A Letter Of Preparation
We praise God that you have chosen to serve Jesus as a short-term missionary in Haiti. God has given all of us different skills, abilities and gifts to use for His glory. We believe that your life will be forever affected by your experience at Mission of Hope International (MOHI).
Start praying now for God’s anointing to be on you as you work and witness Jesus’ love to the Haitian people. Believe God to do miracles for them. There’s nothing so fulfilling as experiencing God changing lives through you. We believe God will use you as His vessel of blessing to these precious people.
“…Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” -Matthew 25:40
As you prepare to visit us in Haiti, we want to offer some practical pointers for you, as well as some guidelines to follow during your trip. Thank you again for choosing to spend your time doing good.
Contact MOHI: Once you’ve decided to visit Mission of Hope International, contact us to check available dates to stay at the Mission. If you are coming as part of a scheduled group we request that you arrive and leave Haiti on the same days and times as the others in the group so that we may all make the most out of our time.
All of us at Mission of Hope International
We ask that each person visiting would contribute $600 toward the expenses for your 7-night stay in Haiti. If your team is staying longer than this, each additional night would be an additional $72. This contribution will go toward the expenses incurred for your housing, meals, transportation to and from the airport and other locally planned activities. Other expenses you will need to consider are airfare, tourist fee ($10), porter tips at the airport, souvenirs, store-bought refreshments, special projects and donations.
That said, we do not want your decision to come to Haiti to be based on your financial ability.
We also encourage our visitors to choose and meet a class to sponsor monthly when you return home. The four levels of monthly sponsorship are: $10, $25, $50, or $100 per month.
The cost for airfare varies depending on the date and city you are traveling from. We recommend you begin checking airfares as soon as you know when you will be traveling. Fares are constantly changing, so keep checking until you find a better price.
Right now, there are several US air carriers that fly into Port-au-Prince Haiti: Spirit Air, Delta, JetBlue and American Airlines. You are responsible for your round-trip airfare (arrangements and cost). As of 2015, visitors are required to pay a $10 (USD) tourist fee upon arrival in Port-au-Prince. Travel Documents: If you are a US Citizen, you will need a valid US Passport to travel to and from Haiti. If yours is expired or if you don’t have one you will need to apply for one (ask at your local post office where you must go to apply). It can take as long as 6 weeks for your request to be processed and your passport mailed to you. If you don’t have 6 weeks before your scheduled trip, you can pay an extra charge for express service.
We recommend that you call or visit your personal physician when you begin planning your trip to Haiti. Most doctors will recommend that you take “malaria pills,” have a current Tetanus booster, and vaccines for Typhoid, Hepatitis A and B. Please advise us of any medical conditions you may have. Malaria, Dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya virus are all present in Haiti. They are contracted through mosquito bites, so we strongly recommend applying and re-applying insect repellent throughout the day.Anyone currently pregnant or trying to conceive should wait to come to Haiti, as the Zika virus is feared to cause birth defects early in pregnancy
While in Haiti:
- Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer before putting anything in your mouth.
- Drink water provided by the Mission ONLY! Outside the Mission, drink only pre-packaged or bottled drinks such as Coca Cola. Do not purchase homemade juices outside the Mission or stop to drink at a well. Do not eat ice outside of the Mission or drink water from the tap.
- Eat foods prepared at the Mission only. If you must eat outside the Mission, confer with a missionary first.
- Eat well. Sleep well. Pray without ceasing. This will help to keep your illness resistance high.
- Do not stay in direct sunlight for long periods of time. Apply and reapply sun block regularly to avoid sunburn and skin damage. Use sunglasses.
- Do not walk around barefoot. Wear shoes, sneakers or sandals at all times.
- Avoid touching bleeding cuts or open sores on children.
- Use insect repellent to avoid mosquito bites. Mosquitoes pass malaria from person to person, so it is wise to take precautions against being bit.
Check with your air carrier for details concerning size, weight and quantity of checked bags. Here is a list of items needed regularly at the Mission.
Expect conditions similar to camping. Haiti is hot (especially in summer) and dusty, with no electricity or running water. Vehicles may or may not be available, so expect hiking distances up to a mile, and no emergency services. Clean drinking water is available at the missionary compound.
Moderate, lightweight, cotton clothing will be most comfortable. Women need to wear undergarments, including bras, except when swimming, bathing or sleeping. Nothing overly revealing or tight, please. You will bring your change of clothes to the shower, rather than walking through the yard in a towel. Sleeping in close proximity to others, please show the utmost respect and wear some sort of covering to bed.
Security: It is recommended that you give the Mission your passport, immigration card, airline ticket and any other valuables to lock up until you are ready to leave the country.
Here are a few items you don't want to forget:
- Comfortable, breatheable cotton clothing
- Skirts or dresses (women), or long pants & sleeved shirts (men) for church
- Rimmed hat
- Water bottle
- Backpack or bag
- Sneakers, socks & sandals
- Shampoo and body soap
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Hand-held mirror
- Personal hygiene supplies
- Insect repellent
- Flashlight with spare batteries
- A small blanket (winter)
- Personal medications (precribed & general)
- Carry-on bag (with change of clothes, money, passport, tickets, camera, insect repellent wipes, other vitals)
An important way we are able to supply the mission with needed items is by our visitors carrying them into the country with them. We ask that you try to pack your personal belongings in one suitcase or backpack and leave the other for mission supplies. If you are not able to locate these items yourself, please contact us so that we can get other donated items to you to transport for us.
Here are some of the things that are always useful at the mission:
- Communion cups
- White tablecloths
- Guitar strings (electric, acoustic, electric bass)
- Assorted sound jacks and adapters
- Cordless mics
- Band instruments & drum sticks
- CD player
- Rechargeable AA batteries & 9V batteries
- Soup spoons
- Pots & frying pans
- Sponges & dish towels
- Spices, baking mixes, dry soup mixes & baking chips
- Plastic tumblers
- Assorted wrenches & screw drivers
- Tape measures
- Chalk lines
- 7 ¼“ circular saw blades
- Clothes lines
- Shelf brackets
- All sorts of hand tools
- Ink cartridge refill kits
- Office supplies (manila folders, hanging file folders, staplers, white-out etc.)
- Scissors (adult & children)
- Children's clothing (underwear, socks, summer clothing, baseball caps)
- Shoes, sandals & sneakers
- Simple toys (jump ropes, soccer balls, Matchbox cars, dolls, games like Checkers)
- Little girl jewelry & hair accessories
- Plastic watches
- Large-toothed, heavy-duty plastic combs
- Old-fashioned oats
- Insect repellent
- Rechargeable, battery-operated fans
- Family films on DVD
- Classroom supplies (blackboard erasers, paints & brushes, glitter, calculators, coloring books)
- Geometry sets
Many people like to leave things behind for the mission or individuals when they leave. We ask that you put items you’re leaving in a plastic bag and leave them in the area designated by the team host. Do NOT give any gifts personally without prior approval. This easily turns into personal conflict between staff members, church members or staff and missionaries.
Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions.
Flying & Arrival in Haiti
While on the plane, you will be asked to fill out a form for immigration, which asks for an adress. Please write Mission of Hope International, Rue du Port #225, Grand Goave.
When you arrive in Haiti, you will pass through immigration before you go to retrieve your luggage. Never give up a luggage claim ticket if you do not have that luggage in your possession.
If you are traveling with a group, we ask that you listen to and cooperate with the Group Leader. If it is determined that a porter needs to be hired, only the Group Leader should speak with and pay them. It is very likely that the porter will ask for more money once the job is done.
Prepare for a crowd outside the airport, and look for someone from Mission of Hope. At least one person will be waiting outside the airport to bring you to the Mission. Never leave the airport with someone other than this person.
If you are not located by our staff, call the Mission at 509-3788-9684 or 509-3811-3622. There is another organization called Mission of Hope located north of the airport, so it is important that you go with the people going to Mission of Hope International in Grand-Goâve.
The ride to the Mission will take between 1.5 and 4 hours, depending on traffic.
You may want to keep your camera handy to take photos of the city, which is very different than where MOHI is located. Please just be sensitive of taking photos of people.
Make sure you apply sunblock, especially if you are riding in an open vehicle.
When you arrive at the Mission, there will be water available to drink. You will be given some time to bring your bags to your room, wash up and enjoy a meal. There will be an orientation either that night or the next morning, depending on the time you arrive.
Cultural Differences & Communication
It’s not unusual to see Haitians bathing anywhere there’s water. Children often run around the neighborhood naked. This is normal behavior, and you don’t need to feel awkward around them. It’s also normal to see men holding hands.
Please dress respectfully, especially for church.
The exchange rate for American money changes on a daily basis in Haiti. We can exchange the money for you at the Mission. We STRONGLY recommend that you do not purchase anything in Haiti with American Money. At your group’s orientation you will be informed which missionary to see if you need to exchange money.
Please do NOT reward begging.
A translator will be available to the team throughout the work day. Additional translators may be hired for an additional cost. The mission will need advance notice in order to arrange for additional translators to be available for the team.
Phone calls to the US can be made for $ .25 per minute. Internet connection is not available.
Work & Schedules
Everyone comes to Haiti with expertise in certain areas. Some of the capacities that short-term missionaries will serve in include: construction, office work, feeding program, church ministry, village ministry, clinic, distribution of goods, visiting children and writing to sponsors.
If you sponsor a class through Mission of Hope International, we encourage you to visit that class while staying at the Mission. For those who would like to bring a gift for their sponsored class, we recommend something small. Some favorite gifts include: soccer balls (deflated), jax, marbles, dolls (with hair that can be combed), trucks, watches, sunglasses, and hats.
We will be planning your schedule while in Haiti based on your application/information sheet. If there is anything that you cannot do or must do, please let us know in advance so that we can incorporate that into the schedule.
If you are part of a group, please do not expect vehicles to make trips for the convenience of individuals. Haitian roads are very rough on our vehicles, so we like to make each trip count.
Whatever you do here in Haiti, there are MANY eyes watching you. Please do your best to be a good example to everyone watching you. Do your part to set a positive, Christ-centered atmosphere for all those we encounter.
For the sake of peace among team members, missionaries and other visitors, please refrain from talking about politics and deep doctrines beyond Christ and Him crucified. We want to show respect to ALL people, whether they believe exactly as we do or not.
Housing & Church
Please be considerate of others while staying at the mission. Keep noise levels to a minimum after 9PM, and be on-time for meals. Please keep common places clean and picked up. Personal items should be put in your room or hung on a line. When you are leaving, please leave your room free of trash, dirt and dirty clothes.
Do not invite anyone to the Missionary Compound. If you’d like to visit, please do so at church or during planned activities. Similarly, never leave the house by yourself. Always go out with at least one other person and make sure the person in charge knows where you are going. Nothing should be left out in the yard that would encourage thievery.
Use insect repellent, day and night. Please note that mosquitoes spread malaria, dengue fever and the Chikungunya virus.
Whenever attending church services, be prepared to share a greeting, word of encouragement or praise report with the church. It is customary for visitors to do this in Haitian churches. A missionary will be available to translate for you so that the Haitians will understand.
Promises & Personal Relationships
As you begin forming friendships, you may find that you want to help them out. For example, a budding musician has no instrument to practice on and you want to get them a new guitar. PLEASE do NOT tell them you will do that. Go ahead and buy the guitar for them, and they will be grateful. But so often, people have made promises and not followed through. This can be a huge stumbling block to this person’s walk with the Lord.
We ask that you do not share your personal information (address, phone number, email, or social media information) with the local people.
We also require that our young, unmarried visitors conduct themselves properly at all times. Remember, you are here to serve Jesus for a week.