In September 2019, Hurricane Dorian stalled over 96-mile-long Grand Bahama Island in the Bahamas, whipping tornado winds non-stop over the residents who call this island home for roughly 9 hours straight. This was the strongest storm to ever hit the Bahamas in recorded history.
The area known as East End, Grand Bahama, was absolutely destroyed. At certain points during the storm, the water completely washed over the region and took homes, people, electricity lines, and personal belongings out with the undercurrent. Nearly half the homes in each East End town were declared condemned and needed to be rebuilt from the ground up. Families have now been displaced for over 3 years and have no choice but to live in the city and use the majority of their income just to pay rent, leaving no financial resources to rebuild their family homes.
In this area, one road goes the entire width of the island, connecting each small town. Alongside each little town, there is also a church—each of different denominations, pastors, histories, and members. In an incredible show of church unity, pastors of East End are working together to rebuild and bring hope to their communities post-storm.
In the years since the hurricane, the world has almost completely forgotten the Bahamas and their need for rebuilding help. Will you come alongside these small-town churches on a 2024 mission trip to the Bahamas as they bring hope and new life to those who've lost so much?
Home Repairs: On a standard 7-day trip you will assist local families who have homes that were damaged by Hurricane Dorian. Your team will be involved in the ongoing effort to rebuild homes.. Teams rebuilding in the Bahamas can expect to focus on projects including cement work, drywall, flooring, and roofing. Skilled volunteers with a construction background are highly encouraged to join your team.
Note: We recommend at least one skilled volunteer for every 8 participants on your team.
Your work in the Bahamas will be physical manual labor, but as you serve alongside local church members, community leaders, and homeowners, you'll have the opportunity to build meaningful relationships as you partner together for a common goal.
*Experience Mission works closely with local leaders to identify work projects and ministry opportunities that address authentic needs within the community. We ask that you come with a servant's heart and willingness to adapt to the unique qualities represented in each location. Opportunities can vary significantly from one week to the next. Your team may work at one location or serve at multiple locations each day. Due to the changing needs of our community partners, we cannot confirm your specific activities until your team arrives.
Your team will stay at the Pastor's home or at St. Cleveland Baptist Church. The lodging is largely dependent on how large your team size is, and if it can be accommodated in a host family setting.
Your team will stay in a secure facility. If staying with a family, sleeping arrangements will be guest bedrooms made of 1-2 beds per room with room to lay air mattresses on the floor. At the local church, sleeping arrangements will be vacant classrooms or similar-sized rooms. Teams should plan to bring air mattresses or camping mats.
Showers are somewhat limited on this part of the island. Team members should not plan on taking a daily shower, however, running water is available in the bathrooms as well as outdoor spigots and buckets. It is recommended that team members bring a washcloth to aid in taking a “sponge bath” when showers are not available. The beach is just a 5-minute walk and is a refreshing way to scrub off the grime of a work day.
Teams will have access to toilet facilities at the church or in host families, and arrangements will be made for worksites as well.
Teams will have access to filtered drinking water throughout the trip. At this time, there is no excess clean water available.
The East End of Grand Bahama Island recently updated the power grid, and electricity is now wired through this side of the island. However, consistency may vary from home to home. WiFi is available at the Pastor's home. Cell phone signal and data coverage are decent across all major carriers.
Breakfast will be self-serve most mornings. Lunch will be pre-packed and taken to the worksite in coolers, or self-serve at the Pastor's home. Dinner is prepared by local staff and is a mix of Bahamian specialties and familiar favorites.
Destination Airport: The Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO) in Freeport is open for international travel with multiple airlines. It is often cheapest to fly into Miami or Fort Lauderdale through a US-based major airline and then book separate tickets to Freeport through Bahamas Air.
As a team, you are responsible to cover the cost of your round-trip airfare to Grand Bahama Island and should make plans to arrive between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm on the first day of your selected trip.
Return travel should be arranged with your flight departing after 11:00 am on the last day of your selected trip. If you have trouble finding flights that fit into this time frame please contact us before booking your tickets to make special arrangements.
NOTE: There are ferry options available that depart from Florida (see below).
Your team can travel to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island by boat.
Upon arrival to Grand Bahama, all ground transportation for up to 14 people is included in the cost of your trip. Groups larger than this will need to rent a vehicle that will accommodate the additional people. Vehicles can easily be reserved online at major companies like Hertz and Dollar which are located at the Freeport Airport.
Passports ARE required for U.S. citizens to travel to the Bahamas.
Emergency response plan: Based on the severity of each emergency, EM has a plan for appropriate response.
- If a team member becomes seriously ill, they will be taken to a local doctor to receive appropriate medical attention and medications. If they are a minor, their Team Leader along with our staff will accompany them to the clinic. If needed, their parents will be contacted. Their recovery will be carefully monitored by our staff.
- If there is an accident that requires a doctor, but is not life-threatening and does not have the potential to cause permanent damage, Experience Mission staff will locate the Team Leader, contact parents or guardians (providing the injured is a minor) and provide safe but quick transportation to a local clinic.
- In the event that an accident occurs which is life-threatening or has the potential for permanent damage, emergency medical care will be secured and arraignments will be made if necessary, to transport the injured person to the United States as quickly as possible providing they are serving in one of our International locations. In our domestic locations, local 9-1-1 services will be contacted immediately. The family will be contacted immediately to assist in guidance for an appropriate response.
All medical care is the sole responsibility of the team member. Experience Mission requires every team member to be covered by domestic medical insurance and recommends that team members traveling abroad carry additional international travel insurance to cover any medical needs their domestic medical insurance may not cover.
Immunizations: As with all mission trips, it is essential that volunteers are up to date on all childhood immunizations. Each volunteer must also have a tetanus shot.
For more information about health concerns and recommended immunizations, you can visit the CDC travelers guide to the Bahamas. You should consult your local doctor prior to receiving any immunizations.
Check out EM's current Covid Guidance
Experience Mission has specific policies regarding team registration and withdrawal. Please refer to the document below for specifics.
All volunteers on a week-long EM mission trip must be part of a team of at least six (6) people, with at least one team member age 21 or older to serve as the Team Leader. Not part of a group? All young adults ages 18-30 are eligible to apply for EM's IMMERSION program.
What age group can EM accommodate in the Bahamas?
Because of the scope of the rebuilding, we can only accommodate volunteers age 16 and older. Teams will be walking into a disaster zone where lives were lost. Maturity and preparedness of team members is of upmost importance. Serving with a younger group? Check out mission trips to Puerto Rico.
How much do Bahamas mission trips cost?
The cost for this mission trip in 2023 is $825/person. This includes all lodging, food, ground transportation, staffing, and trip-related expenses. Note that all construction projects are generally provided at no cost to families. Your fees help cover this blessing for homeowners.
What will volunteers do on a Bahamas mission trip?
Ministry in the Bahamas is specifically focused on home rebuilding/repair after the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian. Along the way, you will have opportunities to spend meaningful time with residents and community leaders as they seek to discern what's next for their city.
Will we work with children in the Bahamas?
Because the housing needs are so great in the Bahamas, we are currently focusing our efforts entirely on construction. There will be various opportunities to engage with local families in the community, and taking breaks to get to know these families (and children) during the workweek is highly encouraged.
What paperwork is required for this mission trip?
Each team member will need to fill out a team member registration form and liability waiver, and all adults are required to pass a background check. Your mission trip support representative will contact you if any other paperwork is required.
Where will my mission team stay in the Bahamas?
Teams will stay at the pastor's home or church in Freetown, Grand Bahama Island, on the East End.
How does transportation work during Bahamas mission trips?
Ground transportation for up to 14 people is included for our Bahamas trips. Experience Mission community partners will pick your team up at FPO airport or the port (if arriving by ferry), arrange transportation for all trip-related activities and return you back to the airport or port at the end of the week. Groups larger than 14 will need to rent a vehicle that will accommodate the additional people. Vehicles can easily be reserved online at major companies like Hertz and Dollar which are located at the Freeport Airport
What time should we arrive on the first day in the Bahamas?
Teams are asked to arrive between 11 AM and 2 PM on the first day of their selected trip and book flights or ferries no earlier than 11 AM on the last day to return home. Please let us know if you will not be able to book your travel in this timeframe so we can ensure ground transportation for your team.
Can I extend my stay through the weekend?
We are unable to accommodate teams after Friday morning. We encourage teams who are interested in experiencing the tourism options in the Bahamas to book a hotel and rent vehicles to stay longer. This is a unique and meaningful way to support the once-thriving tourism industry as the locals continue to rebuild.
Will I need a passport for a Bahamas mission trip?
Yes! While the Bahamas is located very close to the US, it is a separate country, and passports are required for entry.
What do I pack for a Bahamas mission trip?
A packing list will be available to you once you register for your trip. Generally, be prepared to bring work clothes. All construction tools and materials will be provided.
Does EM have any Covid requirements for teams?
We ask that teams bring 1-2 masks/person and 2-4 rapid tests in the event that someone on your team becomes sick during the trip. Outside of that, we simply recommend that teams follow current CDC recommendations regarding travel, testing, and what to do if you're exposed or get sick. View EM's Current Covid Guidance
Have more questions about Experience Mission trips? Check out our general FAQs, or call our support team at 888-475-6414.
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Answering your questions and walking you through the process of finding the best trip, registering your group, and preparing to serve together.
You and your team serve on a cross-cultural mission trip!
Organized and led by EM field staff or local partners, your trip will bring encouragement and light to people in difficult circumstances, as you learn what it means to care for all people, whoever and wherever you are.
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You must have a group size of at least 10 members to join this trip. Please view the Small Team trips or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.
For most trips, you must have a group size of at least 10 members. Please view the Small Teams tab on each Community page or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.