“We Invite You to Touch Africa to Reach its People”
Thank you for your interest in going on a 2014 mission trip to Zimbabwe. This hand out is to inform you about prospective trips that my wife, Susan, and I plan to host next year.
Short term aim:
- To facilitate a short term missions opportunity in Zimbabwe, Africa.
- Provide opportunities for people to connect and impact the culture.
- To mess your heart up – in a good way, of course.
Long term aim:
- To connect American people and resources with need and opportunity in Zimbabwe.
- To see return trips that build long term relationships and ties, promote evangelism, and humanitarian and economic developmental activities.
Sponsor: These trips to Zimbabwe are sponsored by Ebenezer Ministries, a local non-profit organization. Please note that participants are responsible for raising all their own funds.
Prospective trips and dates:
[Note: there will likely be an optional wildlife activity to Mana Pools that is over and above the basic 14 day trip duration/cost, which will add an extra 6 days to your travel – Sept.20th-25th. This means if you do the optional critter activity, your entire trip will be 20 days long. The cost of this activity is additional to the basic trip cost. Costs – food, fuel, camping fees, etc. – are divided up between those going. As a guideline, the Sept. 2013 optional wildlife trip to Mana Pools divided up between 8 people for $475/pp for the extra 6 days.]
Group size: Max 10 (each trip)
Who can go: College students and up.
Missionaries, Alistair and Shelley Croudace, run this environmental camp near the town of Kadoma, in central Zimbabwe. They offer leadership courses, life skills training, environmental education, and spiritual retreats to students and groups of all kinds, using their facilities and programming as a platform for the gospel.
- Good Shepherd Center Orphanage (GSC)
Located in the town of Chinhoyi, an hour and a half NW of the capital, Harare, GSC cares for approx 65 children ranging in ages from 3 to 20 years old.
Shadreck and Millie Bekar are the 1st HOL family in Zim.
Expected activities in these places include: working with orphans, youth and students, doing school assemblies, meetings with local churches, evangelism, teaching, community service and construction projects, prayer activities, encouraging people and building relational trust.
Typically, each trip has some sort of “fun” activity to see the African wildlife.
Cost: Approx $3300-$3400. An exact amount will be formulated once air fares and in-country costs are worked out for respective trips. Your trip cost will include air and ground travel, food and accommodation expenses while in country, including visa, laundry, tips, and emergency medical evacuation insurance. Personal travel cash, meals/snacks while in transit, and purchasing of personal gifts and curios will be an additional expense to you. As a rough guess, consider $200-$300 or so “pocket money” (more if you wish), all in smaller denominations ($1’s to $20’s). Since 2009, Zimbabwe uses $US.
Trip application and team selection: If you are serious about going, contact my wife, Susan, or myself for a trip interview. Because we may not personally know everyone who wants to go, we reserve the right to assess each applicant’s readiness and “fit” for this kind of trip. This being the case, we may ask for your pastor’s reference and another from a non- family member who knows you well. We will also want to know some of your story and why you want to go on this trip, and suggest you begin to prayerfully prepare your thoughts in this regard. This may mean we will ask to meet with you outside of scheduled team meetings. Trip slots are typically filled on a first come, first serve basis.
- If you do not already have a valid passport and you intend to go, apply for one right away.
- Your passport must have a minimum of two (2) completely blank visa pages prior to travel, and be valid for a minimum of 6 months after your return date into the USA.
E.g. If your trip reentry date back into the US is Jan 30th, 2014, your passport must be valid until at least July 30th, 2014.
- Exact passport names and DOB are required when reserving airline tickets and the passport number and issue/expiry dates are required by the travel agent no later than two (2) weeks prior to travel.
- Green Card holders: Be sure to have your green card with you on your exit from the US so that you can produce it on reentry to the US. Failure to do so may delay your return travel and cost you a fine.
Details and tentative deadlines, etc:
- January 1st – $100 trip deposit due (or sooner).
- January 1st – passport name and DOB (or sooner).
- February 1st – $2000 installment due (or sooner). Passport number and issue and expiry dates required.
- March 15th – trip balance due (or sooner).
- March 1st – $100 deposit due (or sooner).
- March 1st – passport name and DOB (or sooner).
- April 1st – $2000 installment due (or sooner). Passport number and issue and expiry dates required.
- July 15th – trip balance due (or sooner).
Trip deposit: $100 per person
- This deposit secures your spot and goes towards you trip cost.
- Deposit is payable once you’ve been interviewed and accepted.
- Once paid, IRS regulations make it non-refundable to you.
Please read and follow these instructions carefully:
- Ebenezer Ministries has set up a fund with National Christian Foundation (NCF) for these mission trips. All trip related checks are to be made out to: National Christian Foundation East Tennessee (NCF ETN) with “Ebenezer Ministry Fund #542997” in the memo line. NCF mailing address: NCF ETN, PO Box 52250, Knoxville, TN 37950.
- DO NOT put your name or any other information in the memo line – just “Ebenezer Ministry Fund #542997.”
- For administrative purposes, NCF ETN requires a cover note with your name and contact info for each check, and which trip it is for – May or September Zimbabwe trip. Please be sure to attach or include such a note when sending in your check(s). This is how we will keep track of what comes in for each person for each trip.
- If you send funds in to NCF ETN without a cover note, they will not know who to designate it to, and you may end up understandably short.
- Funds sent through NCF ETN are tax deductible and will be receipted and banked by NCF, not Ebenezer Ministries. Ebenezer Ministries will not see or handle any funds you send in to NCF ETN. Please remember that checks less than $250.00 do not require a tax receipt for the donor to claim their deduction, and NCF will not automatically issue a tax receipt for checks under that amount. Donors must use their check(s) as a receipt.
- Checks must be made payable to NCF ETN, only. Please do not send in checks made out to you or some other party that have been endorsed over to NCF. They will be returned to you.
- Additionally, keep your own list of supporters, and photo copy each check before you send them in. This will help you keep accurate records and make it easier to write your thank you notes.
- To help us cross-check what has gone into NCF for you and what NCF in turn sends to Ebenezer Ministries, please be ready to give Ebenezer Ministries a copy of this list.
- If you have multiple trip supporters with multiple checks, you collect and hold those checks – all made out to NCF ETN, all correctly filled in with “Ebenezer Ministry Fund #542997” in the memo line. On a separate note write out which trip you’re going on (May or September) and your contact information and then hand the separate note and checks in all at one time to NCF as each deadline comes due. Please ensure that all the checks are filled out correctly before you send them in.
- Ticket name change allowed once issued – none.
- Misspelled ticket names – airline penalties apply.
- Trip refunds – IRS regulations are such that tax deductible donations are not refundable to the donor once given to a non-profit. This includes your seat deposit. Technically, once handed in to the non-profit, donors cannot dictate the use of those funds. If for some reason you have sent in funds and don’t go on the trip, the following limited options are available to you:
- 1. The funds can be set aside and applied for a future trip opportunity.
- 2. The funds can be used for a legitimate trip project/activity or for some other team member’s trip costs.
- 3. The funds can be used at the discretion of Ebenezer Ministries.
- 4. FYI: Given conditions in Zimbabwe, our host families prepare 4-8 weeks before our arrival by stock piling supplies or purchasing project materials. Funds are sent on ahead accordingly. This being the case, and depending when a cancellation might happen, it is quite possible that funds you’ve sent in may in fact have already been spent on such trip details, and would no longer be in Ebenezer’s control, and would thus further limit some of the options already listed.
Trip cancelation: If it happened that the whole trip were to be cancelled at some point or you had to cancel for some reason, any funds already sent in would be subject to IRS guidelines summarized above under “trip expense refunds.”
Trip preparation: We plan to have 6 team meetings to train, prepare, and pray together before going, and ask you to do your best to attend them all. Everyone will be asked to participate in various trip activities, and we encourage you to use your giftings where possible. Specific trip itinerary and project details will be passed on to you as they come together.
January 12th – 4PM-6PM
February 2nd – 4PM-6PM
March 9th – 4PM-6PM
April 6th -4PM-6PM
April 13th – 4PM-6PM
April 27th – 4PM-6PM (packing day)
September trip: TBA
Prayer partners: We ask every team member to secure at least 6 prayer partners who will commit to pray for you and the trip. We will compile a master list of all these prayer partners and send them trip info and reports before and while in-country. Send your list of prayer partner names and e-mail address to Shirley Osborne, noting your respective trip. She has kindly offered to handle the master list and all group e-mail communications. Her contact address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Air miles: If you wish to collect air miles for your trip, sign yourself up with the carrier (United Airlines / Ethiopian Air), and submit the account number(s) so it can be included on your ticket.
Current Zimbabwe politics and economy: Zimbabwe continues to be in political, economic, and humanitarian crisis. Our host families keep us informed of details and safety issues on the ground. We are typically well fed and cared for, and have not experienced any physical danger or personal injury on any of our past 14 trips (2007-2013). Zimbabweans are typically very hospitable and welcoming.
That being said, and as part of your consideration for this trip, you must understand and accept that neither the Dee’s nor Ebenezer Ministries can predict or guarantee any political or economic conditions, nor your safety or health, and you must factor all this into your decision process. Talk with your spouse/family. You must hear from God for yourself and decide apart from anything and everyone else if this trip is for you or not.
Medical and travel insurance: You must have your own medical insurance (E.g. BCBS). A separate Emergency Medical Evacuation Insurance (EMEI) will be purchased for you and is included in your trip cost. EMEI only covers you while actually traveling.
Release forms: Notarized liability and medical release forms from Ebenezer Ministries are mandatory for all trip members. Lasting Impressions Youth camp requires release forms for the time we are at their facility.
Baggage allowance: As it currently stands, on international trips to Africa from the US you are allowed two (2) x 50lb suitcases. Each person will be asked to carry a portion of trip supplies in their personal baggage. In cabin, you are allowed a small back pack or carry-on, with an 18lb weight limit.
Zimbabwe Visas: US citizens require a visa into Zimbabwe and may obtain it at the point of entry on arrival. Currently, a visa costs $30 US, and this will be included in your trip package price.
Money: Use only cash while in country, not credit cards. Zimbabwe currently uses $US. We advise each team member to carry their cash in a (waist type) money belt worn under their clothing. Individuals are responsible for looking after their own money, passports, and other valuables.
Communication: E-mail and phone service are limited and unreliable at best. We will make use of it whenever we can with our host families. We do carry a local cell phone with us while in country which can, conditions permitting, receive and make calls locally and internationally. A list of local Zimbabwe contact details will be given to you to leave with family/friends prior to the trip.
Medical services: Zimbabwean medical facilities are not what you have in the US. Pack a wide spectrum “just-in-case” antibiotic.
Malaria: Malaria prophylactics are recommended year round, with the worst season being between October-April. Contact your health care provider for details.
Vaccinations: Please make sure your tetanus is current. Zimbabwe does not require any particular vaccination(s) for entry. However, we advise at a minimum that your tetanus booster be update, and that you consider getting Typhoid and Hepatitis A and B vaccinations. Consult your family physician or set up an appointment with the Knox County Health Department, with the County being the cheaper of the two. As some vaccinations require a series of shots, be sure to enquire early about what you need and how long it takes to complete the course.
Water: We treat all our drinking water. Commercially produced soft drinks and bottled water are safe to drink. Besides being croc and hippo infested, local lakes, rivers and dams contain bilharzias, an undesirable parasite, and you are advised to not swim in them.
Zimbabwe Weather & Climate:
Zimbabwe has a fairly tropical, inland climate, dominated by the wet and dry seasons.
Late April – late August: cooler months and temperatures can be chilly (or even very cold!) in the evenings and early mornings. Depending where you are, June/July nights can get down into the 30’s-40’s, daytime up in the 70’s-80’s.
September – November: warm to hot, and dry – nights in the 50’s, daytime in the 70’s-80’s +.
December – early April: hot (90’s +), wet and sometimes humid (sporadic afternoon/evening thunder showers).
Dee’s contact info: