Interest Form

Community Overview


AGE GROUP:
Jr. High & Up

July 21 - August 17, 2018
February 16 - April 19, 2019
May 18 - August 16, 2019

COST: $675/person
(7-Day Trip)

Don’t just be a tourist—experience the real Jamaica! Follow the winding road to the rural mountain community of Catadupa where you and your team will have the chance to slow down and experience the simple life. Despite the natural beauty and scenic views, you’ll also see poverty and real needs.

On your Jamaica mission trip, you’ll learn about the difficult history of this once thriving community. Formerly a prominent stop on the railroad line, local artisans would sell crafts, clothing and carvings to tourists who passed by each day. But when the train lines shut down abruptly, it devastated the local economy. As you walk along the abandoned tracks today, you’ll get a sense of what Catadupa used to be.

Christian mission trip teams work closely with the local church in Catadupa to bring hope and new life into the community. Your team will participate in construction projects on both community buildings and individual homes while interacting with children through Kids Club or sports programs. Will you look beyond and beaches and resorts to meet practical needs in Jamaica?

Want to preview international mission trips to Jamaica? Check out EM Vision Trips for team leaders.

 
I'm Interested in a Jamaica Mission Trip

Mission Trip Details & Logistics

Location

The destination for your mission trip is Catadupa, a small village in the mountains of Jamaica. Catadupa is only about 20 miles south of Montego Bay, but because of poor winding roads and a somewhat indirect root it is about an hour and twenty minute drive. While it may be near to the beaches and resorts of Montego Bay, it is an entirely different world. In Catadupa, you are far from the bright lights in a very relaxed, friendly, and close knit community.

The natural landscape is mountainous jungle, and the lush tropical vegetation increases the intrigue of the environment. All throughout the area are fabulous vistas. The land is rich in resources from the natural springs and the fertile soil to the fruit trees and bamboo. Local fruits and vegetables include mangos, pineapple, banana, coconut, lime, sugar cane, starfruit, jackfruit, guineps, and breadfruit to name a few. It is rainy much of the year and torrential downpours can occur; however, volunteers are rarely rained out for an entire day. The island paradise would be complete if only it was not hot and humid and full of mosquitoes. Nonetheless, this is a beautiful part of Jamaica that most tourists never get to see.

Catadupa developed around the train line that ran through the center of town. Much of the town was employed by the railroad, and even more residents depended on tourists to purchase crafts and handmade items. However, in the early 1990's the railroad system was shutdown, leaving the community devastated economically. Today the railroad station is growing dilapidated, and the train tracks have become overgrown with weeds and brush, yet the community lives on. Many local people still make crafts and clothing, which they are quite eager to sell to volunteers! Others commute to Montego Bay by public bus, and many live through farming. It is evident by the worn out buildings that the community is economically oppressed, but Catadupa is full of life. You will see this when you interact with the people, and you will help to bring encouragement and hope.

Trip Activities

We partner with Christian Fellowship Church in Catadupa and nearby Cambridge to reach the community and surrounding areas through service projects and relational ministry.

Work Projects

Family Projects: Many families that live in the mountains of Jamaica have very limited access to jobs and cannot afford to maintain their small homes. As a result the sun, rain, tropical storms and general wear and tear of life take their toll, and homes fall into disrepair. When working with individual households you will be divided into small teams of 6-10 people. These projects are designed to give you the opportunity to build relationships with families and help to repair homes. Many people are in need of kitchens, showers, and especially toilets! Without this, people may be forced to relieve themselves in the pouring rain. Building toilets is one of our primary focuses.

Community Projects: Some teams will focus more on community projects. Examples of past community projects include road repair, an aqueduct for the public spring, a water tank for the church, toilets for the local school, and a community marketplace. Through these projects, you are able to reach a larger number of people. You will work alongside local people and demonstrate God's love to the community.

Because of poor roads and a low number of vehicles, your team should be prepared to walk to your worksites.

Our work in Jamaica does consist of heavy manual labor, but there are opportunities for teams of all different skill levels to serve. EM staff will be available for instruction and oversight, and in many cases local skilled workers will be hired to work with your team.

Children's Ministry

In this community, connecting with the local children through children's ministry is an important part of what we do each day. Teams coming to this community must expect to participate in Kids Club. Experience Mission will provide the curriculum for your team's use. This Kids Club curriculum will be sent out to Team Leaders in the spring via email. Your team may be asked to participate in multiple Kids Clubs and avenues of ministering to children.

Teams will be responsible to bring the craft supplies needed for their specific crafts and should budget appropriately. While we do our best to make sure the craft materials are cost effective, teams may feel free to augment any materials to make them more suitable to their budget. There are plenty of opportunities to connect with the local children through games like soccer or Frisbee. Tuck in a soccer ball or jump rope as they are sure to come in handy.

*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.

Typical Schedule

Your time in Jamaica will be coordinated in cooperation with a local team of leaders. During your trip you will have the opportunity to connect with families in need. This mission trip is sure to grab your heart with a love and respect for the Jamaican people. Below is a basic schedule for the week, but we approach this with flexibility because our ultimate focus is on relationships.

Each morning, there is time set aside for devotions and quiet time. Experience Mission has devotionals/journals that are available for purchase or teams can supply their own. This is a valuable time and we strongly encourage everyone to spend it with God journaling their thoughts and experiences as the days unfold.

Our staff will lead a time of debriefing and a short devotional in the evening (what we call "Evening Gathering") and it is always a great addition to have musical worship. Our programming does not include musical worship as we can't guarantee that our our staff will have this ability. Please let us know if you have anyone who sings or plays guitar on your trip so that we can help to coordinate the musical aspect of worship when able. If teams aren't able to help in the area of music, it may not be a part of the trip.

Typical Daily schedule (All times subject to change.)

Day 1

11:00a - 2:00p: Teams arrive at the airport in Montego Bay
12:00p - 3:00p - Teams travel from Montego Bay to Catadupa
5:00p - Leader's meeting
6:00p - Dinner
7:00p - Orientation meeting
8:00p - Team time

Day 2 (Sunday Schedule - May be another day for specific trips)

7:30a - Breakfast
10:00a - Sunday school
11:00a - Church service
12:00p - Lunch
1:00p - 6:00p - Recreational activities/free time
6:00p - Dinner
7:00p - Evening gathering
8:00p - Team time

Day 3 - Day 6

7:15a - Breakfast
7:45a - Devotions and quiet time
8:30a - Leave for work sites
12:00p - Lunch
3:30p - 4:00p - Finish work for the day
5:00p - Leaders meeting
6:00p - Dinner
7:00p - Evening gathering
8:00p - Team time

Day 7

7:00a - Breakfast
7:30a - Cleanup/packing
9:00a - Pictures and good-byes

Lodging & Food

Lodging

You will be staying dormitory style at either a local church or school in Catadupa. Both places provide beautiful scenery and a chance to mingle with local people throughout the day. These facilities are rustic, not luxurious but sufficient. Volunteers should come prepared to leave the comforts of home behind. Team members will be sleeping on the floor and should plan to bring a blow up mattress, light bedding or sleeping bag and a pillow.

Sleeping

Your team will be sleeping on concrete floors, so mats/air mattresses are essential. Bring your own bedding. It is generally warm at night; however, it is cool on occasion. A travel sheet and a light-weight sleeping bag rated down to the mid-50's are ideal. Accommodations will be dormitory style with male and female sections.

Showers

Natural Spring - There is a natural spring within walking distance, and this is by far the most popular choice for showering among the teams. It is about a 10 minute walk from the church, and a 15-20 minute walk from the school. Water comes down the side of the mountain, and there is a limitless supply. It is an open public area designated for bathing and washing, so bathing suits are required. Teams should bring t-shirts, shorts and sandals to walk to and from the spring. It's a beautiful place and the cool water is so refreshing!

Outdoor Facilities - There will also be makeshift showers at the facilities where you are staying. These consist of PVC pipe and private outdoor shower stalls. There is no hot water but given the warm temperatures cool water can be nice. All water at the facilities comes from drums so there is a limited supply.

Bathrooms

There are outdoor toilet facilities. They contain modern flush toilets, but this water comes from a drum and has poor water pressure. When water is low or pressure is down, teams must flush using buckets. These facilities are simply a row of stalls; there is no common area and no sinks. Volunteers wash their hands in outdoor sinks.

Water

There is no running water in Catadupa. There are many spigots and sinks on the facilities, but all water comes from a drum, and water pressure is gravity based. Treated drinking water is available for volunteers 24/7.

Electricity

There is electricity at the facilities, and there are a limited number of outlets. The electrical service is not as dependable as the United States and outages are fairly common but usually brief.

Security

Your rooms can be locked and local people monitor the facilities to ensure that your possessions are safe throughout the day. Trustworthy Jamaicans designated by the local pastor stay on site all night. While you may have heard reports about gang wars and violence in Jamaica, it is important to understand that this is because of issues in the larger cities. You will staying in a safe, rural community.

Food

A wonderful team of local Jamaican women will be preparing and serving meals. You will have an ample selection of tasty food. We will have purified drinking water available at all times for your team members. Team members should plan to bring their own plate, bowl, cup and silverware for meals.

Transportation

Upon arrival to Montego Bay, Jamaica, all transportation IS INCLUDED. Transportation to and from the Montego Bay Airport will be by chartered bus.

Flights

Destination Airport: Montego Bay

Team members are responsible to cover the cost of their round trip airfare to the Montego Bay airport and should make plans to arrive between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm on the first day of your selected trip.

NOTE: The first meal provided for your team will be dinner in Catadupa the evening you arrive. If your team plans to arrive before lunch, you should bring cash for each of your team members to eat at a fast food restaurant in Montego Bay after you arrive in Jamaica.

Return travel should be arranged with your flight departing after 11:00 am on the last day of the 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.

Passports & Travel Documents

Each team member must carry a valid passport.

If you do not have a valid passport, it is of the utmost importance that you apply as soon as possible. The processing time for a Passport can take several weeks once your application has been submitted. An expired Passport is not considered valid.

Notarized Letter of Parental Consent

All team members under the age of 18 must carry a written, notarized letter from their parents giving them parental permission to leave the country. They must carry the original notarized copy of this letter. It cannot be a photo copy of the letter.

1) If the minor is traveling without parents, both parents must sign the letter.
2) If they are traveling with one parent, the parent that is not traveling with them must sign this letter.
3) If their parents are separated or divorced and both parents do not want to sign the same letter, they must have a notarized letter from each parent giving them permission to go.

Experience Mission can provide a sample copy of a permission letter or you can create your own letter that must include the following:

1) The full name of both parents and their formal signatures
2) The full name of the child
3) The full name of the Adult Chaperone serving as the Team Leader
4) The specific traveling dates for each country
5) The destination country
6) The reason for travel to the destination country (example- "youth group function")
7) The Airline itinerary (if applicable)

If you have further questions regarding required travel documents we advise you to contact the US State Department: www.travel.state.gov

Local Partners

Christian Fellowship Church EM Jamaica Coordinator, Pastor Leroy Gordon, oversees the Christian Fellowship Church network of churches in various cities all across the island of Jamaica. EM mission teams primarily partner with the two church communities that Pastor Gordon pastors directly in Catadupa and Cambridge. Christian Fellowship Church is very active in their local community and they are committed to preaching the gospel and assisting with the practical needs of their neighbors.



Upcoming Jamaica Trip Dates

Interested? Start here!

If you're interested in bringing your group on a mission trip, fill out this quick interest form! Our staff will be in touch with you shortly to help answer your questions. Also, many questions about trips to this community are answered under Mission Trip Details & Logistics above.

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

EM Jamaica Staff

Pastor Leroy Gordon EM Jamaica Coordinator

Pastor Gordon is not only our community coordinator in Jamaica but he is also a full-time pastor and oversees a network of churches in the country. He has lived in the small town of Catadupa for over 30 years, and he is a highly respected leader in the local community. He is passionate about helping people with their practical and spiritual needs. He is committed to "preaching the gospel in a practical way."

Demar Granville EM Jamaica Staff

Demar is a school teacher and he also assists Pastor Gordon with the pastoral duties of his local church in Catadupa. He is a natural leader with a heart to serve others and live out his Christian faith.

Leroy Gordon Junior EM Jamaica Staff

Leroy Jr. is a full-time teacher, and he helps to coordinate EM summer teams. He is active in his the local church where he assists with worship and he has a heart to live out his faith by serving others.

Phyllis Salmon EM Jamaica Staff

Phyllis helps to maintain the facilities of our partner church in Catadupa, and she has been active in her community for many years. She is a strong woman of faith who loves to connect with the EM teams.

Nordia Fletcher EM Jamaica Staff

Nordia is an active member of our partner church in Jamaica and she also helps coordinate our summer mission teams. She does a wonderful job of connecting with people of different backgrounds.

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More Info

Registration & Payment

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

View Registration & Payment Policy

INDIVIDUALS

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 EMs IMMERSION program.

Health & Safety

EM's Health & Safety plan provides the following:

Staff certification: All Summer Staff are certified in First Aid and CPR.

Nearest Hospital: Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay.

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 911 services will be contacted immediately. The family will be contacted immediately to assist in guidance for 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 a more information about health concerns and recommended immunizations, you can visit the CDC travelers guide to Jamaica. You should consult your local doctor prior to receiving any immunizations.

Mission Trip FAQs

Mission Trips involve many details, and we know you probably have a few questions about EM mission trips.

View the Experience Mission FAQ page


Partner with EM on a Mission Trip

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Fill out an
Interest Form

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Let us help you find the best trip and Register your team

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Serve on a life-changing mission trip

Need to know more?

View our FAQ or Registration Policy. If you have additional questions or don't see the dates you're looking for listed above, please call us at the EM Service Center at 888-475-6414 or Fill Out a Group Interest Form.

 
Interested in a Jamaica mission trip?


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