Who can go?
Commission Unto Mexico is a Work & Witness adventure for all ages. We welcome entire families! While it is sponsored by SNU, only one-fourth of those going will be SNU students and faculty. The rest will be pastors and lay people along with their teenagers and children.
How old does a person have to be in order to go?
We advertise Commission Unto Mexico as "a Work & Witness adventure for all ages." It is. We've had children as young as six come. All young children must be accompanied by at least one parent; all junior and senior high students must have an adult sponsor. If you are an individual teen from your church without a sponsor please contact us (email@example.com) and we will try to get you matched up with someone from your district or another adult who will be your sponsor. We want to make every opportunity availible for everyone who wants to to go. Everyone under the age of 18 must complete a parental permission slip ( click here ) and have it notarized.
Where can I get a registration form?
Register online by simply clicking on the "registration form" tab under the page "Getting Started". Under the registration tab there are also registration form which you can download, print, and mail into to us.
To create an account to register I need an e-mail. What if I or my child doesn't have one?
You must create a fake e-mail by using your first and last name. For example if your name is Jane Doe your fake e-mail would look like this: firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to put the "@noemail.com" after your name. This is what you will use to access your account to make any changes or payments.
When is the registration deadline for Commission UntoMexico?
Monday, December 5 is the last day for registration. But don't wait that long to make up your mind, particularly if you are planning to fly to Texas the day after Christmas! We can squeeze people into the hotel in Mexico at the last minute, but the closer it gets to December, the more difficult it may be to make your travel arrangements to Texas.
If I am under 18, do I need the notarized parental permission form?
Everyone under 18 needs complete and send in an notarized copy of the parental permission form. Click here to download the form. Even if one of your parents is going with you, we need the form to be signed by your other parent. If neither of your parents are coming, then both parents need to sign the registration form. Please mail the forms to Commission Unto Mexico, 6729 NW 39th Expressway, Bethany, OK 73008.
Will I need a passport?
Yes! You will either need a passport or a passport card.
What should I take?
For all the info on what you should take on Commission Unto Mexico, check out the section called "What to Bring".
How many church services will we be attending (so we know how many dresses to bring)?
We will be in a Sunday morning service and a New Year's Eve service that night. People can plan to wear a set of clothes more than one day. Our Mexican friends don't have nearly the number of clothes we do. Let’s not flaunt the fact that we have enough to wear something different every day and every evening.
What should I wear?
You will need work clothes, plus something to wear for the evening church services.
The nights are cool and the days are warm. So, bring clothes that are suited for both temperatures. Want to check out the weather forecasts for northeastern Mexico? [ click here ]
Choose clothing that will keep people's eyes on Christ and not on you. Remember that our personal witness for Christ is far more important than for us to feel "comfortable."
- Men: Cutoffs or tanktops will not be allowed because it gives the impression that we are crude. Suits are not required for church services, but you should wear slacks and a sport shirt.
- Women: Slacks/jeans maybe worn while working or sightseeing but not in church services. Please do not bring shorts with you.
Can I get college credit for going on the trip?
Qualified high school seniors can earn 1 hour of college credit. College and university students can earn two or three hours of credit. Syllabi are available online [click here]. Course registration must be completed with the SNU registrar's office before December 1.
What does it cost?
Cost? Just $599 from Eagle Pass, Texas (or San Antonio if you are flying). For ways to save, click here for discounts.
Ways to pay for your trip:
- Send a check made payable to SNU to Commission Unto Mexico, 6729 NW 39th, Bethany, Ok.
- Pay online with a VISA or MasterCard.
What does that money pay for?
Your price for the trip includes: application fee, insurance, hotels, all meals, transportation across the border and within Mexico and about one hundred dollars for construction materials and medical supplies. Our cost is based on 4 people to a room (in which there are 2 double beds). If you wish to have your own bed, the extra charge will be $105. Note: Married couples are given their own separate room without having to pay extra.
Because they are expenses for volunteer work with a qualified non-profit organization, your costs for Commission Unto Mexico may be eligible to be claimed as a charitable deduction (see IRS Publication 526). Any charitable deduction you claim is your responsibility. If you have any doubt as to the deductibility of an expense, check with your tax advisor.
What happens to my money if something comes up at the last minute and I cannot go?
Anyone who had paid for Commission Unto Mexico, but is unable to go may receive a refund of all that they have paid, minus the $25 nonrefundable registration fee.
When people give me money for the trip, is that a tax-deductible contribution?
Money given to help you go on the trip can be considered a contribution to a non-profit organization if that person gives the money directly to your church and your church sends the funds to us rather than giving it to you.
Can my Nazarene church count my Commission Unto Mexico expenses as "10%" missions giving?
Money spent on a Work & Witness trips can get Nazarene 10% missions giving credit. There is an official form to use to report those expenses. [ click here ] The form should not be sent in to Kansas City until the trip has been completed. For "team name" on the form, put "Commission Unto Mexico."
What about exchanging money into pesos?
U.S.dollars can be exchanged at the hotel desk or at exchange places located near the hotel. The missionaries will also have some pesos they will exchange for dollars.
Is there a dollar limit on the amount of souvenirs I can buy in Mexico and bring back to the states without paying a border tax?
Each person may bring back to the U.S. $800 worth of merchandise duty-free. For more information, go to the U.S. customs web site. [ click here]
Can those going from my church stay together?
People from the same church can room together and will be assigned to the same construction/VBS team.
Will I experience culture shock?
You will experience culture shock (cultural adjustment). Delays at the border, poverty scenes, language difficulties, a different sense of time and all kinds of different habits may be new experiences for you. Remember that your world view is different from theirs (not better, just different). Some acts that are right in the U.S. may hurt feelings or even be insulting in Mexico.
Be positive and generous. Demonstrate your appreciation of what you are seeing and experiencing. Work at adopting Mexican manners. Do not ask them to adopt yours. Don't be a loud, obnoxious American.
What about insurance? Will we be covered?
About $3 per day of your $529 pays for health and accident insurance while you are in Mexico. Should you get sick or be injured in Mexico,that policy covers you even to the point of airlifting you out of Mexico should that become necessary.
Do I need to get shots or immunizations before the trip?
The only shot or immunization to worry about is one for tetanus. If you've had a tetanus booster shot within the last 10 years, you don't need anything else.
Is there a secure parking place at SNU where we can leave our car during the week of December 26 to January 3?
Yes, you can leave your car in the same place where SNU parks its buses and vans. It's not secure in the sense that it's fenced in with an alarm system. However, we do have a campus security patrol and the lots are monitored by cameras.
Because of airline schedules I will be arriving in San Antonio on the evening of December 25. Where should I stay?
Click on the "Travel Plans" tab under the "Getting Started" page for suggestions. When you call to make reservations, mention that you are with Southern Nazarene University and would like that "group rate." You will be bused to Eagle Pass, TX sometime on the 26th so you will need to reserve a room at a hotel close by the Training Center in Eagle Pass, TX which is located at 264 N Brazos St, Eagle Pass, TX 78852.
I don't speak Spanish, how will I communicate with others?
We have always brought along some interpreters with us on the trip. Click here for some tools when communicating through an interpreter.
What is the typical day like?
For all a look at an overview of the week and a typical day's schedule, look at the "Daily Schedule" page.
Where will we stay? Will we be sleeping in the churches?
We will be staying in a nice hotel. There will be hot water for showers. To keep the cost as low as possible, most people will be staying four to a room. Each morning we will have breakfast at the hotel and then be picked up in buses and vans and taken to our ministry sites. We will return to the hotel in the evening where we will also eat dinner.
Will we meet some missionaries in Mexico?
The Work and Witness Coordinators for Mexico, will direct our time in Mexico. We may also get to meet Steve and Debbie Baker and Gavin and Jill Fothergill and other missionaries who are working with the Border Initiative project. There may also be some mission volunteers (Mission Corps) working with us. Click here for more information and pictures of the missionaries.
Where is the meeting place in San Antonio?
****If you are driving you need to meet at the Leadership Training Center in EAGLE PASS, TX. The address for the meeting place is: 264 N Brazos St, Eagle Pass, TX 78852. ONLY if you are flying will you go to San Antonio, TX. Then, those who are flying will be shuttled to Eagle Pass the night of the 26th.
Can we get a ride from our motel to the church the morning of December 27? Then, will we be able to get a ride to the airport when we return on January 3?
Yes, we'll have a couple of people with vans swing by your motel on the morning of the 27th and pick you guys up. Tuck Howard Culberton's cell phone number (405-740-4149) in your purse or pocket. When you arrive at your motel, look around and see if you can detect anyone else from our group that may be there. If you find some, let us know how many.
As to January 3: Yes, we'll deliver you to the airport.
Will there be heat in the churches where we will be working?
Some of the churches have some minimal heating; others don't have any heating at all. Plan for it to be chilly in the early morning and in the evenings with the temperature perhaps warming up enough by mid-morning to strip to shirt sleeves. On Christmas day, check out the five-day forecast links for weather in northeast Mexico on our "What To Bring" page.
I occasionally see news about crime in Mexico and political unrest. How will that affect the trip?
Here's a clear response from Work & Witness leaders in Mexico: "We don't take groups (or individuals) into places where there is even a remote possibility of trouble."
How do I get to Eagle Pass?
Check out our "Travel Plans" page!
- By air:
Flights to San Antonio, Texas can be booked through any travel agency or even online. Get this done early since this is a peak travel season. As you make your flight plans, keep in mind that everyone must be in Eagle Pass, TX by 9 am on Dec 27. If you are flying you will be shuttled to the actual meeting place in Eagle Pass, TX. Please make your flights so that you are coming in on Dec. 26th because we will be shuttling everyone from Laredo to Eagle Pass the night of the 26th. We can provide transportation for you from the airport if you will let us know when you are coming in.
- By car:
You won't meet in San Antonio! You will need to meet at the Leadership Training Center at 264 N Brazos St, Eagle Pass, TX 78852.
If you are struggling with travel arrangements and would be interested in carpooling with another group please contact Howard Culbertson at 405-491-6693 and he would be happy to assist you.
Did I read that the Mexican churches will have the VBS lessons and that what we need to bring are supplies, ideas, and music?
Our goal is to help the Mexican churches with what they want to do. So, we tell them that we will help them with a VBS or similar program. I believe they have worked out a curriculum that all of the churches will be using. We bring supplies and puppets and clowns and willing hands and excitement. In the long run it will be more effective for the Mexicans to take the lead with us serving as support people. Naturally, it doesn't always turn out that way on every site, but at least that's the thought underlying what we do.
Could you use the assortment of sample-size soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and lotions that I have from motel stays?
Yes, we can. Our medical team likes to have these to make up hygiene kits to give out to those visiting their mobile clinics.
I've been told all kinds of things NOT to do. What should I be doing in Mexico?
Be gracious when you visit people in their homes. Accept their acts of hospitality. Share whatever is offered to you.
Be a model of moral behaviour. Mexicans can be repelled by physical expressions of affection by unmarried couples. Use a "hands-off" policy. Commission Unto Mexico is not the time to be romantic.
On the other hand, show brotherly and sisterly love constantly. Ask the Lord to help you see everyone as having genuine worth. Many Mexicans think all Americans are rich and arrogant. Demolish this stereotype by allowing God's love to flow through you.