Student Packet is printer friendly and includes what is on the guidelines page of this website, plus four additional pages including a what to bring list, some other important information, and some advice on how to speak through an interpreter. We suggest printing this out for each person going.
The sample recruiting flyer and commitment form contains basic information you could provide to your local youth group. Using a commitment form like this allows you to have a firm group list well ahead of the deposit deadlines so you can go ahead and make plans and even make payments to EFC-MAYM if necessary (if fundraisers are after deposit deadline).
Group Leader Checklist in preparing group for Invasion
Provide Sign Up Sheet in Youth Room
-Make Recruiting Flyers and commitment forms for your church
See Sample Recruiting Flyer and Commitment Form.
-Recruit appropriate adults to join your team (see guidelines)
-Recruit interpreters. Every Team is responsible for bringing an interpreter.
-Plan and Announce appropriate fundraisers
-Plan and Announce required orientation date(s) and schedule
-Contact email@example.com to verify you plan to bring a team and
which week your spring break falls on.
-Contact Janet about your hotel arrangements down and back.
Feb 1 & 8:
Contact students who haven’t signed up asking, “Are you going to
Mexico with us? If so, sign up! If not, why not?”)
–Register yourself – ASAP!
-Encourage team members to register online now! Cancellations before March 5 will be refunded
Make sure all of your team members are registered online to avoid last-
minute scrambles and late fees
Have a church check cut to EFC-MAYM for your full team’s registration
Deposit, any shirts and your motel costs. Double check that every Team Member is registered online.
Complete Hotel Room list and send to firstname.lastname@example.org
March 5 or earlier:
Team Members’ Release Forms collected and copy sent to Friends
Ministry Center – See the Team Member Checklist
Make sure Vehicles and Drivers have proper paperwork – See the Vehicle Checklist
Purchase Mexican Insurance for your vehicles
Double Check that you have ready to pack:
- Team Members passports and Release Forms, and photo I.D.’s (students, adults, and yourself)
- Vehicle Titles and paperwork
- Appropriate materials for VBS Ministry and/or
- Tools for work projects – as needed for ministry work
- Cash in smaller bills
- A First Aid kit (2 kits if your team is split up in Mexico)
- Large Water Cooler(s) to hold all drinking water and cool-aid for meals and all day – coolers will not be provided for you – have the appropriate size and quantity for your team size and/or number of teams
- Large Ice Chest(s) to store ice and breakfast cereal milk provided to you during the week
The EFC-MAYM Registration includes:
(between the time you arrive to and depart from the Agujita, Mexico Invasion Base)
all meals, drinking water, ice as possible, lodging, director administration, host and/or church cash gifts, one all-you-can-eat meal at Jugos on the last night, and construction project materials.
Costs NOT included in your EFC-MAYM Registration:
Groups will need to charge students extra registration fees to cover these extra costs which include: transportation costs (van rental, fuel, Mexico vehicle insurance, tolls, etc), lodging during travel, Mexican border tourist cards (approx $30 per person), VBS and other ministry materials as necessary, optional snacks, and interpreter and/or adult leader costs. Also, individual travel meals need to be planned into Invasion costs. EFC-MAYM does not provide group medical insurance for Spring Invasion.
Registrants can purchase a shirt at an extra cost when registering online.
How are Invasion Registration funds used for cost of construction materials?
It is Invasion’s goal to provide a 75% match of each church site’s Invasion project budget (starting in 2003, each Mexican church is now required to raise 25% of the match). Occasionally we ask for optional donations above and beyond the Invasion registration (like bags of concrete or other supplies or cash). Or in some cases, your church might gain a vision for a particular project, and would like to focus fundraising efforts in that direction as an option above and beyond your team’s registration. Either way, the Spring Invasion directors use the Invasion budget to serve this missions effort and your team in the best ways we can, relying on wisdom of experience, advice from experienced missionaries, and working with Mexican Church Pastors. The Invasion budget can not handle a project, particularly a large project, at every site. While your individual team’s size and registration contribution is taken into consideration at times, Invasion funds are put into one large budget and distributed as appropriate to serve the needs in Mexico, with high priority placed in allowing Friends Youth to get involved hands-on in one way or another!
How does Invasion decide what projects to take on?
We rely on the vision and leadership of Samuel Vasquez and the Mexican pastors. We also consider cost and size of project, only taking on what our teams can accomplish in our two weeks and try to consider good missions wisdom, including never paying for work that we can’t be a part of. Furthermore, we will not just do it all for a mission/church 100%, except in special situations, so we are watching for the mission/church’s willingness to contribute funds (25%) and take ownership of ministry vision, while being careful not to display inappropriate favoritism to any pastor or church. We almost never tell a Pastor or church what projects they should have; but instead, we ask what projects they have vision for and what projects will supplement their God-given vision for ministry, then we determine how we can help. Applying missions wisdom to Invasion is an ongoing challenge!
Hotel costs are NOT included in your Spring Invasion Registration. If you wish for EFC-MAYM to make your Hotel reservations, please let Janet know. Any changes made to your Hotel list after March 1 should be communicated directly to Janet@efcmaym.org or (316) 267-0391 Please send checks to EFC-MAYM, Friends Ministry Center, 2018 Maple, Wichita, KS for your hotel charges (along with your groups registration and shirt costs).
Your rooms will be held under “Evangelical Friends Church Group” with your church name on the rooming list over your group’s rooms. The room charges will be paid to the hotel by Jenna with an EFC-MAYM Credit Card.
Emergency Contact Numbers
Give out contact info for a solid, trusted leader at your local church who will be available over spring break (pastor, spouse, parent) and instruct parents to contact that person in case of emergency and that person will contact you/us in Mexico. This theoretically saves us from getting non-emergency calls, and insures that your parent will reach someone from your local church immediately.
Provide these numbers to your contact person:
-provide a clear schedule so they know where you are and when your cell phone will and won’t work
-Your Cell phone
-Applicable motel phone numbers where you will be staying
-While you are in Mexico – Samuel Vasquez (primary Mexican leader) 011 52 861 613 3777 (ask for Matt, Ralph, or Samuel – then we will hunt you down to call back – may take a few minutes or a few hours depending where you are at!)
Each Group Leader Is Responsible to Bring:
1. Team Members’ Paperwork – See the Team Member Checklist. It is required by Mexico that each person crossing into Mexico have a passport or passport card. It is also required that anyone taking a minor (under 18) into Mexico have a notarized Release Form giving the responsible adult permission to transport the minor across the border Group leaders should collect and carry all of this required paperwork ahead of time and have it available at the Border Station. Do not have your team members carry their own paperwork – not even adults. And collect paperwork at least two weeks before departure to be sure you have it all in time and have your copies made. If one person is not allowed across the border – you have trouble on your hands that affects the whole team!!!
All persons should carry personal Photo I.D. at all times.
BE READY AND FLEXIBLE FOR THE ALWAYS CHANGING BORDER CROSSING EXPERIENCE
Please be prepared to pay approximately $30 per person for tourist card (visa) costs.
The team’s paperwork and passports will need to be available at the check station which is a few miles past the border where Tourist Forms are filled out and handled. Nowadays, they don’t always ask to see Release Forms, but they often still do, so don’t even bring a team member without the correct paperwork! Invasion directors will help you at the border.
Keep all tourist forms in a file in one group leader’s charge – do not have students secure their papers!
*! You are required to return tourist cards and cancel vehicle permits at the check station on the way back to the U.S. If you miss this step, you will have trouble in the future, especially getting the same vehicle into Mexico (nearly impossible).
2. Vehicles with proper paperwork – See the Vehicle Checklist and notes (note new vehicle deposits are to be left at check-point station for all vehicles – see checklist) Be very thorough or you won’t get your vehicle through! If you are having trouble with locating transportation and need some help or encouragement, call Matt. Here is a Sample Church Van Permission Letter.
3. An Interpreter – Every Team is responsible for bringing an interpreter. It’s amazing what God can do with a bunch of English-speaking Gringos on the mission field, but it’s not surprising how difficult your ministry would be without help crossing the language barrier. Hopefully, you or someone in your group knows someone who can interpret! Maybe a foreign exchange student, or Spanish Teacher, or Hispanic student, or someone active in a local Spanish-Speaking church? As appropriate in your situation, you may want to either help the interpreter with their expenses or pay them entirely. If you are bringing a small group that will be joining another group to make up a Team, your groups can share this cost. Please see Invasion Guidelines for Recruiting Interpreters.
If you are not able to find an interpreter, contact Matt Macy in case he has heard of some leads.
4. Adequate Adult Leadership – As a rule, their should be at least one adult for every seven High School students. Whatever missions projects you end up with, it is advisable to have adults along who can supervise properly. If you were to dig, have adults who can lead in digging! Most all teams will be asked to do children’s ministry, so have leaders on your team who are competently prepared to lead in children’s ministry (have good leadership prepare your students at home, too). If you hope to do construction-type work, bring adult team members who have some tendency’s that way to help supervise the group. Obviously, you don’t need to have experts for every possible scenario, but bring people who can understand the work, comprehend directions, and supervise a team. Spring Invasion Directors will not be available to help your team 100% of the time. Please See Invasion Guidelines for Recruiting Adults below.
5. Appropriate Materials – As your team’s ministry work becomes apparent, plan for all supplies you may need and bring it all along. This could include lots of things, but might especially include children’s ministry supplies, even if you are not sure you will be doing VBS ministry. It is also a good idea to bring along a couple of soccer balls, jump ropes, or items that could be helpful in ministry.
6. Cash in smaller bills – So far, we’ve found very few places that will accept our credit cards, but everywhere I’ve been in Coahuila will take U.S. Cash. So be sure to have enough cash to take care of your team’s expenses. This might include a fuel fill-up or two. U.S. currency is accepted everywhere we’ve been but remember that large bills could be difficult to make change for in some places. It’s wise to have lots of small bills, 1’s and 5’s, and keep the bulk of your extra cash in 20’s.
7. A First Aid kit, which could include: Band-Aids, First Aid Tape, Adhesive Bandages, Antiseptic Wipes, Sterile Pads, Ammonia Inhalants, Pepto-Bismol, Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Neosporin, Hydrogen Peroxide, Q Tips, Tums, Hand Sanitizer, Wet Wipes, Plastic Bags, Eye Drops, Benadryl, Duct Tape, Bailing Wire, Imodium A.D
8. Water Cooler for drinks/Ice Chest to preserve milk, ice, etc – Please bring at least one large water drink cooler and one large ice chest per team/per site – adequate for your team size (you may want 2 or 3 of each). Invasion directors will be keeping your water and ice supply maintained. Also, as milk and cereal breakfasts are provided to each team, some remote locations may require milk and ice to be kept in an ice chest.
Note – It is not necessary to bring bottled water from the States because good, safe, bottled drinking water is cheaper and easier to get in Mexico!
Breakfast and Supplies provided for each group
Your Host church will provide everything for lunch and supper. Each group is responsible for storage, set-up, clean-up, etc for Breakfast. Invasion leaders will give you storage tubs with the listed items in them. Don’t forget your ice chest(s) and water coolers as Invasion leaders will keep you well supplied with water, milk and ice.
You will be provided with plenty of the following:
Clothes pins for open cereal bags
Trash bags (3/day)
Granola bars (1/day/person)
Paper towels (6 rolls)
Paper plates (2/day/person)
You should have plenty, but if you run low on something, Matt probably has more – just ask. At the end of the week, please leave the tubs and any contents with the church pastor. And, of course, make sure the grounds and church are left clean!
Spring Invasion guidelines for student team members:
- Sr. High Student (college, adults, families welcome)
- Must have original state-certified copy of Birth Certificate/photo I.D. or Passport*
- Active participant in local church and/or youth program
- Respectful to authority and peers
- Willing to be stretched and follow all Spring Invasion guidelines
- Has been accepted as a team member of a participating EFC-MAYM Church Youth Group
Note: It is not required for a student to have a stated ‘calling’ to missions or a deep understanding of ministry to participate. Spring Invasion is very much an entry-level missions program designed to promote interest in missions and ministry. In fact, while any missions team is naturally made up of Christians – followers of Christ – it is sometimes appropriate to welcome a student(s) who has not yet become a follower of Christ. All participants in Spring Invasion, regardless of their reasons for coming, have the opportunity to place themselves directly in the middle of God’s Work and Will, and be among people experiencing God’s Kingdom at hand. Invasion provides youth groups with the opportunity to expose every student to the ‘calling’ that all Christians have to ‘missions work’ (the great commission).
Invasion guidelines for adult team members/leaders
- Submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ evidenced by regular Bible reading, active prayer lives, the sharing of Christ with others, and active involvement in ministry at your local church (loves the church!).
- Has servant heart, interested in missions work, and open to God’s calling in their life.
- Has skills and abilities needed to accomplish needed task(s) in leadership of the missions team and is willing/able to patiently teach and supervise students in accomplishing tasks as appropriate.
- Has respect for students, shows active interest in working with students, and desires to see them grow in their walk with the Lord.
- Has good relationship and respect for Team Leader, and willing to submit to authority.
- Willing to walk alongside students in being stretched and following Spring Invasion guidelines, including full participation in any orientation or preparation gatherings and willing to do anything that is asked of the students.
- Is of age and maturity to act as an adult leader rather than as a student.
- Is not interested because they’ve “always wanted to go to Mexico” or because it just “sounds like fun!”
- Must have Passport or Passport Card
- A background check will be run on all adults working with students at any overnight EFC-MAYM program event starting in 2006.
Invasion guidelines for recruiting interpreters
A good interpreter can make or break your experience. It is not required that an interpreter be a Christian, though it is very helpful. Be sure you are extra-thorough with paperwork for any Invasion Participant who is Hispanic or not Caucasian as border patrol may give you more scrutiny for these passengers. Give clear instructions to your interpreter. Be sure he/she understands that their job is to serve you and the team by interpreting the words of your team members, not necessarily to speak freely and take over. One time, Invasion Directors had to ask one interpreter not to speak during children’s ministry unless it was word for word what a student said, because the interpreter found it easier and more enjoyable to lead the ministry herself. An interpreter might even go over the group leader’s authority in making plans with the hosts, due to the language and cultural relationship they might gain by speaking Spanish. Of course, every situation is different by who the interpreter is, their Christian maturity, and your team’s relationship with him/her, so use your best judgment. Be very intentional during Invasion to get the students involved in leading and participating in missions ministry, rather than just following the leading of the adult leaders and/or interpreter!
Items to share with your adult leaders:
Difficult and delicate issues on the Missions Field.
Missions is hard work. As we study old mission fields and learn from experienced missionaries, we learn that dependency is a common problem that severely harms a mission spiritually when an outside supporting group doesn’t focus on avoiding a dependency-creating relationship. In dependency situations, a mission starts saying “the Americans provide” rather than “God provides”. The mission may not take any ownership of their Call to ministry while waiting for someone else to ‘do it’ for them.
Please read the WMA Perspectives – December 2002 article which Rwanda Missionary David Thomas provided. The article gives an introduction to the problem and issues of dependency.
Incomplete List of Common Problems we have run into. Adults cause more problems on the mission field than students – verified by several missions agencies and missionaries!
-Americans wanting to solve every need in the Mexican churches without asking the right questions or talking to experienced Invasion leaders or Mexican Pastors before making donations or promises.
-Americans wanting to give ongoing support. Experienced missionaries say ‘never provide on-going support,’ rather help with one-time gifts (a bi-annual Invasion!).
-Americans seeing things the way they would like it (like how we would want it at home) rather than learning and listening to the way the Mexicans prefer to direct American help. [Example: Declare that we should renovate the Pastor’s bathroom, while the Pastor can’t see anything wrong with his bathroom and would like to see efforts go to something more needed in ministry.]
-Americans expecting projects to go like clockwork, sometimes more for self-gratification than for true ministry reasons. The Mexican culture moves slow! Projects do not HAVE to be done before we leave. It sometimes takes years to build a church just like it takes years to build a home in the less affluent Mexican culture.
-Don’t bow to the idol of productivity! Let this be an opportunity to fast from productivity and creatively find ways to celebrate team members who focus on other ways of being a blessing to the people relationally!
Remember that Invasion provides generous, consistent host gifts to all host sites, which will be given through group leaders. Invasion discourages any extra giving, unless spiritually discerning, mature people strongly sense a leading to do so. Be cautious in your generosity!
Invasion is a Blessing – Coahuila Friends Churches are Healthy!
God has blessed us and blessed through us in Spring Invasion since 1993! As I realize a need for caution in Invasion, and see red flags related to dependency issues, I also am excited about the spiritual health that the Mexican churches have, and the vision for church growth and community ministry. The churches are self-sufficient! Discipleship and ministry in the Mexican churches are an example to us that I desire to replicate in my own ministry context!
Preparing the Team – Orientation
If your team is prepared with the right focus as servant missionaries representing Jesus Christ, and you maintain that focus and energy during the Spring Invasion experience, it will make a dramatic difference in the fruit of this Spring Break, both in ministry to your team and church, and to the Mexican community you are serving. Watch closely for God’s action and leading, and follow Him. Lean on the Holy Spirit’s power, gifts, and fruits!
An Orientation Session(s) should be planned for your team in order to go over expectations of team members. It should include going through the Student Orientation Packet and other resources. It should also include prayer concerning your wisdom in ministry choices and God’s preparation of the mission field you are entering. Furthermore, it may be important to help team members understand some basic tips in preparing a testimony – and time to write them down and practice them with each other. Finally, time organizing and practicing appropriate parts of your ministry should be taken care of before you arrive to Mexico.
What Will You Do? Each team will be responsible for filling their time in Mexico with missions work. There are numerous methods to build trust and be a witness for Christ. Invasion is an opportunity for team members to explore missions concepts and learn about being culturally effective. Most likely, you will be stretched as you experience the challenges of mission work. Be creative, but servant-minded as you determine what you and your team will do during your hours in Mexico. Keep in mind that we are not a stand-alone big-event, but rather we are working alongside an ongoing ministry of the Mexican Friends Church. You should always suggest your plans to the local pastor and ask for his advice, approval, blessing, and, if appropriate, his participation along with any other church members. If your group does any kind of church or community evangelistic service, the pastor or a local church leader should be there to make the connection between you and their church; and because of their wisdom of local culture, may ought to conclude any testimonies or sermons with their own words, including any type of request for response from the group or invitation to the church.
Your team’s servant spirit in work and attitude will be one of the strongest testimonies to each other and the Mexicans. The pastors have told us many times that the comments of unchurched local people have often been that they were amazed that a group of High School students are willing to spend their one-week break working hard in Mexico!
Be praying about what God’s leading is for your team’s time in Mexico. Please keep in contact with Invasion leaders as you develop a plan, or would like to discuss ideas or ask for advice. Leaders will try to get you the best ‘fit’ for your ministry desires, but ultimate decisions about what we do for ministry work will be determined by what the Church or community needs from us.
As possible, Invasion leaders will let you know where your team might be located and what type of work the church is requesting of your team (flexibility is important as their plans and requests often change once we get there). Of course, your project plans determine the materials or tools you bring along if any.
Here are some of the most common Invasion projects (but this list is just the beginning!):
VBS-style Children’s Ministry – possibly once a day for 3 days – always be ready for this
Work projects such as construction, painting, digging, etc.
Evangelistic Services – community or church – usually in the evening
could include drama, singing, music, student testimonies & sermons, etc.
Prayer Walks/Drives – might include inviting people to your team’s events
Sports Ministry – usually involves playing for awhile, then sharing testimonies
Testimonies – Each Spring Invasion participant should be prepared to give a testimony – either Salvation or ‘Daily.’ The value of a Christian knowing how to testify God’s work in their life is huge. Not only does saying it and hearing it have great spiritual impact, but giving testimonies helps us notice and name God’s work in our lives, creating points of reference for our faith that can be remembered and held onto forever, including in tough or doubting times. Many times, a student really doesn’t want to get up in front of everyone in Mexico to give their testimony, but when encouraged and pushed a little, they consider it a highlight of their time in Mexico and even life changing in their walk of obedience to God. Furthermore, the Mexican people want to hear our testimonies and gain much from the spiritual challenge and encouragement.
If you would like to hear some ideas concerning preparing students for testimonies, feel free to contact Invasion leaders. It is both important for the students to be able to articulate the ‘basic’ Gospel Message (objective Truth) and for students to be able to articulate their testimony (subjective response to objective Truth).