FAQSClick on a question to learn a bit more about the ministry and get some of your questions answered here.
Is Mexico safe?
This is a common question, but has no easy answer. Consider this...Is the U.S. Safe? Is Canada Safe? Some would quickly say yes, but the answer may be different coming from the families of the 13,000 people who were murdered in the U.S. in 2012.
Mexico is a very large country and things that happen in one Mexican state should not be assumed to happen in the entire country. That would be like not going to the United States because of something that happened in Florida.
Although many of the reports concerning safety in Mexico are exagerated, we commit to addressing these questions with honesty, diligence, and responsibility. We continue to work in safe communities and environments. For YUGO's official statement on safety from our CEO, click here.
What does YUGO mean?
YUGO is an acronym for Youth Unlimited Gospel Outreach.
YUGO is also the spanish word for "yoke." Jesus says that "His yoke is easy and His burden is light", in Matthew 11:30.
And finally, with the word YUGO, we can also hear the phrase "You-go!" which speaks to our desire to encourage Active Participation, and call people into action!
Where will I stay while on a YUGO missions trip in Mexico?
YUGO offers ministry sites with clean, comfortable dorm-style accomodations. We take pride in making our guests feel "filled up" as they pour themselves out in ministry. YUGO always offers great food, hot showers, awesome chapel services, and fresh coffee!
All of our Outreach Centers are safe, gated facilities, and we take pride in hosting teams with a high level of excellence!
For a better look at our accomodations check out our Outreach Centers.
What kinds of foods will I eat? Is the food and water safe?
All YUGO facilities will provide healthy & yummy meals for your team! We will prepare a mix of traditional/familiar American meals (pastas, hamburgers, pancakes)and some great Mexican dishes with you (tacos, burritos, chilaquiles). Investigate the specifics of your ministry site to see what food services are offered.
If you have dietary needs, some sites may be able to provide some options, but it is often encouraged to bring any special foods along with you. All meals will be prepared with attention to quality, freshness and cleanliness. When off site, eat and drink only at approved local sites. Ask if in doubt.We ensure food is prepared in safe manner - including washed in safe drinking water.
YUGO sites use all purified drinking water. There is plenty of pure drinking water available at each of our ministry sites.
What happens if I get sick or hurt?
As with any outing or adventure there is always some risk. A little prevention and common sense can avoid most illness or injury. Most common illnesses that people encounter on programs such as this can be solved by drinking water. Dehydration or sun stroke will cause dizziness, fatigue, headaches, sore throats and a variety of other symptoms that can easily be avoided. Do your part to ensure you have a pleasant and healthy experience by drinking plenty of water, using sun screen/hat, pacing yourself/know your limits, wash your hands/sanatize regularly, and use common sense. Also be cautious when on construction sites and other ministry sites - avoiding rowdy horseplay, don't use tools you don't know how, and be aware of those around you. It is also important each team comes down with a well-stocked first aid kit for each of their ministry teams.
In the event of illness or injury, YUGO knows the best pharmacies, clinics and hospitals in the area. We equip our staff on which hospitals to take campers to in the case of emergency. Very few, if any, Mexican medical facilities accept American/Cdn insurance. You will need to pay with credit card or cash. Once the emergency is stabilized you will need to call your insurance company to report the incident. The facility will supply a detailed breakdown of the services provided so you may submit the bill to your insurance carrier when you return home.
Who chooses the families to receive houses from the construction ministry?
Families are chosen by a team of local pastors in partnership with YUGO Ministries. We encourage the pastors to choose families who have a great need for housing, but more importantly have a need to be shown the love of Jesus. Some families that are chosen are church members who are in desperate need of hope, and some are unbelievers who may give their lives to the Lord through the experience of seeing Jesus' love in action.
YUGO places a high priority on the ministry of the local church and the local pastor, we demostrate this by allowing the local pastors to submit families in thier local churches to be recipients of the homes from the construction ministry.
Will I have access/ability to communicate back home?
In the case of emergency, each YUGO site has the ability to call and receive calls out of country (often have US internet lines). You can contact your cell phone carrier to discuss international possibilities if you would like to use your personal phone for your personal communications and traveling.
Some of the sites also have Wi-Fi hotspots to access for team leaders to communicate updates back home. Please inquire if your ministry site has this available.
(also note that some sites will post regular team updates & photos on their facebook pages - follow us on social networks here)
What if I don't speak Spanish?
You will discover that language barriers can soon be broken down after being together, playing together, working together. You will find ways to connect and communicate through simple words, gestures, and don't forget hugs and kapochis (piggy-back rides!).
Take some time before your trip to learn some helpful phrases. There are many online resources, you can see one by clicking here.
Most of our YUGO staff are bi-lingual on various levels and will help communicate as well. You can also hire interpreters through YUGO to help with your program teaching and communications.
How long does it take to cross the border?
Coming into Mexico, there is often no line up or wait at the border. You will likely not even have to stop or be checked. In some cases you may be pulled into 'secondary' and questioned (often with trailers, large trucks, etc). They usually just want to make sure you aren't taking items into Mexico to be sold. Simply share the purpose of your trip to Mexico, explain the suitcases are your personal luggage for your team and you should be on your way again within minutes. If you are taking large amounts of donations (lots of extra clothing, large items, etc) into Mexico, it can be more difficult. Be sure to talk to our YUGO site coordinator on how to proceed.
Returning to the States, however, is a different story. The San Ysidro border crossing is the busiest port of entry in the world. Over 200,000 people cross through the border between San Diego and Tijuana each day. Border traffic is a fluid situation that is never predictable. Certain days and times are typically busier than others but we have found we can never second-guess a typical day. We know for sure that any US or Mexican Holiday will be extra busy which can add an easy hour to the usual 1-2 hours. If you are flying home the same day you are departing Mexico, it is highly recommended your flight departure time is late afternoon or early evening - especially if you are working with the Ensenada Outreach Center or further south. You may even want to consider having a hotel room lined up in San Diego the day you depart Mexico and fly out early the next morning. This also helps avoid driving in the middle of the night/morning to meet your flight.
Do I need any shots?
There are no required or mandatory shots. Please check with your church/teams requirements. However it is highly encouraged to have an up-to-date tetanus shot. Some consider having Hepatitis A & B shots since we are working with children.
Do we have to have construction experience to participate in the construction ministry?
Absolutely not! We have worked with teams of all shapes and sizes - professional contractors to junior high kids to families. Whether you know how to swing a hammer or not, we can use you. The ministry will provide the plans, materials, tools, and leadership to get the project completed. We know what needs to be done each day in order to meet the goal. We just ask you come ready to work hard and serve. There will be jobs for everyone - painting, cutting, hammering, etc - each with different levels of skill needed. It's always helpful if your team has a key leader that has experience in construction to work alongside our YUGO foreman, as well as leadership to organize your team, keep them motivated, etc.
How is the ministry funded?
The ministry is completely funded by the support and donations of God's people. Churches, families, individuals, and organizations who believe in the ministry donate funds to keep the ministry going.
YUGO's staff is responsible to raise thier own support. You can support any YUGO missionary or family be clicking here.
When teams participate in mission trips and partner with us, we are able to do more for the people of Mexico. Consider how you can support YUGO Ministries here