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puerto rico mission trips

Puerto Rico
Mission Trips

Serve and learn together in a U.S. Territory with a very different culture than the mainland.
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puerto rico mission trip
AGE GROUP:
Sr. High & Up
TRIP SEASON:
Year Round
COST:
$845-$995/person (7-Day Trip)

Community Overview

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Puerto Rico is in crisis once again after weathering Hurricane Fiona in September 2022. Hurricane Maria whipped through the U.S. island territory in 2017 with tornado-level winds, drenching the island with intense flooding, crippling communications, and decimating countless homes. In 2019, the island was struck by an earthquake swarm, displacing many families from their homes. The global pandemic slowed rebuilding and recovery and has left the territory in a fragile economic state. And now, massive flooding and blackouts from the hurricane have left thousands of households to attempt to rebuild once more.

In order to help and encourage this island community who have been through so much, we're continuing to partner with incredible local organizations in Puerto Rico to connect willing volunteer groups to relief and service trips. If you are looking for an opportunity to make a tangible impact on the lives of real people in need, this will be a great trip for your group.

Will you come alongside the people of this often-forgotten territory on a 2023 Puerto Rico hurricane relief and service mission trip?

NOTE: EM teams to Puerto Rico will partner with ministries with either The Family Church or The Happy Givers. Registering teams will get to choose which community they visit based on availability. Fill out an interest form to get started and learn more!

Meet our Local Partners

Local Partners

The Family Church
The Family Church is a bilingual church serving the western beach town of Rincon. Pastor Jose Garcia has been bi-vocational much of his life, serving the community both as a Registered Nurse and as a pastor. “We are seeking as a church to be a community of people who focus on worship, on discipleship, and on outreach into a broken world. Opportunities for locals and stateside churches, to partner alongside us to serve and mark the lives of many sharing God's love through service, exist all throughout the year. Hurricane Maria may have shaken us, but it became an undeniable testimony of the transformation of a nation one person at a time, one family at a time, and one community at a time through the power of a loving, serving, Spirit-filled Church.”
The Happy Givers
The Happy Givers is an organization serving the northwest coastal community of Vega Alta. Founder Carlos Rodriguez spent over a decade pastoring at a church in North Carolina. After Hurricane Maria, he returned to Puerto Rico with his wife and children to serve the complex needs of his homeland. Pairing his social media influence with simple yet profound t-shirt designs, Carlos and his team raised funds to create a unique, sustainable ministry that provides social work, meals, home repair, work training, and employment to the community. “We are continually expanding our partnership with local communities and bridging them with our global partners. We do not believe in cheap handouts. We are here for long-term solutions and community transformation.”

Details & Logistics

Trip Activities & Opportunities

In Puerto Rico we partner with a local organization called Hunger Corp to support teams like you who help families recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria.

Work Projects

Home Repairs: Puerto Rico has a large demographic of elderly people who live simple lives in small cement homes. Most do not have the means to maintain their homes. Repairs may include simple electrical, patching roofs, painting, removing debris, deep cleaning, and landscaping.

Food Production: Puerto Rico currently imports 80% of its food products even though the climate is ideal for year-round food production. Our partners are working to change this food dependence. They have purchased raw land and have been thoughtfully turning it into sustainable gardens and orchards. Your team may participate in land clearing, building raised beds, mixing and sifting organic soil, building hydroponic systems, planting trees and seeds, and other agricultural tasks.

Meal Distribution: Our partners have a kitchen dedicated to the preparation of hot, nutritious meals which are delivered to the elderly. One of the long-term goals is that the gardens will eventually produce much of the food that is used in these meals. Your team may be involved in harvesting, cleaning, preparing, and delivering meals to the elderly or the homeless.

Outreach Opportunities

Groups that serve in Puerto Rico may also have the opportunity to engage in outreach ministry through food programs, beachside prayer gatherings, beach clean-up, and kids ministry. These opportunities will be solidified as your trip gets closer.

*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.

Lodging, Food & Transportation

Lodging

Teams serving in Puerto Rico, will be staying at an air-conditioned ministry house in a gated property.

Sleeping Arrangements

Sleeping quarters include multiple bedrooms, small kitchens and shared living spaces all with air conditioning. Beds, sheets and pillows are provided.

Bathrooms & Showers

There will be modern toilet facilities available where you are staying. Indoor and outdoor private showers are available.

Water

The housing facilities have plumbing and running water. “The food and drink standards in Puerto Rico are comparable to those of the mainland United States. The tap water is safe to drink as it is filtered and treated at the source.” (discoverpuertorico.com)

Electricity & Connectivity

Electricity is mostly stable, but there are times when it may go out for several hours. You can expect to have electricity at your lodging facilities without any significant issues. Cell phone and data connection are decent for all major carriers, although there are many spots where it may be weak.

Food

Breakfast and dinner will be provided at the ministry house/church, and you will pack sack lunches to bring with you to work each day. There will be at least one opportunity to enjoy a locally made Puerto Rican meal.

Flights

If your team is serving with The Happy Givers in Vega Alta you should fly into Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) in San Juan. If your team is serving with The Family Church in Rincon you should fly into Rafael Hernández Marín International Airport (BQN) in Aguadilla. Please confirm the destination airport for your specific trip with EM Support Staff before booking your tickets!

You as a team are responsible to cover the cost of your round-trip airfare to Puerto Rico and should make plans to arrive after lunch on the first day of your selected trip.

Checkout time is 10am on the last day of your selected trip. If your return flight departs later in the day you may want to walk around Old San Juan or the Old Aguadilla Lighthouse Ruins with your extra time.

Ground Transportation

Your team's transportation to, from, and while in Puerto Rico is NOT covered. You will need vehicles throughout the entire week to transport your team to various locations for work and ministry.

Passports

Because Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States you do not need a passport to travel to Puerto Rico! Adults will be required to show a state-issued photo I.D. card, such as a driver's license or a non-driving photo I.D.

Minors

All minors (younger than 18) need a signed and notarized medical release while in Puerto Rico. Team leaders should keep these documents on hand throughout the trip.

Health & Safety

EM's Health & Safety Plan

Staff Certification
All Summer 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. EM Staff will not dispense any medications. We ask that teams supply their own medications like Tylenol, Ibuprofin, 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 9-1-1 services will be contacted immediately. The family will be contacted 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 Puerto Rico. You should consult your local doctor prior to receiving any immunizations.

Curious about EM's Covid Guidelines? Check out EM's current guidelines for 2022 Trips

Registration & Payment

Experience Mission has specific policies regarding team registration and withdrawal. Please refer to the document below for specifics.

View EM's Mission Trip Registration Policy

INDIVIDUALS

All volunteers on this week-long EM mission trip must be part of a team of at least 10 people, with at least one team member age 21 or older to serve as the Team Leader. In some cases, smaller teams of 3 or more may partner alongside a larger group if one is already registered. See "Small Teams Trips" below for available dates. Not part of a group? All young adults ages 18-30 are eligible to apply for EM's IMMERSION program.

Puerto Rico Trip FAQs

What age group can you accommodate in Puerto Rico?
These trips are open for high school age youth and older. Because of the nature of the work there, we are unable to make many exceptions. View all EM mission trips for Jr. High students.

How much do Puerto Rico mission trips cost?
The cost of this trip in 2023 is $845-$995/person (depending on your chosen location). This includes all lodging, food, 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 Puerto Rico mission trips?
Trips to Puerto Rico take place in the spring and summer. To see more spring options, check out this list of all available spring break trips.

Will we work with children in Puerto Rico?
There may 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 18.5 years and older are required to pass a background check. All minors (younger than 18) must have a signed and notarized medical release while in Puerto Rico. Team Leaders should keep these on hand for the duration of the trip. Your mission trip support representative will contact you if any other paperwork is required.

Where will my mission team stay in Puerto Rico?
Teams will stay at a guesthouse on the campus of our partner organization. Your mission trip support representative will be able to provide you with specific details 30 days prior to your trip.

Are meals provided on Puerto Rico mission trips?
Yes! Meals will be provided for the duration of your trip. Because of the limited availability of certain commodities, our ability to accommodate certain dietary restrictions is limited. Grocery stores, including Walmart, are easily accessible should you need to shop for specific food items.

How does transportation work during Puerto Rico mission trips?
Ground transportation is NOT included for our Puerto Rico trips. Vehicles can be rented at or near the airport at major US companies (Alamo, Enterprise, Hertz) or smaller local companies (Target, Charlie's, Dario's). Your team will enjoy the independence of having your own transportation as there are many local beaches, souvenir shops, and eateries to explore during your free time!

Will my team have free time?
Each morning, there is time set aside for devotions and quiet time. This is a valuable time and we strongly encourage all team members to spend it with God, journaling their thoughts and experiences as the days unfold. EM will provide a physical or printable devotional journal. There is also time in the evening for what we call Evening Gathering, a moment to debrief, reflect and worship. Throughout the week there will be pockets of time to explore the community, get souvenirs and swim at the beach.

What time should I arrive on the first day in Puerto Rico?
Teams are asked to arrive after lunch on the first day of their selected trip.

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 Puerto Rico to book a hotel or vacation home. This is a meaningful way to support the once-thriving tourism industry as the locals continue to recover.

Will I need a passport for a Puerto Rico mission trip?
No! US citizens only need to show a valid drivers license or state ID. For more information, contact U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

What do I pack for a Puerto Rico mission trip?
Your work clothes should include long pants, socks tall enough that pant cuffs can be tucked in at the ankle, closed-toed shoes, t-shirts, and work gloves. Shorts, sandals, and modest tank tops are fine for free time. Ladies should pack a skirt for church. Please also pack sunscreen, bug repellant, hats, sunglasses, swimsuits, and beach towels.

Does EM offer any other similar mission trips?
Yes! EM is also offering multiple community noptions for Caribbean mission trips.

Will I need to bring masks or Covid tests?
Yes. Puerto Rico has taken the Covid virus very seriously. They endured a long and very strict lockdown. As of mid-2022, over 93% of the population has chosen to be vaccinated. Please have a mask on you at all times and plan to wear it whenever you interact with a local who is wearing a mask or you enter an establishment that has a mask requirement.

Please pack 2 Covid tests per person and be proactive in taking a test at the first symptom. As of mid-2022, there are free testing sites at local hospitals.

Have more questions about Experience Mission trips? Check out our general FAQs, or call our support team at 888-475-6414.

Upcoming Trip Dates: Puerto Rico

We’d love to connect with you!

Dont hit a snag in your mission trip planning! Fill out an interest form or call (888) 475-6414 (Tue-Thu, 9am-5pm ET) to ask questions and learn more about upcoming EM mission trips.

Fill Out An Interest Form Call (888) 475-6414

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Make your Mission Trip a reality!

1

Fill out a Group Interest Form

Only takes a minute! Simply choose the community and trip dates you’re most interested in—no commitment necessary.

2

We’ll personally follow up with you this week

Answering your questions and walking you through the process of finding the best trip, registering your group, and preparing to serve together.

3

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.

Fill Out an Interest Form

Need to know more?

Read our Mission Trip FAQ and Registration Policy. If you have additional questions or don't see the dates you're looking for, fill out an interest form for the trip closest to what you're hoping for and let us know the needs of your group.

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Download the free EM Fundraising Guide for all our best tips and ideas for making fundraising for your next trip fun and easy.

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EM Fundraising Guide
EM Fundraising Guide

Don't let fundraising slow you down!

Download our free Fundraising Guide for all our best tips and ideas for making fundraising for your next trip fun and easy.

Get the Free Guide

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