On September 1, Hurricane Dorian—the strongest storm in history to strike the Bahamas—stalled over 96-mile-long Grand Bahama Island, just off the coast of Florida, whipping tornado winds non-stop over the residents who call this island home for roughly 9 hours straight.
The area of "East End", Grand Bahama, was absolutely destroyed. This part of the island can be as narrow as 3 miles wide, so at certain points during the storm, the water completely washed over the region and took homes, people, electricity lines, personal belongings out with the undercurrent. Because of the storm, nearly half the homes in each East End town have been considered condemned and need to be rebuilt from the ground up.
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—and all of the pastors of East End are working together to rebuild and bring hope to their communities post-storm. Will you come alongside these small-town churches as they unite to bring hope and new life to those who've lost so much?
Home Repairs: On a standard 6-day trip you will assist local families who have homes that were damaged by Hurricane Dorian. Your team will be involved in helping to clean up from the storm, and then efforts will focus on rebuilding. Teams rebuilding in the Bahamas can expect to focus on projects from flood and wind damage including 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, youíll 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 St. Cleveland Baptist Church or a partner church within the Freeport, Grand Bahama area.
Your team will stay in a secure facility. Sleeping arrangements will be vacant classrooms (or similar) at the local church. Teams should plan to bring air-mattresses or camping mats. Note that electricity will be limited, so hand-pumps are encouraged for air-mattresses.
Water is incredibly limited in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. Residents have extremely limited access to running water and are not able to take daily showers. At this time, teams should not plan to shower daily, but will have access to bucket showers or similar a few times during the week.
Teams will have access to toilet facilities at the church and arrangements will be made for worksites as well.
At this time, there is no excess clean water available. Teams will have access to filtered drinking water throughout the trip.
The entire East End of Grand Bahama Island is struggling with access to electricity. The church where you stay will have a generator, but teams should not expect to have access to electricity 24/7.
A team of local people from the Bahamas will be preparing and serving meals for your team. You will have an ample selection of tasty food. You can expect to be served breakfast and dinner at the church, and you will pack sack lunches to bring with you to worksites each day.
Destination Airport: The Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO) sustained heavy damage in the hurricane and is not open to international flights as customs is not operational.
Teams looking to fly directly to the Bahamas can fly into Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) in Nassau and then fly into FPO from there.
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 2:00 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. There are a couple of ferry options.
1. Balearia ó Ferry departing from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. This is roughly a 2-hour ferry ride.
2. Grand Celebration ó Mini cruise ship departing from Palm Beach, FL. This is an overnight cruise. You will depart on Saturday and arrive in Freeport on Sunday. If you return this way, you would depart Freeport on Friday and arrive in Florida on Saturday.
Upon arrival to Grand Bahama, all ground transportation is included in the cost of your trip.
Passports are required for U.S. citizens to travel to the Bahamas.
Experience Mission has specific policies regarding 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 EMís IMMERSION program.
Staff certification: All EM Field Staff are certified in First Aid and CPR.
Medical kits: Medical kits that include first-aid supplies for general accidents and ailments are provided for each site. In international locations, we will also carry a Trauma Kit or First Responder Kit. In these remote locations we will have medications like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Benadryl and Imodium on hand. We make these available to adult team leaders for their sole discretionary use with their team members. EM Staff will not dispense any medications. In our domestic and international locations, we ask that teams supply their own medications like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Benadryl and Imodium as they deem necessary.
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.
Wondering what all goes on during hurricane relief mission trips to the Bahamas? Youíre not alone! Hereís a list of frequently asked questions about this trip.
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 hurricane relief trips to Puerto Rico and Coastal Texas.
How much do Bahamas mission trips cost?
The cost for this trip is $799/person for 2020. 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 seasons do you offer Bahamas mission trips?
Trips to the Bahamas will begin in January 2020 and take place all throughout the spring and summer. To see all of EM's Spring mission trip options, check out this list of available spring break trips.
What will volunteers do on a Bahamas mission trip?
Ministry in the Bahamas is specifically focused on home repair and clean up after the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian, but along the way, youíll have meaningful opportunities to spend time with residents and community leaders as they seek to discern whatís 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 work week 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 a local church in Freetown, Grand Bahama Island, on the East End.
How does transportation work during Bahamas mission trips?
Ground transportation 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.
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.
Have more questions about Experience Mission trips? Check out our general FAQs, or call our support team at 888-475-6414.
Find the best trip for your group
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Serve on a life-changing Mission Trip this year!
Find the best trip for your team
Register your team to reserve your week
Serve on a life-changing mission trip
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Your online account will allow you to access donation receipts and allocation information. After you complete your donation, a temporary username and password will be emailed to you.
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.