Prepare to GO

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Prepare Mentally

Your Role on a GO Trip
By going on a Go Trip, you are taking a part in God's Restoration work outside of your community for perhaps a week to ten days. Though your time on the ground is brief, your presence sends the signal that you care and want to be a part of making a difference. You will soon realize that in this short time period, your personal ability to make a lasting impact wherever you are going is limited. Rather, you are a small part of a bigger picture--a partnership--that does indeed have a lasting impact. Our partners live and work among the people you will meet, have gained their trust over time, and are committed to the long process of development and discipleship in the communities you will visit. You will learn there are needs where you go, but you must also recognize there are needs right where you live. As you encounter the people and the culture where you are going, we hope you return with a clearer lens about things where you live and have the opportunity to make a direct and lasting impact.

Guidance For When You Go
As you prepare for your Go Trip, here is some guidance about how to approach your time with our partners in another place. Go to learn from our partners. We don't bring answers. Go to submit to our partners. They know what is best for the long term good of the people they are working with. Go to encourage our partners. Their work is difficult. Go to support the long term relationship with our partners. You are representing Crossroads. Go to respect the local people and their culture. You are not there to fix them or pity them.

Development, Not Relief
When you see extreme material poverty and brokenness, your heart is going to be pulled towards pity, rescue, and wanting to give things to people. These are God given instincts. However, we are not going on a rescue mission. There are times and places for providing relief in a crisis so people can survive and get on their feet. God demands it. Relief missions are not where Go Trips and the work of our partners are focused. The partners we work with are focused on long term development that aims for self sustaining and thriving communities. Development work requires viewing people through the lens of their capabilities and assets, not the needs we see and want to solve.


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Gift Giving Policy

Can I give gifts out to people I meet?
You were wired and commanded by God to be generous. And a part of your desire to go on a trip like this is your desire to give and serve those in need. So you may feel a little conflicted when we tell you that while you are on this trip, the Crossroads policy is that we do not give gifts to our cross-cultural friends, even if the gifts are asked for or hinted at, and even if you have known them for a long time. Any exceptions to this policy will be determined by the Crossroads ReachOut Director and specifically communicated by trip leadership. Gift giving may seem like a blessing at the time, but it creates unhealthy expectations and relationships with our partners on the ground and the people they are working with to achieve self-sufficiency. Receiving gifts from well meaning visitors can actually undermine the long-term development work of our partners in the communities where they are investing.

A couple of common examples that just might seem like good ideas to you:

  • DON'T personally bring small gifts (bracelets, treats, candy, etc.) to hand out indiscriminately on a trip.
  • DON'T leave behind used clothing, food, or supplies.

Please see separate instructions about giving gifts to your Compassion Child in the Bags and What to Bring section.


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Support Raising

Wisdom from Experience
Identify a person to be your confidant - Go to this person for support, if when you experience fears or roadblocks related to raising support. Discuss with them things like: How do you feel about asking others for financial support? How can you gain confidence to ask others for help? What expenses could you consider eliminating to pay for part of the trip? How has the process of asking people for money affected your relationships with them? Go to this person for support, if when you experience fears or roadblocks related to raising support.

The trip starts now, not when you get there
Part of your trip experience is raising support to fund it. This may mean dealing with some personal anxiety or coping with friends and family who aren't supportive of your decision to go on this trip. That's OK. It's all part of the process. So get started now. If you are sitting around waiting for the money to show up, it is not likely to happen. You need to actively engage in raising support to show that you are committed to the trip. We firmly believe that if you are trying, the money will come.

Plan how much you can pay yourself
This includes any modifications you might make to your personal budget prior to the trip, such as eating out less, dropping cable television, getting a second job, etc. If you want to pay by credit card to maximize reward points, that's fine. But don't make yourself a short-term loan. Do not pop out the plastic to pay for your trip because you don't have the cash.

Be gentle with friends and family who don't give
Don't say no to someone. Ask and let them decide. People will surprise you. You never know what is happening in their lives or their reasons for giving or not giving. The way you handle those who don't support you is just as important as the way you handle those who do. Sometimes people you are sure will give won't respond. Other times, an unexpected funding source will give generously.

If you're having trouble raising money, tell us
If you're actively trying to raise support for your trip, we want to see you succeed. But we can't help you if you wait until the money is due to tell us that you're struggling. No surprises!

Thank your supporters
Make sure you have their contact information so you can keep them informed on how it's going, and more importantly, send them a letter after you get back sharing your experience. It's great to remind them that they are your partners in this journey by enabling you to serve others.

Ideas to raise money as a group
Work at a concession stand at a sports or civic event, or partner with a restaurant for a percentage of their profits. (Oktoberfest, Taste of Cincinnati, Orange Leaf, City Barbeque, etc). Organize a large-scale yard sale. Compile items for a silent auction at another event. Host a car wash.

Ideas to raise money individually
Sell stuff on eBay, Craigslist or at a yard sale (your stuff or items donated by others). Offer labor in exchange for a donation--like rake leaves, paint houses, walk dogs, babysit kids, build websites--whatever your skills and time allow. Moonlight at your current job or work overtime for extra cash. Find ways to cut back on your personal expenses and put that money toward your trip. Sell tickets to fundraising dinner, game night, or event where proceeds go towards the trip.

The most effective way: Letters and emails
Letters and emails to family and friends is by far the main source of support for GO participants. People who know you will likely give more generously than those who don't. Ask anyone you know personally who you think might be interested (including your co-worker, insurance agent, doctor, dentist, etc.). Be sure to personalize your letters; let them know your reasons for going and perhaps tap into their similar passion for helping others.

Guidelines
Crossroads asks that your support raising efforts comply with the following guidelines. If you have an idea for raising support and are wondering if it aligns with Crossroads' philosophy, please consult this document first. If you're unsure beyond the philosophy outlined below, please email your staff contact, and we'll happily answer your questions.

1. It is important that participants who are soliciting support from individuals have a personal relationship with the person they're asking. It's a unique opportunity to enable people you know to support you. It's not an opportunity to spam your friends' email lists, or worse, any Crossroads list that you might have access to.

2. If you choose to do a group event (like a silent auction, dinner, etc.), we encourage you to determine how the proceeds of the project will be split amongst the group members before the event occurs. Consider if you'll split the proceeds evenly or based upon how much each person contributes to the project. Addressing these questions up front can prevent misunderstandings later.

3. Crossroads cannot publicize, host or promote support raising projects (we're not able to put a blurb in our weekend program about your event, announced from stage, etc; please do not leave flyers on windshields in the parking lot, at the Info Center, etc).

4. Any support raising event must be organized and carried out on your own. Crossroads staff is unable to help support raising events for your trip.

5. We believe supporting your local church community is foundational to your spiritual growth. However, any financial support to your trip fund shouldn't impact your regular giving rhythms.

6. Using a crowdfunding site like GoFundMe might seem like a great idea. Please DO NOT use this method to support raise for your trip. We have had situations where people who donated to trips in this way later contacted Crossroads about receiving a giving statement for their donation and were disappointed to learn that their gift was not given to Crossroads directly, and therefore Crossroads could not send them a giving statement that reflected their gift to someone's trip. If you have questions, please consult your staff contact or trip leader for more information. The trip deposit and the funds raised are non-refundable. The Crossroads Federal Tax ID number is 31-1442447 should you need it for a support raising project.

Your Support Raising Page
Once you receive an email letting you know you are a participant on a GO Trip, you will have a support raising page on crossroads.net. When you log into crossroads.net: Go to the upper right hand corner and click on the “My Account” button (if you loaded a picture in your profile, it's the little circle with your picture in it). That will bring up a drop down menu. From there you'll select “My Trips”. You'll then be taken to a page that shows the trip(s) you're signed up for and your support raising progress. There are a couple of features that should be helpful as you engage people on your support raising journey: At the bottom of your support raising progress log, there are buttons that will allow you to share the account via Facebook, Twitter, and email to get the word out about your trip. It's a fun and simple way to get the support raising process started! There is also an option to email friends and family directly after they have given to your trip to say, Thank You. Very cool and considerate!


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FAQS

Are donations tax deductible?
Most likely. Crossroads is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations that we receive are tax deductible. However, you should consult your tax advisor to see if you can deduct your donations. You will receive a year-end contribution statement in January of the following year. In order to receive a deduction, payments must be made to Crossroads, not an individual.

Can I get a refund if I change my mind?
Unfortunately, no refunds can be given to trip participants or donors.

How do people give?
Someone can donate to your trip by going to crossroads.net/go then Give then Give to a Trip. From there, someone can search for you by last name. Note: They don't need to log-in to Crossroads.net make a donation. But be aware that if someone gives to your trip and doesn't have a crossroads.net account, they will show up as a guest giver. If someone gives via their bank account (meaning they input their routing information), the donation will not appear immediately. It takes some time for the banks to communicate with one another and for the transaction to clear. Once the donation clears, it will then show up in your support raising account on your donor list. If they are giving by check, be sure we get the name, complete address, phone number, and email address of anyone who makes a donation towards your trip. Checks should be payable to Crossroads Please be sure to have YOUR NAME and the trip name (for example: Jane Doe India April 2017) in the memo line. The memo line entry is very important so we can make sure it goes to your account. Otherwise, it goes in ours. KIDDING! Just making sure you're still reading. Checks can be mailed to Crossroads, Attn: Go Trips, 3500 Madison Road, Cincinnati, OH 45209. If you have cash to give towards a trip, go ahead and deposit it in your account and either write a check or donate it online as per the instructions above.

Is giving on the site safe and secure?
Absolutely. Our site uses industry standard SSL technology to ensure that the information you enter is kept secure from prying eyes. In addition, all sensitive information that we keep in our database is stored in encrypted form so that it is not human-readable.

Is there a receipt for money given to me?
If someone writes a check directly to a participant and wants a charitable donation receipt from Crossroads, the participant should sign the check and endorse the funds over to Crossroads. If the participant receive cash they should deposit it into their account and write a check to Crossroads for the same amount and include a letter that lists the name and address of the donor. In both situations Crossroads will then be able to issue a year-end contribution statement which is sent out in January of the following year. Funds can be mailed to:
Crossroads, Attn: Thomas Zimmerman,
3500 Madison Road,
Cincinnati, OH 45209.

What if I raise more money than I need?
Trip participants can direct to other participants on the same trip or the additional money will be directed to the general fund of that specific trip so people in need of additional support may receive it. There is no sharing of trip funds across the various trips, and there are no refunds if you go over your support raising amount.

What is Crossroads' Federal Tax ID number?
31-1442447


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Passport/Visa Info

Bolivia Visa
Obtaining a Visa to get into Bolivia unfortunately isn't cheap. Currently (it often changes) it is $160 for a 10 year Visa to Bolivia. The group will handle getting that taken care of before the trip as it will take a long time to try to do this when you land. This cost is not covered in your trip cost and is something you will need to factor as you're preparing for the trip. Normally these visas will be obtained 6-8 weeks before the trip departure date. Your Trip Leader will provide you instructions.

General Passport Info

TO OBTAIN A PASSPORT FOR THE FIRST TIME:
Go in-person to one of 7,000 passport acceptance facilities located throughout the United States with two photographs of yourself, proof of U.S. citizenship, and a valid form of photo identification such as a driver's license.

RENEWAL OF A PASSPORT:
Read through the criteria below to determine if you need to renew by mail or in person. If you already have a passport, but it doesn't have two consecutive blank pages or it expires within six months after your trip, you'll also need to renew.

RENEW IN PERSON IF…

  • Your expired U.S. passport is not in your possession
  • Your previous U.S. passport has expired and was issued more than 15 years ago
  • Your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under 16 and your currently valid U.S. passport has been lost or stolen your passport has been altered or damaged

RENEW BY MAIL IF…

  • Your most recent passport is available to submit and it is not damaged
  • You received the passport within the past 15 years
  • You were over age 16 when it was issued you still have the same name, or can legally document your name change

Regardless of which method you will be using, you'll need to get passport photos taken. AAA will take passport photos for free if you have a membership. Many other places, such as Kinko's and Walgreens, will take passport photos for a fee.

Please, please, for the love of all things bureaucratic, make sure you have a passport.


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Vaccinations

Deciding what vaccinations to get before traveling is an important discussion between you and your health care provider. Some resources to assist you include websites from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. On the CDC website, in addition to vaccination guidance, you will find topics like Special Needs Travelers, Safe Food and Water, and Insect Protection among the many helpful topics covered.

Suggested Places to Get Immunizations
Below are some suggested places to get your trip immunizations. Please be sure to call ahead to make sure the vaccinations are in stock and available. Also, please be sure to get your shots at least six weeks before we leave. None of the places below accept insurance. However, if you have health insurance you should check to see if you can be reimbursed for the cost of the shots.

  • The Little Clinic , Target, Walgreens
  • Passport Health Lexington
  • Fayette County Health Department
  • Passport Health
  • Warren County Health Department

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Bags and What to Bring

Work Supplies
Most work supplies will be provided. Depending on the work that you're doing, it's sometimes good to bring clothes that can get dirty, and perhaps your favorite gloves, stethoscope or utility knife. Talk to your team leaders about this.

Crossroads T-Shirts
It's not a Crossroads' event without a t-shirt. Check with your trip leader if you haven't already heard about the t-shirts.

How Many Bags Can I Take?
Airline rules allow you to check one 50 lb. bag for free. You must stick to one bag, and they are very strict about the weight limits, so keep that in mind. An overweight bag will cost you a lot of money. If you follow our advice on packing, these limits should not be a problem. Be sure to check the weight of your bag at the airport before you check in. You are also allowed one carry-on bag and one personal item. Carry all your valuables with you on the plane, as well as a change of clothes and some toiletries for your first day on the ground (just in case your bag takes a side trip to Turkey). Remember to follow carry-on size rules, as well as the 3-1-1 rule for toiletries, meaning you are only allowed to bring 3 ounce bottles of liquids, and all the bottles must fit in one bag. Check the TSA website for more info. Some people might be asked to take a second suitcase full of team supplies. This will be paid for out of the trip budget, or, in the case of medallion members on Delta, we can take these bags for free. If you are a medallion member and are flying on Delta, please let your trip leader know.

Medications
Stow all medications in your carry-on. It's best that all prescriptions are in the original packaging -- you really do not want to explain to customers what the mystery white pills in the baggie. Also, bring a copy of any prescriptions in the event you need a refill.

Money
You will typically only need to bring enough money for gifts, a snack at the airport or in the hotel, and possibly for a church offering should you choose to participate. Other expenses are covered in your trip costs. We recommend a total of no more than $100-200 U.S. dollars. If you want to use local currency, we strongly encourage you to exchange money before you leave. Try your personal bank first. In the past, Fifth Third Bank has exchanged money within one week. AAA can also exchange money. There are also places to exchange money in airports, but the fees are high. Do not rely on airport banks to exchange money since they typically run out with large groups. You can't exchange money when you land. Yes, there are places, but we have too many people for everyone to exchange money at the same time at the airport. Credit cards will work most places (Visa and MasterCard more so than Amex). If you plan on using a credit card on the trip, notify your credit card company in advance. Otherwise, they may decline your card when charges show up from another country. Never use your debit card. It is harder to fix if it has been compromised. Because credit card fraud is very prevalent in foreign countries, we recommend using a credit card and not a debit card. Credit cards offer better protection. Also, do not bring traveler's checks--they are extremely difficult to cash.

No Gifts or Candy To Hand Out
Please refer to the official gift-giving policy. Any gift needs will be supplied by our team leaders or you will be given specific instructions by your trip leadership.

Packing Suggestions
Remember: Keep everything in one suitcase and one carry-on.

Clothes:

  • In all cases modesty is the best policy. Plan to wear things more than once.
  • Modest, dressy outfit for Sunday church (ex. longer skirts for ladies, button-down and slacks for men - but no ties necessary).
  • Knee length shorts or pants that can be used for work (daytime temps can range from mid 70's to low 90's)
  • Closed toed shoes for work Comfortable clothes for evenings and excursions.
  • T-shirts and shorts are fine (tank tops are discouraged)
  • Comfortable footwear for hotel at night
  • Lightweight jacket or sweater, Rain jacket Underwear Socks

Toiletries:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Washcloth
  • Pocket-size tissues
  • Travel toilet paper (for use outside hotel)
  • Sunscreen (Important! It will probably be very sunny)
  • Bug repellant with Deet
  • Basic first aid (band aids, headache medicine, cough drops, etc.)
  • Chapstick
  • Hand sanitizer (helpful during the workday)
  • Shaving supplies (non-electric razor might be best unless you have the correct adapter and your razor can handle the voltage)
  • Necessary Medications (with a copy of prescriptions

Misc Items (not necessary but helpful):

  • Small backpack for work days to carry water, lunch, etc.
  • Electric voltage converter plug adapters
  • Camera (bring an extra memory card to store pictures for the whole week)
  • Batteries if your camera needs them or a battery charger (bring enough to last the whole week)
  • Bible
  • Journal
  • Pen
  • Sharpie
  • Smart Phone with Go Trip App downloaded
  • Books, magazines, iPod, etc… for flight
  • Snacks to carry with you during the workday
  • Sunglasses
  • Travel alarm clock
  • Watch
  • Travel pillow
  • Gardening Gloves (if you'd like to have them)

Packing Tips:
Don't forget to bring the most important thing: Your passport! Your passport should never be anywhere but on your body until we make it to the destination. In the past we have had people leave passports in a carry-on and then leave the carry-on on the plane. Very depressing when you are in Atlanta and your passport is enroute to Boston.

Pack your carry-on with all of your 'must have' items:
medicines, toiletries, and extra change of clothes, important documents, etc. This way if your luggage is delayed for any reason you will not have a problem. Pack toiletries in zip lock bags to avoid leakage. Remember 3-1-1 rule for carry-on toiletries. All medications, including vitamins, must be in original container. Make copies of your passport and keep a copy in a separate place in your luggage or on your person along with your I.D.


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I Promise

To Avoid Disruptive Actions
To avoid actions that will disrupt the team and our ability to accomplish our mission. This includes, but is not limited to: same sex and/or extra-marital sex, drug and alcohol abuse, violent actions, etc.

To Be A Blessing
To do all I can to ensure this trip is a blessing to me, my teammates, the organizations we are working under, our partners, and, most importantly, the people we serve.

To Be A Servant Learner
To recognize that, while I may have the ability to bless others, the people I am serving and working with have much to offer; I will be a servant-learner.

To Be Open To Receive
To be open to receive what this trip has to offer me, and in pursuit of that to consciously and continuously put myself in a position to best experience the people I work with, the people I serve, and the environment in which I will be working.

To Keep A Positive Attitude
To do my best to keep a positive attitude, knowing that this trip can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, and to remain open-minded to all that I will see and experience.

To Put The Team Ahead Of Myself
To put the team ahead of myself, understanding that the team's mission is more important than my personal comfort; To stay flexible and accept change as it comes, regardless of my own feelings; and to follow the team plan even if it doesn't fit my specific wants.

To Represent Our Team Well
To remember that my actions not only reflect on me, but also on all other members of the groups with whom I am associated. I will remember that one person's positive or negative viewpoint of any of these groups can be forever altered by my actions.

To Respect Differences In People
To accept that everyone will engage uniquely on this trip; To recognize that some team members will work harder than others, some team members will spend more time building relationships than others, and we will all approach different situations in different ways-all of which are critical to the success of our team.

To Solve Problems Maturely
To solve problems by going directly to the person with whom I have a concern prior to enlisting support from other people. If, after the initial difficult conversation I still don't feel right, I will ask someone who might feel the same way if they will go with me to resume the difficult conversation. If after that interaction I haven't been satisfied, I will find a person in a position of leadership and seek their guidance.

To Trust Those In Authority
To trust those in authority over me. Even when a decision is made that I don't understand, I will remember that I don't have all the information nor the responsibility of those in leadership. I will commit to not being a burden to team leaders, so they can focus on the mission of our team and not my personal issues.

To Watch Out For Others
To always and diligently watch out for those around me- my roommate and fellow team members- to ensure that everyone is safe and healthy at all times, and to take action if that is not the case.