatguru.comto make sure the seat you choose isn’t bad. Some rows (like the ones in front of exit rows) have limited or no recline. You also may want to choose a seat that’s away from the galley or lavatories, as those areas can become crowded and who wants to be near a lavatory? Note: seatguru doesn’t always get it right. I find that they give negative remarks to some of my favorite exit rows, just because “it might get really cold”.


3)Check in 24 hours before departure. A lot of airlines open up premium seats for selection at this time.


4) If you can’t get an exit row,ask the gate agent for a bulkhead seat.These are usually held for gate assignment in case there are any families that need to use the bulkhead bassinet or for disabled people. While bulkhead seats may have limited legroom, you won’t have to deal with someone reclining their seat into your limited space. Also, bulkheads are usually closer to the exit, so you can get off the plane and get to immigration before the masses.


5)Find a sleep aid that works for you.I have a difficult time sleeping on planes (especially in coach), so I had my doctor prescribe me Lunesta, which works amazingly for me. One pill at takeoff and within 30 minutes I drift into a comfortable sleep, but I am still aware and can wake up if needed. Some travelers recommend non-prescription aids, such as melatonin or even a swig of Nyquil might work if you are in a bind. Whatever it is, I recommend you use the sleep aid at home first to see how your body reacts. You wouldn’t want to take a strong sleeping aid for the first time on a plane and then realize it makes you crazy. You always hear about people sleepwalking and doing crazy things like urinating in public areas- I wonder how many are looped on drugs and don’t even realize what they are doing.
6)Use an eye mask and ear plugs.I always keep amenity kits from my first/business class flights so that I can bring them when I travel in coach. I used to laugh at people with eye-shades, but my US Airways Envoy Class shades are amazing and block out all light. I also like ear plugs and actually put on my Bose headphones over them to provide extra noise protection. Which leads me to…


7)Get a great pair of headphones. I don’t leave home without myBose OE Audioheadphones, which aren’t fancy, but work well for me. If you want to splurge, you can go for noise cancelingQC Bose headphonesfor $300. If you get the QC 15 headphones, make sure you get points through your airline, such as the2 miles per dollarspent at Bose through American.  The QC15 make a great gift for the frequent flyer in your life. Be sure to also have a double pronged adaptor in case the airline doesn’t have normal jacks.


8)Don’t be afraid to switch seatsonce the boarding door closes. If you find yourself wedged between two lumberjacks in a middle seat, be proactive and ask the flight attendant to be reaccommodated. If there are open seats after everyone boards, its okay to switch, but do so before the plane pushes back from the gate. I did this on my flight today and ended up with an entire 3-seat middle row of a 767 to myself. Also, if you have a premium exit row or bulkhead seat and the flight attendant asks you to switch seats, make sure you are accommodated in an equally good seat (i.e. business class). Don’t be a jerk, but don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and your personal comfort if you run into a situation where someone is in your seat- more often than not, they are probably looking at the seat assignment from their prior flight.


9) If you get a row to yourself,spread out! Don’t worry, its not gauche to be comfortable. What personally works for me is buckling in the middle seat and then sleeping with my head on the arm rest of the aisle seat (either one- in fact I usually switch a couple times to keep it fresh). Tip: Make sure your head doesn’t protrude into the aisle- getting woken up by a food cart is not a pleasant experience- trust me! You will also want several pillows, so try to snag some from other seats. Also, laying a blanket down over the seats will help the belt buckles from sticking into your side. Make sure you put your seat-belt on over your blanket because if the flight encounters turbulence, the flight attendants will check to make sure everyone is buckled in.
10)Don’t assume your seat assignment is set in stone. Equipment swaps happen all the time. In fact it happened to me twice on the Dublin trip. On the way out the 757 was changed to a different model 757, so my exit row aisle seat was just a regular seat. On the way home, the 757 was up-gauged to a 767 and by the time I checked in, all the exit rows were taken. Luckily, the plane was empty so the gate agent felt sorry for me and helped block off an entire middle row. You can always do a dummy booking on your airline’s website to see if the seat map is still the same, or ask a gate agent/lounge attendant to make sure your seat assignment is good.


11)Don’t eat airline food. Airline food (in all classes of service) is loaded with sodium, so combine that with a dry cabin and alcohol and you can end up with a major case of dehydration. For European bound red-eye flights, I always eat healthy food (as much as possible) in the airport, so I can get to sleep right away on the plane. I also invest in a mega-size bottle of water, because it may be over an hour in the air before you get service from the flight crew. By that time, my sleeping pill is in full force and I’m getting quality Z’s.


12)Don’t drink a ton of alcohol. While traveling internationally is exciting and you can’t wait to begin your trip, loading up on booze will have negative effects for days. Dehydration can wreak havoc on your body and it can enhance and prolong jet-lag. Save the partying for your destination!


13)Dress comfortably and practically. I always dress in layers so I can adapt to the temperature on the plane. Sometimes it is freezing, especially by the exit, and sometimes its brutally hot. You want to be prepared for either situation. Personally jeans, sneakers and a t-shirt/long sleeve button down/sweater combo works for me. There is nothing worse than being too hot on a plane and not being able to do anything about it.


14)Wear shoes in the bathroom! I always see people walk into the bathroom in socks, or god forbid barefoot, and I cringe. Have you ever seen the floors of an airplane bathroom? I’m not a germaphobe, but I also don’t  like to test the boundaries of my immune system. There is no worse feeling than getting your socks wet with bathroom byproducts and then having to deal with it because you have no other pairs of socks to put on. Which leads me to..


15)Always have an extra pair of socks, underwear and extra toiletriesin your carry-on. You never know when your overnight trip will turn into a multi-day event due to flight cancellations or delays. It’s always great to have the essentials on you can adapt to anything thrown at you. And in the case you do make the mistake and walk on a wet bathroom floor, you can throw on a fresh new pair of socks and forget about your mistake.


16)Always bring along your own entertainment. Make sure your Ipad is fully charged and you have reading materials, because even if your flight is supposed to have In-Flight Entertainment, often these systems fail and spending many hours without any form of entertainment can make the time creep by.


17)Have a good attitude. Even if you get stuck in a crappy seat, be thankful that you have the means to travel and aren’t part of the 75% of the world’s population who will never step foot on an airplane. We take a lot of perks for granted, so sometimes you just need to suck it up and be thankful. Being angry for an entire flight isn’t going to make the time go by any quicker. I firmly believe in travel karma, so having a good attitude will pay off in the long run.

Do you have any tips for surviving coach?

Read This Article at The Points Guy

Connect Global Team In Honduras

Connect Global Team In Honduras

Trip Update

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for and keeping up with our travels. We were just in Honduras and had a great time. Our travel involved assembling a team made up of Four from North Carolina, One from Texas, and Travis Moffitt + MYSELF from Florida. 

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We started our trip by meeting up in Atlanta and grabbing our flight to Honduras. It was pretty evident right away that we had a very solid team and that everyone made me very excited to be on the trip. This was the first time any of us had met each other in person all except for Travis who had met each of us separately. 

Our flight and process through immigration was pretty smooth except for the loss of one Team bag (which was reclaimed at the end of the week.)

This team was great in so many ways, it is incredible still to think about it. Not only were we introducing them to a brand new experience in an uncomfortable environment but there were also some unplanned pit stops, and through it all everyone had such amazing attitudes. Even through a lot of tire trouble! 

Aquaponics update

Team Member Shekina shows Javier and Jorge how to Hack their way through the aluminum on these IBC tanks

Team Member Shekina shows Javier and Jorge how to Hack their way through the aluminum on these IBC tanks

One of the major things on our to do list for this trip was to upgrade the already existing system at our friend Jorge's house. We brought with us a timer and other electric supplies to add solar power over to the system. This will allow for faster and more consistent movement of the water, and in turn will create bigger fish and veggies, faster. Over all we accomplished some big updates for this and for future systems. It was great to be able to work along side Jorge and hear his passion for creating and maintaining these sustainable systems. 

Aquaponic Carrots sprouting

Aquaponic Carrots sprouting

Medical Update

Several Hundred pounds of Medications and Vitamins were hand delivered by the Connect Global team to the Clinic in Cusuna Honduras

Several Hundred pounds of Medications and Vitamins were hand delivered by the Connect Global team to the Clinic in Cusuna Honduras

Another component of the trip was facilitating the delivery of several hundred pounds of Children's and Prenatal vitamins as well as several dozen Medicines and ointments. These were a huge blessing to the very ill funded clinic in Cusuna Honduras. Dr Enrique is a very humble and hardworking man who, as the only full time doctor, has his work cut out for him. He is very grateful for any and all support he receives and was more than excited to have one of our team members who is also a doctor in NC assist him with his patients. 

Church Update

The Church in Cusuna, is a marvelous light in the dark. Newly into it's second pastor and after 14 years of existence it continues to be a place where good drives out bad. Many new faces were in attendance for our last minute service Tuesday, and during regular service times there are no open seats. Pastor Adonis has inherited a great congregation, and I expect him to continue the growth of the members. 

Jorge Amador

Jorge Amador and His 1 year old Daughter Allison

Jorge Amador and His 1 year old Daughter Allison

Our friend Jorge and His Wife Janeth just celebrated their daughters 1st birthday. We all were very happy to see and meet her. Our week was decidedly better for having them all there. Please keep them in your prayers. They have a hard job and are still adjusting to living with out consistent electricity, and are in need of reliable transportation. 

Pastor Nahun Flores

Pastor Nahun and Edenia Flores near their home in Trujillo Honduras

Pastor Nahun and Edenia Flores near their home in Trujillo Honduras

We also had the pleasure of traveling with Pastor Nahun, Edenia, Abigail, Danny, and David Flores. One of my personal favorite families of all time. They have worked tirelessly in Cusuna for over 14 years, and we have literally watched the kids grow up. This family is very special to everyone who has met them. They work hard and do it all with smiles on their faces. I know that none of my trips to Cusuna over the past ten years would have been nearly as enjoyable if they were not there. 

Thank You

Thank You to all who have kept us and this community in your prayers. It truly means a lot that we have so many people both Cusuna Alumni and otherwise that care so deeply for the work that we do in Cusuna. We are very excited about what the future holds. Lets continue to partner together in order to positively create sustainable solutions for some of the problems that exist in Cusuna.

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Ten Years Later

Ten Years Later

First Mission Trip 

Mission Trip with Morning Star Church in Tampa. Circa 2006

It was in 2004 when I made my first journey outside the borders of the US. I remember standing in line to get my passport, mailing off the application, and impatiently awaiting it's arrival. I remember going to Bill Jackson's to get a trail rated back pack to carry all my stuff. I can distinctly remember the nerves of the night before our flight. Thinking about all the things I jammed into my backpack and wondering if I had enough.

Pins on a Map depicting Connect Global's Past, Present, and Future Trips. 2013

We had been told about the destination and what to expect in pretty good detail, but I still felt a great sense of adventure and anxiety about it. My idea of traveling at the time was pretty limited to Tiki Huts, Island Restaurants, Cruise Ships, and Luxury Hotels. I did not even know what to think when they told me I would need to buy a mosquito net for sleeping.

Javier Mendoza, Co Founder of Connect Global, speaking to church leaders in Puebla, Mexico. 2010

Looking back ten years it's pretty great to see how far we have come. We have now been back to the village from our first trip over a dozen times. My wife, sister and brother in law, and I have founded Connect Global, (a sustainable mission oriented non profit). We have made friends over the last decade who make this way of life not only productive but extraordinarily exciting. 

July 12-19, Travis and I will be heading to Cusuna once again to visit the beautiful friends we have made over the last ten years. .

This time, I am very familiar with my gear and have only packed what I need. I have my freshly renewed passport ready for another "first" stamp and I again have a mix of anticipation, anxiety, and adventure as if it was my first trip ever. 

I hope to never lose this feeling and that every trip I make would always bring with it adventure, fun, and most of all positive and lasting improvement for myself and for those I come into contact with. 

Javier & Danielle Mendoza in Cusuna Honduras 2006

After ten years I am no longer naive enough to think I can change the world all by myself, I am however, very confident that along with my friends, partners, family and supporters we can and will change this world for the better, one person at a time. 

Please "join" Connect Global on this journey by following along on Twitter + Instagram and please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. 


How to tell if you're ready to go on a mission trip

How to tell if you're ready to go on a mission trip

Are you ready to go on a mission trip? The answer may be simpler than you think. In fact, there are only a couple of questions you need to answer to determine if you're ready. But first, there are a few questions that you shouldn't ask to tell if you're ready

 

5 barriers to overcome when visiting a new country

5 barriers to overcome when visiting a new country

When you visit a new country, it's helpful to anticipate what it's going to be like. Otherwise, you may end up with a case of culture shock that'll paralyze you mentally (and emotionally) until you're on the plane ride home.

 

Why you should overcome barriers

A large part of an effective mission trip is embracing the community and culture as they are. If you're taken back and completely "shocked" by the smells, customs, and food, you'll be less likely to embrace the people and their community.

5 common barriers to overcome when visiting a new country are...

 


Looking for an adventure? Join us in the Amazon. 
 May 20 - May 29, 2014 | $3000  
 "Across the South American continent runs the mightiest river in the world, the Amazon. Leticia, Colombia, is strategically located on this river where the nations of Peru, Brazil and Colombia intersect providing the gateway into vast rainforest regions." 
 (via  Trips — Connect Global )

Looking for an adventure? Join us in the Amazon.

May 20 - May 29, 2014 | $3000 

"Across the South American continent runs the mightiest river in the world, the Amazon. Leticia, Colombia, is strategically located on this river where the nations of Peru, Brazil and Colombia intersect providing the gateway into vast rainforest regions."

(via Trips — Connect Global)